Artist Spotlight:: Rick Nelson And The Stone Canyon Band Chapter 3

Ian Cooke, Co-Music Supervisor of “Easy To Be Free: The Songs Of Rick Nelson” (Planting Seeds, 2006) takes a multi-chapter look at one of Rock & Rolls most underrated legends, examining Nelson’s country rock period. Here is the long awaited third installment.

Chapter 3: Rick Nelson And The Stone Canyon Band
With a new band and record of “She Belongs To Me”, it was time for a full blown tour with Rick re-introducing his music to the record buying public. Now was the time for Rick to start appearing at small record showcase clubs such as The Bottom Line in New York, Cellar Door in Georgetown and The Boston Tea Party and also County Fairs. Compared to the heights of his early days in Rock & Roll this was humble return to a full blown music career. At each gig Rick was exposing his new music turning skeptics into believers and followers.
During this time record producer John Boylan, left Rick’s employment though not before introducing him to singer-songwriter Eric Anderson. Anderson was a product of the Greenwich Village folk scene and writer of “Thirsty Boots” and “Violets of Dawn” establishing him as one of the genre’s outstanding writers. He remembers Nelson as “a very funny guy, hilariously funny. Probably the funniest person I ever met just sitting and talking with him, which was the total opposite of how he was with the public. If for no other reason, I’d go up to his house just to laugh.”
Rick would preview his new songs with Anderson “he was very curious about the possibilities of songwriting and had an urge to write himself, so we talked a lot and listened to a lot of writers, I played him people like David Blue and Fred Neil and he played me his new songs all the time. He wrote some beautiful songs.”
It was at this time that Decca realized they needed an album quickly. “She Belongs To Me” was in the midst of a remarkable 18 week chart entry. Reaching number 33 on Billboards Hot One Hundred, the record was a big success in spite of the lack of support that Decca provided. Now at last the label wanted new Rick Nelson material… fast!! The idea was to do a live concert from the Troubadour in Los Angeles, the home of Rick’s new direction.

October 28-November 2, 1969 Rick performed with his opening act (a comedy writer from the Smothers Brother TV Show) Steve Martin. Also joining Rick’s band was Tom Brumley with only a rehearsal 24 hours before opening night. Rick’s benchmark album “Rick Nelson in Concert” though commercially a risky concept, it’s main purpose was to prove Nelson’s musical growth. The idea was to show his musical virtuosity and present his music pure and free of studio trickery.
January 1970, “Rick Nelson In Concert” would be released and at long last Nelson would be given the respect by both critics and the record buying public he so rightfully deserved!
Did you miss the first two chapters? Read on…
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