His sound was smooth.
Michael Stanely started out as a bass player with the folk-rock group Silk in the late ’60s, and according to Michael, “We weren’t very good.” Destiny demanded a solo career which in 1972 began with the self-titled first album on Tumbleweed Records which was produced by Bill Szymczyk and featured “Rosewood Bitters,” the song that would launch the 40+ year journey that culminates in the release of The Solo Years 1995-2014. One more solo effort came in 1973 entitled Friends & Legends which is aptly titled since it, like the first album, included the efforts of Joe Walsh, Todd Rundgren and David Sanborn with Szymczyk at the helm again. It produced the legendary classic, “Let’s Get the Show on The Road” which, to this day, commands thunderous applause in concert performances.
In 1974, Michael’s friend Jonah Koslen was added to the list of friends and legends along with Daniel Pecchio from Glass Harp, and Tommy Dobeck and The Michael Stanley Band came into being. For more than a decade MSB worked wonders with fans and the singles charts as they took control of the Mid-West Rock scene. 12 albums and 12 years later, Michael saw the end of MSB and thought his rock star status had come to an end. But in the words of Michael, “Making music is a powerful drug; one that, despite the travails of the profession, can help keep you sane…or maybe just a little bit less insane…but anyway you look at it, it’s still a hell of a lot cheaper than therapy!”
And thus, in 1995 he picked up where he left off in ’74, feeding the addiction of writing songs and performing. Michael says, “It was a second act that I had never envisioned but one that I am eternally grateful for because it led to the twelve solo albums from which The Solo Years was pulled. I have been blessed to be able to continue to make music with people I love and respect and they always, always make the tunes better. And to rekindle a working relationship with my dear friend and mentor Bill Szymczyk on this anthology was the perfect icing on the cake.”
This 3-disc set is structured in nifty categories. Disc One: The Rousers; Disc Two: The Weepies; Disc Three: Crispy’s Critters. The Rousers are tunes that have always excited his fans. The Weepies are powerful and emotional ballads. Crispy’ Critters (referring to Szymczyk’s nickname of “Crispy”) was selected and sequenced by Bill himself and includes Bill’s faves from Michael’s solo material. Bill was driven to write liner notes for this release as well.
The Solo Years 1995-2014 also includes two previously unreleased tracks that are sure to make Stanley fans happy. Twenty years down.
We know there will be least 20 more to go!
His sound was smooth.