Roland Stone, a New Orleans native born Roland LeBlanc blazed across the radio sky during 1959-61 as a teenage singing sensation with regional hits for Ace Records like “Something Special”, “Just a Moment (of Your Time”), and “I was a Fool” before disappearing, like so many of his peers, into what looked like permanent obscurity.Share
Roland’s short lived recording career began when “I was a senior in high school, at Warren Easton”, he remembers, “olaying guitar and singing with a band called the Jokers. That’s when I went with Mac Rebennack and the Skyliners.” That was in 1959.
“Where did I get my strange name? I cut “Preacher’s Daughter”, the first record I ever made in my life, and Joe Coronna said, ‘He’s got a contract with Ace, so we’ll create a label’, the Spinett label, and instead of calling me Roland LeBlanc, because I had a contract with Ace, he says, ‘We’ll call you Roland, uh, somethin’ — Roland Wheels, Roland Dice, Roland Along’… He says, ‘Roland Stone, that’s it’.”
The good times ran out and Roland left New Orleans in the mid 60’s to work around Texas as a pianist. He played in several rock bands but decided to leave the music business in 1978 when a Houston clubowner pressured him to play “Disco Inferno”. He chose to work as a welder’s helper instead, then returned to New Orleans in 1979 to operate his uncle’s cleaning business for the next 12 years.
Carlo Ditta, Orleans Records, called Roland and asked if he wanted to record a record. He mentioned that Dr. John (Mac Rebennack) said he’d love to play in his session. Dr. John had to leave soon, so they went in and did the session in one day. No rehearsal, they just went in and played songs that they both knew off of the top of their head.
“I was really happy with this project, I did this with Mac, I did this with Earl Stanley, two cats that I began my recording career with.” “Remember Me” strikes a lovely balance between rockers, shuffles, and balads, and Roland delivers each song with great power and warmth, his voice ripe with maturity and confidence.
“From the first authoritative whip crack of John Vidacovich’s snare drum and the opening flourishes of Dr. John’s down-in-the-alley piano, it’s evident that for these musicians, ’50s-style rhythm & blues never died. Then Stone’s rich, tensile marvel of a voice comes sliding in sideways, wrapping a different texture around every note…this is one of the most stylish, soulful and grittily convincing New Orleans R&B albums in years.”
Robert Palmer, Rolling Stone