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Stoney Lonesome

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Stoney Lonesome  —  Tony Brittenden (Vocals/Electric Bass), Jim Doak (Vocals/Guitar), Brian Egan (Vocals/Mandolin), Clive Collins (Banjo), Richard Oddie (Fiddle)

Originally formed as The Stoney Lonesome Boys in the late 1960s, they were an exciting live act around Canterbury and released an EP on local label Cindy.  They shortened their name and made appearances around New Zealand and on the NZBC television shows The Country Touch and Movin'.  The moment Christchurch schoolboy Clive Collins heard The Kingston Trio's banjo-led "Tom Dooley" in the late 1950s, he knew he was destined to play the instrument.  He discovered the banjo played by Dave Guard in the song was a five-string, but wasn't deterred when the local music shop stocked only four-stringed ones.  Soon finding out the fifth string was what gave the instrument its unique sound, he upgraded to a five-string from Begg's Music Store.

 

National Banjo Pickers, Ngaruawahia 1969


The Stoney Lonesome Boys 1969
Clive Collins, Brian Egan, Miles Reay, Jim Doak


Russley Hotel, Christchurch 1970

 

Clive Collins and friends played in various string bands and when the guitarist in his old-timey Instantaneous String Band departed, he drafted fellow Folk Centre regular Jim Doak in as a replacement.  But the band didn't last and by early 1968 it was just Collins and Doak.  At the end of the year, The Beale Street String Benders disbanded and Collins and Doak reverted to a duo using the moniker Amelia's Custard Crooners as a nod to the Country Touch episode.  They added upright bass player and tenor singer Miles Reay and became The Stoney Lonesome Boys — so named after Bill Monroe's bluegrass instrumental "Stoney Lonesome".  "The Boys" was added in recognition of the likes of New York's The Greenbriar Boys and many other bluegrass groups of the time that employed the description.  Reay had played in rock bands around Christchurch but had recorded programmes of folk music for Radio 3YZ in his home town of Greymouth, as a soloist and with The Greenstone Four.  When former Instantaneous String Band member Brian Egan returned from Australia he joined The Stoney Lonesome Boys on mandolin.

 

Englefield Rock Festival 1971


Englefield Rock Festival 1971


Englefield Rock Festival 1971

 

Small Christchurch record label Cindy Records enlisted the band to record a song for a compilation EP that led to them then laying down eight tracks for their own EP called Country And Western Great Eight, which Cindy sold in supermarkets.  When it transpired the band members were expected to buy their own copies, Jim Doak for one refused to do so.  The Stoney Lonesome Boys added to their number with jovial Christchurch Folk Club singer and MC Tony Brittenden, a big personality who had appeared on the children's TV show Ah De Doo Dah Day and its accompanying LP.  They coerced him into joining on Dobro, but before he could purchase the instrument Miles Reay left and Brittenden moved to electric bass.  After just a few months, Reay joined The Hamilton County Bluegrass Band as it prepared to relocate to Sydney.  The band shortened its name to Stoney Lonesome and became a quintet. Former Timaru Jug Band multi-instrumentalist Richard Oddie was a fan of the band and every time he crossed paths with Jim Doak he asked to join. They didn't need a classical guitarist or mandolinist or picker of any other instrument Oddie extracted from the wall at Hutchinson White and played proficiently, so they told him when he could play "Orange Blossom Special" on the fiddle he could come on board.

 

Stoney Lonesome LP Side 1


Stoney Lonesome LP Cover


Stoney Lonesome LP Back


Stoney Lonesome LP Side 1