Stone Garden hailed from a state one could assume was among the last touched by the chemical stimulant-inspired revolution in rock music in the '60s. But you wouldn't be able to tell that from Stone Garden.
Cobbled together from live and studio recordings made between 1969 and 1971, the reissue collects virtually every available note by the pack of Idaho teens, including both sides of their lone, extremely rare 45 ("Oceans Inside Me"/"Stop My Thinking"). Aside from that single, all the tracks remained unreleased until appearing as a superbly packaged 1998 Rockadelic LP, reproduced in its entirety on this Gear Fab CD.
So is it worth all the archival fuss? Mostly, yes, it really is. Stone Garden is an always blistering and often thrilling racket that splits the difference between the plundering depths of hard rock and the mind-excursion highs of psychedelia (or, more precisely, acid rock), carving out a nifty Western patch of its own.
A heady trick for a group of boys from the potato state in the year of Woodstock, and, if dated in minor ways, still body-rattling music decades after the fact.
There is some dense riffage (the re-recorded version of "Oceans," "It's a Beautiful Day," an awesome "Woodstick") that comes as close to proto-heavy metal shredding as anything else recorded in or around 1969 (that includes Steppenwolf, Black Sabbath, Iron Butterfly, and Blue Cheer), and the band had both an affinity and knack for scintillating, dual-guitar electric blues ("Stop My Thinking"), although the album's sole outright misstep, "SF Policeman Blues," apes early Grateful Dead a little too closely.
But there is plenty of consciousness-expanding, detail-intriguing, and ominous melodic shifts, nifty but queasy coats of echo, Zappa-esque avant-garde effects ("Bastard"), and surprisingly mature and hip lyrics -- even if the performances are not exactly nuanced. Subtle Stone Garden was not.
But the music can cut you off at the knees and knock the wind out of you, which is pretty impressive stuff. (review by Stanton Swihart from allmusic).
01.Oceans Inside Me
02.It's a Beautiful Day
03.World Is Coming to an End, The
05.Da da da da da Da
06.Stop My Thinking - (45 Version)
09.San Francisco Policeman Blues
10.Oceans Inside Me - (45 Version)
*Dan Merrell: Bass, vocals
*Russ Pratt: Organ, vocals
*Gary Speer: Guitar, vocals
*Paul Speer: Guitar
*Neal Speer: Drums, vocals