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Articles Home » 2013 Articles » Stanley, Michael - 2013 The Ride
Stanley, Michael - 2013 The Ride

ARTIST: Stanley, Michael
ALBUM: The Ride
LABEL: Line Level Music
YEAR: 2013


LINEUP: Michael Stanley - vocals, guitar * Tommy Dobeck - drums * Bob Pelander - piano, vocals * Danny Powers - guitar, vocals * Jennifer Lee - vocals, percussion * Rodney Psyka - percussion, vocals * Marc Lee Shannon - guitar, sauce (?) * Eroc Sosinski - bass, vocals * Paul Christensen - sax

TRACK LISTING: 01 Shiny Things * 02 All I Want * 03 Take That Ride * 04 To Love Somebody * 05 Uptown * 06 If Anybody Could * 07 A Fool In Love * 08 Justine * 09 Lucky Again * 10 Making Beds (In A Burning House) * 11 Shining Thru * 12 Anything Goes * 13 I Can't Wait * 14 When The Smoke Finally Clears



We haven't written an article on current-day Michael Stanley activity for many a year. He's still out there doing his thing with his merry band of players, though not exactly dabbling in the style that made him popular during the 80's. That's to be expected; his recent run of form prior to 'The Ride' is a consistent dabble within the R&B, Americana, urban jazz and soul genres. There's the occasional spark to the flame provided by lead guitarist Danny Powers, but it's been a long while since Cleveland's finest radio rocker put the foot to the floor and rocked out hard. There are many loyal Michael Stanley fans here at GDM, so let's take a listen to what's on offer circa 2013.

The Songs
The combination of Michael and fellow vocalist Jennifer Lee is one that goes back twenty years to the time of the first Ghost Poets album. It probably goes back earlier than that, but that's when I first heard her. The duo sound fantastic together and they combine well on many of the songs here. 'Shiny Things' is all about that urban jazz/funk groove we mentioned earlier; the lead guitar solo hottens things up too. 'All I Want' is a crossover of styles from Crowded House to Sko Torp with obvious midwest/Americana flavours. Of interest to Bee Gees fans is the warm cover version of 'To Love Somebody'. A very nice rendition by Michael and the team, and a highlight for me thus far. 'Uptown' has a Bob Seger vibe while 'If Anybody Could' slides back on a slinky groove with a sax to melt the melodies away. The energy and excitement levels increase for the rousy 'A Fool In Love', this one has the makings of a great live track I reckon. 'Justine' is a sly blues track.. something akin to the Robert Cray songbook in places. Nice piano too. That blues style is extended to 'Anything Goes', which is tradtional sounding with guitar licks straight out of the catalogue of the great Memphis blues masters. 'I Can't Wait' is as close to Stanley's 80's material, very melodic and commercial, while the closer 'When The Smoke It Finally Clears' is a delicate acoustic piano/guitar ballad that eases up things beautifully.

In Summary
'The Ride' is an album that will appeal to an older audience, as well as those longtime fans who have grown up with Stanley since the 70's. There's very little in the way of the classic rock/AOR sounds from the past, but I think GD regulars will appreciate that fact already, and also that he has been releasing albums regularly in his current style for some time; so it's nothing new. However, it is good to feature Michael Stanley again, and to get a current appraisal of his music.

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#1 | gdazegod on August 09 2013 04:55:18
Yep, that Bee Gees cover is very good I reckon..
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