The Stonemans

Stoneman Country

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It is a wonder that the Stonemans didn't achieve greater success in the '60s. They were hip, original, and even a little weird. The sight of the two Stoneman gals jumping around like crazed rock & rollers while Pop placidly strummed his autoharp was highly entertaining, and the group's mixture of folk and pop-oriented country on acoustic instruments was some of the most commercial "old-timey" music ever made. Take the group's second MGM album, Stoneman Country, for example. Folk chestnuts like "Shady Grove" coexist with the classic country of "There Goes My Everything" and a rendition of the New Vaudeville Band's "Winchester Cathedral," on which everyone sings like Groucho Marx before dueling kazoos take over. The album is also notable for containing two of the Stonemans' five hits. Their biggest, "The Five Little Johnson Girls," is a memorable novelty, and "Back to Nashville, Tennessee" is another winner with a jaw harp and interesting lyrics. The Stonemans' MGM period is one of the great should-have-been stories of country music.