Coming Up for Air

Artist: Michael Stanley
Listenability Scale: 100%
Released by: It’s About Music
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

I grew up near Cleveland and at the time there was one group that ruled the airwaves. That group was the Michael Stanley Band. They could sell-out multiple dates at Blossom Music Center (one of the best outdoor venues I’ve ever been to), always seemed to have a lock on the radio airwaves, and basically just rocked. But, as huge as they were on the Northcoast, they could never break into the big-time in the national arena. They did some opening dates for a bunch of national acts, had a couple of top 40 hits, but just never could get over that hill. It was really too bad because the rest of the world doesn’t know what they were missing. Well, eventually the members of the band went their separate ways but Michael Stanley stayed active in the Cleveland area, did some local TV, local radio, and did some concerts as Michael Stanley and Friends. He even collaborated with some folks and made a new band called Ghost Poets, leaving some of his rock & roll roots behind for a little more mellow sound. Old MSB music was re-issued on CD’s, I snatched up most of them, but in my years I have always missed out on one thing and that is seeing Michael Stanley, with or without Band, live. From what I’ve been told it’s one hell of a show, but I’ve just never been able to make it. Well, enough of that ranting and raving, Michael Stanley has a new CD out, at least it was new to me, and he still re-affirms my belief that the rest of the world is missing one of the better musical talents of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

Back in my place I tore the plastic off of the CD case, and popped it in my CD player. Looking at the credits I saw some familiar names in the likes of Bob Pelander, Tommy Dobeck, Danny Powers, and Jennifer Lee. I also cam to find that this CD was put out a while ago and I didn’t know it. Sometimes the best little surprises take time. So, I pop open a cold beverage, plop down at my computer, and do a little web-surfin’ while I listen. A few more listens and this is what I think.

Track # – Song Title – (Length)
1. After Hollywood (4:30)
Nice opener. I’m startin’ to dig the CD.

2. Coming Up for Air (6:35)
Reminds me of his work with Ghost Poets. It’s moody, a little jazzy. Not a rocker, but I like the voice distortion in the middle.

3. Poison Pen (4:52)
Another moody/jazzy song. Cool story.

4. Talking in Tongues (5:41)
Some of the lyrics go: "God’s between your thighs," "Talking in Tongues," and "He couldn’t find an inch of her he hadn’t memorized." Talk about "getting in the mood" music!

5. Sendaway Underwear (4:57)
A little more of a rocker and a unique twist on those slinky lingerie catalogs. If the sex life in your marriage has hit the pits, follow the advice of this song!

6. Everybody (5:22)
A song about society. Another up-tempo song, and I love the line "buy a dog you want a friend."

7. Wherever You Go (5:42)
A slower song, but one of my favorites on the CD.

8. Yesterday’s Eyes (5:11)
Another slower song, another message of things lost, but a cool song none-the-less.

9. Complicated (4:49)
Keeping with the slower tempo songs, Michael’s voice sounds great.

10. Just Between Friends (3:31)
The tempo is back up, and everyone needs them – friends that it.

11. Horizontal Mambo (4:33)
Mr. Stanley, where is your mind? First we’ve got thighs and tongues on "Talking in Tongues," and now, well, if you can’t figure out this song from the title you need, well, maybe you’re a little too young. Tempo is kept up, it’s a rocker reminiscent of some classic MSB, but I was sad to hear Janie is now into girls.

12. Sha-La-La-La (4:27)
My mind, in keeping with the theme of the last song, I hear a line like "you’ve always been a dancer and you always will" and I see ladies on fire-poles. Whether my theory is wrong or right (I tried to read into the lyrics, but they end up a little vague), it is a quirky little tune with a cool beat.

13. Terms of Surrender (4:12)
A nice love song. Another of my favorites.

In the end, and maybe my attitude is a little skewed because I’ve always been a big Michael Stanley Band/Ghost Poets/Michael as a solo dude fan, but Coming Up for Air ends up on one of my higher rotation CD’s. For me there isn’t one bad song on the CD, and that rates it a 100% on the Entertainment Ave! listenability scale. If you liked Ghost Poets, you’ll probably like this CD, if you liked the Michael Stanley Band, you’ve probably grown up a little and will probably like this CD, and for those of you who have no clue who I’m talking about, hell, you might just like this CD too.

Michael Stanley, after all of these years, still has it. He has seemed to slow things down a little, and I guess he’s changed with the times, but he still has a great voice and puts forth some of the best lyrics out there. It’s kinda funny how nothing pulls back an image like a familiar voice, and Michael’s was one I heard singing many times while I was growing up. I’ve got some new music for some newer images, now if only I had an image of him in concert!

Well, that’s it for this one, I’m The Dude on the Right. L8R!!!