County Road
Bob G
Denny Bob E
Ron Steve
Denny Allen: Bass, ac. guitar, vocals
Ron Carlson: 6-string electric, ac.12-string , vocals
Bob Erickson: Drums (Summer 1971)
Alan Graybill: Drums
Steve Greenfield: Guitar (Fall 1971)
Bob Groves: Drums (late Summer 1971)
Date formed: early Summer 1971
Date disbanded: Fall 1971
County Road, with members from Boone, Ogden and Rippey, was started in early Summer 1971 and was an experiment to mix acoustic and electric material in a band format ala Crosby, Stills & Nash. Denny was the driving factor behind this endeavor. This group brought back Ron and Alan with their former bandmate, both of them having played in bands with Denny on previous–and separate–occasions. They had thought of calling the band Road since it was still deemed a good name (Road was the name of Denny's previous band). Denny suggested adding County to the name to give some inkling of the acoustic side of the band.
Denny played bass and acoustic guitar for the group. At this time he was using a cherry finished Gibson EB-2DC through a Vox Westminster amp. He had a Martin guitar for acoustic.
   Ron was using a Gibson ES-330T he had gotten from Carl Dorner. It had a single pickup and was finished in vintage sunburst. Carl was going to college and needed something with which to record lectures. Ron had a portable reel to reel tape recorder that used 3 in. reels which Carl felt would fill the bill. So the recorder-and $50-was traded for the 330. The amp Ron had at the time was a Magnatone M7. For acoustic he had a Kay twelve string.
   Alan had an aqua sparkle Sonor kit consisting of kick, snare, two rack toms, floor tom, hi–hat and cymbals.
   Denny and Ron handled all the vocals in the band. For PA they were using was a Kustom PA finished in white/silver sparkle tuck & roll. The amp had four channels with reverb and each speaker column had a 15 in. speaker and a driver fitted with a 15 in. horn. They used a collection of microphones manufactured by Turner and Shure.
County Road practiced mostly at Denny's house which was located in the country near Rippey. There was a large room on the north side of the house which was perfect for practice. The band could set up quite easily in a way to which they were accustomed. They tried to get together at least twice a week, usually in the evenings.
   County Road did the collection of popular tunes as well as album cuts. Amongst the songs they did were “Mellow Yellow”/Donovan, “Rocky Raccoon”/Beatles, “The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest”/Dylan and “Two of Us”/Beatles.
This version of the band only played one job–the Ogden Fun Days celebration in June. One of the ideas that the band had was that they would perform part of the show with acoustic instruments and the other part of the show with electric instruments. One thing they hadn't counted on was the amount of noise that would be present during their Fun Days performance due to the surrounding carnival rides. The first set, which was to be acoustic, was quickly abandoned halfway through when the fact that few could hear the performance became apparent. It was decided that they would perform the rest of the evening with electric instruments. Unfortunately they only had prepared one set of songs that could be played with these instruments. Then another problem arose. Part way through the second “electric” song Ron broke three strings on his Gibson. Luckily, Steve Greenfield was in the audience and happened to have his Gibson Les Paul TV model guitar with him. At this time Steve was in the habit of carrying the guitar with him in his car practically everywhere he went. Thanks to Steve, Ron is able to finish the evening. All in all things went well considering, it was a case of good idea–wrong place.
Al left the band shortly after the gig in Ogden which basically broke up the group. Denny and Ron continued on with the band being in a perpetual state of formation. A new drummer was secured by the name of Bob Erickson. A succession of lead guitarists followed including: Kevin Hill from Adel (currently in Vermilion SD) who played a Les Paul Gold top through a Teneyck amp; Pete Gerlings, a student at ISU, also playing a Les Paul and a fellow named Chris Harwood who had a blue Gibson Flying V and a Marshall “stack” for amplification. As far as songs go, they worked up things like “Little Wing”/Hendrix, “Space Cowboy”/Steve Miller Band, “Volunteers”/Jefferson Airplane, “Immigrants Song”/Led Zeppelin, “Pearly Queen”/Traffic and others.
Close to the end of summer Bob Erickson left the band due to his family moving out of the area. A new drummer was found in Bob Groves who had recently played in the last version of Road with Denny. Along with Bob Groves, Steve Greenfield was asked to join the band.
   The band by this time was practicing in the back room at Fun Town. Housed in an old grocery store building north of the Whistle Stop Cafe in Boone, Fun Town - now the Pioneer Senior Center - was an amusement hall started by a friend the Denny’s named Cal Arthur. There were arcade machines, pinball and pool tables along with snack foods and pop available at Fun Town. The band would practice on slow afternoons which was usually Sunday afternoon. Since it had been a grocery store, the front of the building had a three section plate glass window. Cal asked Ron if he would like to paint the front windows with some psychedelic art, which Ron did, receiving $25 for his efforts. Cal liked it so much that Ron painted windows for a second Fun Town Cal owned in Newton IA.
   Steve was playing a Gibson SG Standard with two pickups and a cherry finish. He had an Aims amp at the time that was about equal to a Fender Twin. Bob had a Ludwig set that was finished in oyster pearl. His kit had the following; kick, snare, two rack toms, floor tom, hi-hat and cymbals. The rest of the bands gear remained unchanged.
Bob E/drums
The songs the band worked up were less hits of the day and more the tunes individual members liked. Songs like “Mr. Spaceman” & “Pale Blue”/the Byrds, “Space Cowboy”/the Steve Miller Band, “I Dig a Pony”/the Beatles and others made up their repertoire. They were also doing original material that Denny had written.
   This version of County Road only played one gig. Not surprisingly the gig was at Fun Town where they had been practicing. Cal had figured it would be a good idea that would bring in some extra money. It was not a good evening for the band. Half way through the evening, during a break, Steve and Denny had a fight over Denny’s treatment of Bob prompting Steve to immediately walk out leaving the band one member shy of a quartet. The remainder of the band carried on for another set, drawing upon much of the material Denny and Ron knew from County Roads first incarnation. This brought the band to an end putting Denny, Ron and Bob in limbo.
Denny went on to play with several other area bands. He currently lives in the Dallas area. Ron also played in several other area bands. Ron currently lives in Boone. Denny and Ron recorded some songs in the early 80s intended for release on an EP. The album, Test Patterns, is available here. Bob Erickson served in the military after moving from the area. He settled in Idaho where he currently lives with his family. Bob was in a couple of different groups and currently plays with a local band in Idaho. Steve Greenfield also played in other bands. He currently lives in Arkansas. Bob Groves played in other area bands. After becoming a teacher he moved to the Chicago area where, in the early 80s, he passed away due to long term health issues.
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