ROLAND STONE

Born Roland LeBlanc, 12 August 1941, New Orleans, Louisiana
Died 22 December 1999, New Orleans, Louisiana

Roland Stone was a New Orleans R&B performer, somewhat in the style of Jimmy Clanton. None other than Aaron Neville has referred to Stone as "the singingest white guy I've ever heard". Roland LeBlanc originally played guitar and sang in a high school band called The Jokers. In 1959 he was spotted by Mac Rebennack who persuaded him to join his group, The Skyliners. This led to the release of his first record, "Preacher's Daughter" (a re-working of the traditional blues 'Junco Partner'), on Spinett, a label owned by Frankie Ford and his manager, Joe Caronna (who in turn became LeBlanc's manager and came up with the name Roland Stone). Switching to Johnny Vincent's Ace label, "Something Special" helped establish his name on the East Coast, and was followed by "Just A Moment" (Ace 629), which became a local hit and sold an estimated 100,000 copies in the South. Further Ace releases followed, including an LP (called "Just A Moment"), but following a final single on Cosimo Matassa's White Cliffs label in 1964, "Remember That", LeBlanc quit music to work in the dry cleaning business. Moving to Texas in 1969, he began singing again under his real name, but by the early '80s he had returned to New Orleans where he bought a dry cleaning business. The '90s saw him recording again and two CD's on Orleans Records met with critical acclaim. In more recent times he'd worked with his brother in a galvanized metal company, whilst at the same time continuing to perform at local clubs and festivals. Shortly before his death in 1999, Westside Records in the UK issued a compilation of his Ace recordings.

(Adapted from the obituary in Now Dig This 203, February 2000.)

CD: Just A Moment : Something Special From Ronald Stone... (Westside WESM 577, 28 tracks). Only a few decent rockers, most of the material is undistinguished. Recommended only to New Orleans completists and Jimmy Clanton fans.

 
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