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Articles Home » 1976 Articles » Stanley, Michael (Band) - 1976 Ladies Choice
Stanley, Michael (Band) - 1976 Ladies Choice

ARTIST: Stanley, Michael (Band)
ALBUM: Ladies Choice
SERIAL: PE 33917
YEAR: 1976
CD REISSUE: 1994, Razor And Tie, RE 2036


LINEUP: Michael Stanley - electric and acoustic guitars * Jonah Koslen - lead electric, slide and acoustic guitars, vocals * Tom Dobeck - drums, percussion, vocals * Daniel Pecchio - bass, vocals

Additional Musicians: Rodney Psyka - percussion (11) * David Sanborn - alto and tenor sax (5, 11)* Seth Justman (4), Paul Harris (1, 6, 7, 9, 10) - organ * Paul Harris - piano (4, 5) * Nelson Padron - congas (2) * Albhy Galuten - synthesizer (5, 10) * Whit Sidener - baritone sax (3) * Neal Bonsanti - tenor sax (3) * Peter Graves - trombone (3)

TRACK LISTING: 01 Ladies Choice * 02 Calcutta Auction * 03 Strike Up The Band * 04 Heavy Weight * 05 One Good Reason * 06 Let It Slide * 07 Blue Jean Boy * 08 Old Dancin' Fool * 09 Edge Of The Sky * 10 Love Hasn't Been Here * 11 Choice And Sanborn


Back to 1976, with an album few would call being one of the best from the Michael Stanley Band, so why the interest? Well this time Michael's sparring is a young Jonah Koslen, of course who would leave the band and go off to make some AOR beauties with the likes of Breathless and of course with The Aces. Regarding MSB, it was a different time, a different sound, even had 'The'Michael Stanley Band running down the spine of the sleeve. This is a mixed bag of styles, not all to my liking either, and really impossible to use the term AOR in any of the tunes, but being the 70's when albums were issued on a whim, it really didn't matter. In my quest for MSB in my youth, I avoided this time in their history, as much as Sunderland AFC avoid the opposition's penalty box. After only recently listening to it, I wasn't wrong and still have nothing to convince that you should go out and secure a copy. But nevertheless it's still a history worth analysing, and becomes an interesting sojourn and if you are collecting a certain group it quickly becomes a passion and you ignore to separate the wheat from the chaff then it may be worthwhile, especially if the current issue of this album is fairly cheap.

The Songs
First up is the title track which is a touch drab, but more worryingly is that it is very catchy, of course it's dated and something you would hear alongside Dr Hook or The Bellamy Brothers.

But than a significant wind change as 'Calcutta Auction' has a ZZ Top whizzing by, followed by a crunchy Koslen guitar solo to make it worth listening to.

The first time we hear Koslen on vocals is 'Strike Up The Band' still a crowd favourite (Michael tells me!), well glad it's is for someone, the title says it all and, in fact that seems the only lyric throughout the song. It may be MSB's equivalent to 'The Final Countdown', but that's where any likeness ends, in terms of well.. everything! Michael goes on to tell me that they stayed at 461 Ocean Blvd during the recording, hmmm! well that sounds lke a cracking title for an album!

'Heavy Weight' is much more palatable and of interest, even has that Kiss feel, actually it is a dead ringer for Kiss, and even a couple of those Paul Stanley's (never knew they were related! Love Wikipedia) hoo's hoo's (I wonder how Paul spells them?). It's only the organ that stops Gene Simmons suing for copyright infringements, supplied by Seth Justman, yes he of the J.Geils Band (impressed with my knowledge?). Actually the re-issue does have some real in-depth notes.

'One Good Reason' continues this run of form, a bass driven rock tune no less, the Alto sax solo supplied by David Sanborn, adds to the Sad Cafe evening menu. Even so, it's still never going to make it onto your C60 or C90 playlist.

While the cover states Koslen singing 'Let It Slide' it's more like Stanley, and I could pick even more faults with the song. Which leads us to a trio of acoustic, country influenced tracks that Michael felt the group did best at. Well much as I respect him, couldn't agree, but probably wasted on me anyway. Moving on quickly..

Well the bag keeps shaking and out drops some west coast, with 'Love Hasn't Been Here', this is actually quite appealing and see's the bass player, Daniel Pecchio on dual vocals, and he is pretty good.

We finish with an instrumental, 'Choice And Sanborn', with Rodney on percussion. It doesn't give his surname, could well be Trotter or maybe Psyka?

In Summary
In all honesty not entirely sure why I spent time on this article, but the reason why it's in my collection is purely on being the grounds that I am a collector. However if this album was by any other than MSB would I buy it? Probably not, and that's a good guess of what you are thinking right now?

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