Small Stone Records Sampler 2006
by Brian Varney
Releasing this sort of classic-leaning heavy rock music today is pretty much a losing proposition financially, so you’ve gotta figure a label this devoted to kickass of the long-haired, bellbottomed sort is destined to a short, painful life. Against all odds, Small Stone is alive and more productive than ever at 11 years of age, and if the 18 tracks on this promo-only compilation are any indication, the years have done nothing to dull head honcho Scott Hamilton’s judgement. In fact, they pretty much confirm the consensus among rock geeks that Small Stone is the finest rock label in the land.
Partially because I’m a fan, but mostly because I’m on the mailing list, I already know most of these tracks from their respective albums, but there are a few non-album tracks (either alternate versions or tracks from upcoming releases) to interest similarly positioned folks. It’s pretty tough to go wrong with any single track on this disc, but my current favorites are the James Gang-by-way-of-AC/DC “This Ain’t No Game” by The Brought Low (whose Small Stone release Right On Time should be in your collection if you ever gave a fuck about rock & roll, pre-1975), Five Horse Johnson‘s blues-rock power ballad “…Of Ditch Diggers and Drowning Men,” and the Pink Floyd-flavored instrumental space rock of Giant Brain‘s “Die Festzeit.” Other artists included: Valis, Novadriver, Slot, Dixie Witch, Sasquatch, Puny Human, Perplexa, Throttlerod, Dozer, Greatdayforup, Antler, Honky, and Halfway to Gone.