Doug Stone was a Georgia native who made out pretty well during the neo-trad revival of the early '90s, Doug Stone was about as far from a Nashville "pretty boy" as you could imagine... He has a face like a mud flap, but the voice of an angel; he can go low into a Randy Travis register, or sing sweet like a Don Henley clone... Because he could swing either way, Nashville naturally steered him towards the goopy ballads, but his rompy-stompy hard country numbers are really kinda cool. Here's a quick look at his work.
Doug Stone "Greatest Hits, v.1" (Columbia, 1994)
This one sort of starts out in reverse, trying to sell his snoozy new single, "Little Houses," and then works its way backwards to his delightfully glum debut from 1990, "I'd Be Better Off (In A Pine Box)." There's some good stuff on here, but this disc tilts towards the slushy romantic stuff, which is, well, maybe simply not as much fun as his uptempo tunes.
Doug Stone "Pure Country" (Sony, 1996)
An unusual best-of, though one that, interestingly enough, skips over a lot of his bigger hits and mines deeper into his hard country side. Most of these songs weren't even released as singles, but for some reason, his label felt it would be good to showcase his honkytonk roots... It's a refreshing change of pace, although midway through, they start watering it down with fluffier material. This is a nice disc to pick up if you want some of his less well-known early tunes, like "She Used To Love Me A Lot," "Leave Me The Radio," "That's A Lie" and "Warning Labels," or even belabored working man ballads like "The Workin' End Of A Hoe." Kind of off the beaten track, and worth checking out.
Doug Stone "Super Hits" (Columbia, 1997)
A brief (ten song) best-of that covers his early albums on Columbia. This is more of a standard-issue best-of, with several Number One hits, etc., and few surprises. Some nice stuff, though!
Doug Stone "Doug Stone" (Sony, 1990)
Doug Stone "I Thought It Was You" (Epic, 1991)
(Produced by Doug Johnson)
A couple of songs hint at his ability to sing real, hard country, but for the most part this album is pretty poppy and prefab; on a few of the more saccharine ballads, he even slides into a near-falsetto that has more that a hint of Aaron Neville to it. Disappointing if you like his honkytonk stuff.
Doug Stone "From The Heart" (Epic, 1992)
Recommended! This may be Stone's twangiest effort, with several snappy uptempo numbers, like "Warning Labels" and "Leave Me The Radio," and a fairly down-to earth production style. Even the sappier songs, like "Made For Lovin' You" and "This Empty House" have a nice emotional resonance and plenty of pedal steel to keep things real. There are also some songs on here that have yet to make it onto any of Stone's best-of reissues, most notably the steamy, scalding "Ain't Your Memory Got No Pride At All" and the sarcastic "Left, Leavin', Goin' Or Gone," which are true country gems. This one's definitely worth tracking down: if you're a heard country fan, there are only a couple of tunes that'll turn you off, and only a couple that hint at the sappy ballads he would specialize in later on down the line.
Doug Stone "The First Christmas" (Epic, 1992)
Doug Stone "More Love" (Epic, 1993)
(Produced by James Stroud & Doug Stone)
Evenly divided between slow, drippy weepers and rowdy, Southern rock-flavored stompers... Some of the uptempo numbers are pretty spiffy, although one of the catchiest melodies -- "Little Sister's Jeans" -- has a regrettably sexist premise (I didn't mind, but female fans might...) One midtempo shuffle, "She Used To Love Me A Lot"," co-written with Dean Dillon, is an arresting heartsong classic, and "That's A Lie" ain't far behind. Not bad!
Doug Stone "Faith In Me, Faith In You" (Columbia, 1995)
Doug Stone "Make Up In Love" (Atlantic, 1999)
Glossy, even a bit glitzy and kind of drab and prefab. This was Stone's comeback album after a debilitating round of heart trouble and strokes that left him unable to tour or even to sing for a couple of years... So I suppose I shold cut the guy some slack, but in the last analysis, I still don't like the album. It's sappy and overproduced. Also, his voice seems to have changed, and gotten lighter, wispier and, sadly, better suited to cheesy, pop-oriented romantic ballads. It's not that much different than the other stuff from late-'90s Nashville. Too bad.
Doug Stone "The Long Way" (Audium, 2002)
Doug Stone "In A Different Light" (Lofton Creek, 2005)
Doug Stone "My Turn" (Lofton Creek, 2007)
Doug Stone "Live At Billy Bob's Texas" (Smith Music, 2009)
Hick Music Index