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Articles Home » 1982 Articles » Stanley, Michael (Band) - 1982 MSB
Stanley, Michael (Band) - 1982 MSB

ARTIST: Stanley, Michael (Band)
LABEL: EMI America
SERIAL: ST-17071
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 1992, Razor & Tie, RE-2004 * 2014, Line Level Music, LL111


LINEUP: Michael Stanley - lead & backing vocals, electric & acoustic guitars, percussion * Kevin Raleigh - lead & backing vocals, electric & acoustic piano, organ, synthesizers * Bob Pelander - backing vocals, electric & acoustic piano, organ, synthesizers, percussion, acoustic guitars * Gary Markasky - lead electric & acoustic guitars * Michael Gismondi - bass guitar, saxophone * Rick Bell - tenor saxophone

TRACK LISTING: 01 In Between The Lines * 02 If You Love Me * 03 NIght By Night * 04 When I'm Holding You Tight * 05 Spanish Nights * 06 One Of Those Dreams * 07 Love Hurts * 08 Hang Tough * 09 Just A Little Bit Longer * 10 Take The Time * 11 In Between The Lines (Live, Bonus) * 12 Fire In The Hole (Live, Bonus)


Michael Stanley, does this man ever get any older? In some very obscure way, you could argue that his career, initially at least mirrored the other Michael, Bolton that is. Before they were in the thoughts of any spotty AOR teenager, both had somewhat similar early careers, Bolotin with a couple of solo album before progressing to the heavier Blackjack then to AOR legend, whereas Stanley already had a number of solo albums, plus a selection of band led albums before an AOR status developed, although in truth I always thought that Stanley only really toyed with the idea of 100% AOR, it was only the recruitment of the wonderful Kevin Raleigh did they so nearly reach the pinnacle of AOR royalty, with the 1983, 'You Can't Fight Fashion'. Even then while Stanley entertained the masses, he never fully encapsulated the fluff, always had a sense of his feet firmly grounded in his roots. This can also be reflected in the long line of solo albums he has recorded in the last 30 years! Much like Bolton who never picked up a lead guitar in anger for a similar amount of time either.

The Songs
Boy, I could be so narrow minded, I would scan the Bedford, Milton Keynes or even Luton record fairs trying to turn up MSB albums, but initially only for the tracks sung and written by Raleigh. I was so wimpy, as I used to find the Stanley numbers, a bit too deep in the American history of rock; this of course was a grave error of misjudgement. The evidence on what I could have missed is the opening 'In Between The Lines' this is an excellent description of what MSB does best, the build-up, the slow burning, and wow those backing vocals, add on the brutal melodic chorus and this is the best ploy to be added to their C.V, hired on the spot.

Now finally appreciating both sides of the coin and where they melt perfectly and succeed just like 'Night By Night' and 'Spanish Nights' where Raleigh's backing vocals seems to provide soft edges. Both are happy Bruce Springsteen songs, or a more rock version of The Eagles, with traces of Huey Lewis.

'One Of These Dreams' straight out of ballad central, which easily morphs into a soul singers best seller while 'When I'm Holding You Tight', with it's Journey helicopter intro, the best Benjamin Orr impression with a song so sweet and poppy you would have expected teenage girls to swoon at his feet, with the latest pop magazines having Kevin on the cover, with the strap lines of 'Who is Kevin holding?' and 'Kev tells all about his dreams'. Staying on the Raleigh line, 'If You Love Me', he actually strays more into power pop, surfing the lighter feel of The Cars.

Fair play to Stanley for releasing 50% of the song writing duties to Raleigh. The favour is returned as Raleigh's 'Love Hurts' where he can be heard to sound similar to his elected leader.

'Hang Touch', has a passing regard to other U.S rockers, Johnny And The Distractors, whilst the guitar solo is again close to power pop that Stanley ever got to.

With 'Just A Little Bit Longer', Kevin totally is taking the crap out of other AOR songwriters, it's the ease displayed here, and could have been single potential if released a couple of years prior, when such success was easier to come by.

In Summary
In hindsight do we really want all Raleigh songs? If you do, listen to his 'Delusions Of Grandeur' from 1989 again, that contains certain flaws not present while under the flagship of MSB. The reason that makes this album and the golden era for MSB is the combination of the chalk and cheese of the two protagonists. They seem to complement each album, to the point of who cares which ones are preferred. But time and again, Raleigh displays some perfect AOR draughtsman blueprints, but I still would say that the best Raleigh songs are actually on the follow up to this album 'You Can't Fight Fashion'. So full circle, if you look to see what this Michael is up to, well his is still on stage, along with Donnie Iris; you don't see these guys down my local.

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#1 | DEMONAOR on October 20 2016 07:56:52
Great album from Michael Stanley band. Still playin it.
#2 | RobLynott on October 20 2016 09:19:28
Great review!

As with Pink Floyd (Waters/Gilmour) the real magic lies in the combination of two very different voices.

I really would like to read your review of 1980's 'Heartland' album.
#3 | englandashes on October 20 2016 19:16:11
Many thanks Rob, much appreciated, just done an outline for Heartland, will start writing up tomorrow
#4 | gdazegod on October 20 2016 21:00:45
I too have an article in the works, 1986's 'Inside Moves'. Good to see all the MSB love here.
#5 | englandashes on October 20 2016 21:07:37
Look forward to that one George, I was sure I had that one, but can't find my copy, plus Inside Moves is not one of the MSB that has been cheap over the last month or so
#6 | gdazegod on October 20 2016 21:25:54
MSB lost their deal with EMI America after 'You Can't Fight Fashion'. The band then released 'Fourth And Ten' in 1984 on MSB Records, which is mostly a live album, and for which I'm certain that some of the tracks were used by Razor and Tie as bonus material for the 1992 reissues of 'Heartland', 'NC', MSB and YCFF.

I believe Line Level Music (Michael's private label) reissued 'Fourth And Ten' in 2014.
#7 | englandashes on October 20 2016 22:37:18
Yep your right George, in fact I received fourth and ten by line level today, includes five demo versions. However as great the cd is, I miss the saxophone off the live recording!
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