From the Stacks

From The Stacks: Stoneground (Self-Titled)

Stoneground Front

Sometimes digging through the stacks is like discovering some alternate history, a sort of Da Vinci Code excursion in 4/4 time with more cowbell. Here’s an alternate version of early sixties pop, late sixties hippie rock, and seventies yacht rock, all courtesy of Stoneground.

In the beginning Sal Valentino fronted a band named the Beau Brummels, and it was good. They had a couple of hits in the mid-sixties, namely “Laugh Laugh” and “Just A Little.”

 

Pretty cool cuts, but by ’68 both Valentino and the music industry moved onto new things. We’re post Summer of Love here, and the San Francisco sound is the buzz. Sal left the Beau Brummels and joined another Northern California band, Stoneground. Not a bad name for a back to the land hippie kind of bad. Stoneground started at as a 3-piece, but by the time they recorded their 1971 debut album they’d grown to a band of ten. Warner Brothers got on board and pushed the hell out of them, even including the band in the film Medicine Ball Caravan, the label’s effort to get the Woodstock Nation to buy more stuff.

It may have worked for some of the other bands in the film, but not Stoneground. Warner Brothers dropped the band after three poorly selling records, Valentino split, and three of the other members ran off and formed ’70s yacht rockers Pablo Cruise.

A version of Stoneground hung around for a few years after, but that’s the gist. The band wasn’t bad by any means, and given a slightly different set of circumstances they may have reached the sixties canon along with their Bay Area peers.

Expect to pay around ten bucks for a copy in good condition. Happy hunting.

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