Sunday, June 5, 2011

Rob Stoner: Patriotic Duty (1980)

Until I came across an actual copy of the above-pictured L.P. last week, I had no idea that seventies sideman-to-the-stars, Rob Stoner had ever released any solo work. But there's nothing like a flip through the vinyl bins to disturb the slumbers of history.

While Rob Stoner, a New York City multi-instrumentalist/song-writer, had worked in the studio with many folk artists, his first taste of fame was likely his role in Don Mclean's mythopoeic "American Pie" (for which McLean apparently felt the sideman important enough to drag along to the 1972 Grammy Awards.)

(I think Stoner's back there but I might be wrong...)

No matter how enduring "American Pie" may be, the item most likely to dominate Stoner's obituary somewhere down the line, will be his mid-seventies role as bassist/band leader for both the traveling circus that was Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue and the chaotic recording sessions for Dylan's 1976 album, Desire. On the tour, Stoner not only lead the band known as Guam but he also got to sing lead on his own song, "Too Good to Be Wasted (But Too Wasted To Be Any Good)".

Next up was a multi-year association with New York Rockabilly revivalist Robert Gordon, who always had a killer sense of what makes a good sideman (Gordon hired first Link Wray, then Chris Spedding and then Danny Gatton as lead his guitarist, all during the time that he also employed both Stoner and his fellow Guam member Howie Wyeth as his rhythm section!) When Stoner left, Gordon picked Tony Garnier to be his bassist - the man who would go on to play bass for Bob Dylan's touring band for twenty-two years and counting!

The album, 1980's long out-of-of-print Patriotic Duty, is fine seventies-styled rockabilly album akin to some of Dave Edmunds' material but even more hyper-focused on that boom-booming Sun Records sound. Rolling Stone's David Fricke described it as, "High octane punkabilly, cool vocals and energetic, heady New Wave attack" and, in The Rolling Stone Record Guide, John Swenson gave it four stars.

As if all that isn't enough, the LP also features a cover of the rare mid-seventies Dylan tune, "Seven Days" to recommend it to Dylan obsessives:

Comments on this rarity and the history we've awoken here today would be most appreciated, dear readers.

The link for "Patriotic Duty" can be found in that COMMENTS section.

Rob Stoner's Homepage!

Interview with Rob Stoner

P.S. The rip of the vinyl come from the great viacomclosedmedown on youtube over at the amazing resource that is Down Underground - please go visit them, you have nothing to lose but a few gigs of space on your hard drive!


  1. Now

















  2. I remember playing this LP on college radio and really liking it. In my mind I lump it in with T-Bone Burnett and Rocky Burnette LPs that came out around the same time.

  3. Yes, Patriotic Duty is a wonderful LP. But do not forget that Rob recorded an amazing album for Sun Records in 1983: "If You Want It Enough”. (SUN 1031).
    Rob was the bandleader for Bob Dylan during the Rolling Thunder Revue 1975/76. He is also responsible for the new arrangements of songs from the 1978 Tour where Rob Stoner was also the bandleader when Dylan toured Japan, Australia and New Zealand. These new arrangements breathe new life into old songs and made them fresh and dynamic. Staying one of these versions as old favorites for many fans of Dylan. As can be heard on the album "Bob Dylan At Budokan”.
    Throughout his career he has played with the best, both in studio and live. But for fans of Dylan will remain forever in the memory for its wonderful performances of "Isis", when he sang the last verse of the song.

    Pachi Becerril

  4. Thanks, man. I've been looking for this for a long time!

  5. Hey Jeff - I actually know Rob Stoner! Pretty small world, eh?

  6. I'm a huge Dylan fan, but Rob Stoner was just a name to me. thanks for all the Stoner and Rob't Gordon info and for the download.

  7. What a pleasure seeing this LP again. I had it back when it was new and played it fairly often as a DJ in a great live music club. Saw that Rolling Thunder Revue tour and Stoner & Wyeth were rock solid, ALSO saw the Robert Gordon lineup with them , just as good.

  8. Anon
    Yeah there was a lot of revved-up rockabilly around this time - lots of great album that ended up in the cut-out bins!

    Pachi Becerril
    First of all, thanks for that great extra info.

    Second of all, do you have a copy of the "If You Want It Enough” album - I'd love to post it as a follow-up.

    Glad to help!

    Karate Boogaloo
    That's cool. I hope he'll be okay with this post (feel free to let him know, if that seems fitting.)

    Glad my learnin' helped you!

    Some sweet moments on that list (RTR, Gordon) that I wish I'd witnessed.

  9. Wow, what a "flashback". I was sent the link by Rob. I was a "production assistant" on this record. It was an honor to work with Rob, his bro, Howie and the guys at Record Plant. Even though the record was not a "hit", it was a "Classic".

    Thanks, Rob

  10. If you send me your email I send information LP
    Pachi Becerril

  11. Interesting stuff. That was more than I knew about Rob Stoner. Thank you.

    I enjoyed the video of Hurricane. Nice to see Scarlett Rivera at work. For such a great period for Dylan, though, this song just doesn't cut it. I have never heard what people liked about it, and it is hard to even know whether the guy was guilty or not, or from this distance to care. This song certainly never made me care.

    Not complaining about that though, really. I know the purpose was to show Rob Stoner. Thanks for his story.

  12. Wow, here's a name from the murky past. I remember club crawling all over new york back in the day and Rockin' Rob Stoner would no doubt be playing somewhere. Always so good solid rock. Also, I think he was in a band called Topaz as well. Thanks for this.

  13. Pachi Becerril


    Thanks for the upload (I pulled the comment so I can post it on the main page).

    And not to push my luck but is it possible that you have (or can get ) a scan of the cover?
    (I've searched the net with no luck yet...)

    Thanks again!

  14. Yes, I can send you a scanner with the cover and back cover of the LP. This is my email, write me a note and I'll send you there on scanner


  15. Hi,

    IF I had ever heard of this, I had long forgotten about it. I can't wait to hear it, and from the description I think I will love it.

    IF SO, then I will check out the Sun records one that a poster so graciously supplied.

    Rock on and thanks always for a great blog.

    Ace K.

    P.S. Sometime, too, I have to check out the Billy Bragg stuff.

  16. Rob is at BB King's in NYC tonite with R Gordon 3/27/12. Not a shill, but a friend who is making the trip to hear him on a decent sized stage.
    Bill Hart

    1. Plugs for the artists in the spotlight here are welcome -that's the whole idea of the blog!

  17. Would you be able to please re-up this album? Perty please with sugar on top? I actually have it on vinyl and listen to it but don't things setup to rip to digital.


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