Thursday, March 25, 2021

Michael Stanley Day (Thursday 3/25/21) declared in Cleveland as Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and City of Cleveland pay tribute to Cleveland music icon

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and City of Cleveland to pay tribute to Cleveland music icon Michael Stanley Thursday (3/25/21) at designated Michael Stanley Day.

Story excerpted from Akron Beacon Journal, written by Mark J. Price

"Cleveland rocker Michael Stanley died March 5 after a seven-month battle with lung cancer. Thursday would have been his 73rd birthday. In honor of his special day, Cleveland is establishing it a city-wide holiday for the Ohio artist.
“On behalf of the citizens of the City of Cleveland, I extend my condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Michael Stanley,” Mayor Frank G. Jackson said in a prepared statement. “In celebration of his impact to the world of music near and far, I am pleased that Cleveland City Council declared March 25 as Michael Stanley Day.”

The celebration will begin at 10:15 a.m. on the plaza in front of the rock hall and will be streamed live on the Cleveland museum’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Among those in attendance for a special presentation will be members of Stanley’s family and musicians from The Resonators.
Radio stations across Northeast Ohio, including the station where Stanley worked as the afternoon disc jockey for the past 30 years, plan to play the Michael Stanley Band hit “My Town” in unison. "

Cleveland rock legend Michael Stanley died March 5, 2021, at age 72. (Photo: Mike Cardew, Akron Beacon Journal)
Cleveland rock legend Michael Stanley died March 5, 2021, at age 72. (Photo: Mike Cardew, Akron Beacon Journal)

"The rock hall will display artifacts from Stanley’s career, including his guitar, handwritten lyrics and concert set lists. The museum will play his music all day and will show video recordings, including interviews that Stanley gave during his five-decade career.

“The energy of his music and its ability to bring people together helped to make Cleveland the Rock & Roll Capital of the World, and it galvanized the community to rally together and make our city the home of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” said Greg Harris, president and CEO of the rock hall, in a prepared statement. “His contributions to rock & roll and our region will not be forgotten, and we are honored to preserve his legacy and tell his story forever at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.”
Formed in 1974, the Michael Stanley Band broke attendance records at several Ohio venues.
Months before his death, Stanley recorded an album with 14 new songs. Thursday fans will be able to stream two of the  new original songs featured on his upcoming posthumous project.
The Michael Stanley ceremony and proclamation on the rock hall plaza will be free to the public."

--Mark J. Price, Akron Beacon Journal 

Let's all play and/or sing-along to a Michael Stanley song as we pay tribute to his life, music, and legacy on his day today.


Sunday, March 21, 2021

Michael Stanley Band - 1980-08-12 - Blossom Center, Cleveland, OH

Michael Stanley Band

Blossom Music Center, Cleveland, OH
FM Broadcast (WMMS-FM) recording, very good quality
Available in both Lossless (FLAC) and MP3 (320 kbps) versions

Here's more from legendary Cleveland rocker Michael Stanley and his Michael Stanley Band (MSB). By 1980, MSB had developed a huge following around Cleveland and the Midwest, but after releasing five solid albums in 5 years, had not scored much national success or notoriety. And that lack of breakthrough success resulted in being dropped from two record labels and had lead to turnover within the band, as Gary Markasky took over on lead guitar, Michael Gismondi was now in bass, and Kevin Raleigh was brought in on keyboards, vocals, and as an additional songwriter to Stanley. Stanley and drummer Tommy Dobreck were the only members left from the original lineup. But in 1980 the band released perhaps their strongest album, Heartland, which included their highest charting single, Kevin Raleigh's ' He Can't Love You'. They followed this with another strong album, North Coast (1981). But the next album, MSB (1982) struggled to maintain momentum, and that breakthrough success still eluded them. Meanwhile, in the Cleveland area, they sold out every show and set concert attendance records. Their last album on EMI America, Can't Fight Fashion (1983) included another 'almost hit' that became a standard for Stanley and Cleveland, 'My Town'. The band released a couple more albums on their own label, a Live album, Fourth and Ten...(1984), and Inside Moves (1986) before calling it quits. After that Stanley hosted a Cleveland TV show for a few years before settling in as a radio personality, manning the drive-time slot at Cleveland's classic rock radio station WNCX for more than 30 years. Stanley also kept his music chops active, playing occasional shows, and also releasing a series of solo albums (16) on independent labels throughout his radio years. Although never quite becoming a nationally recognized rock star, he was beloved throughout Cleveland and the Midwest, and many thousands of people still have very fond memories of the heyday of the Michael Stanley Band. Here is a fine radio broadcast show of MSB from his hometown Cleveland in 1980, right around the time of the release of Heartland.  

Track List:
01. Midwest Midnight
02. Misery Loves Company
03. Back In My Arms Again
04. What'cha Wanna Do Tonight
05. Last Night
06. He Can't Love You
07. Working Again
08. Rosewood Bitters
09. Promises
10. I'll Never Need Anyone More (Than I Need You Tonight)
11. Slip Away
12. Why Should Love Be This Way
13. Save A Little Piece For Me
14. Don't Stop The Music
15. Hold Your Fire
16. Independently Wealthy
17. Let's Get The Show On The Road
18. Baby If You Wanna Dance
19. All I Ever Wanted
20. Strike Up The Band

Michael Stanley - guitar, vocals
Gary Markasky - lead guitar
Kevin Raleigh - keyboards, vocals
Bob Pelander - keyboards
Michael Gismondi - bass
Rick Bell - saxophone
Tommy Dobeck - drums

FLAC - Michael Stanley Band_1980-08-12_Cleveland_FLAC.rar

Mp3 - Michael Stanley Band_1980-08-12_Cleveland_mp3.rar

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Michael Stanley Band - 1977-05-19 - Stanley Theater, Pittsburgh, PA (R.I.P. - Michael Stanley 1948-2021)

Michael Stanley Band

May 19, 1977
Stanley Theater, Pittsburgh, PA
Michael Stanley Band at the Stanley Theater, Pittsburgh
FM Broadcast (WDVE-FM) recording, very good quality
Available in both Lossless (FLAC) and Mp3 (320 kbps) versions

Michael Stanley, singer-songwriter, guitarist, and legendary Cleveland rocker and radio personality, died last week, after a battle with lung cancer, at the age of 72. Although Stanley (full name Michael Stanley Gee) may have never reached the pinnacle of rock music nationally or internationally, around Cleveland and throughout the Midwest, he was a rock hero, icon of the working class rocker, and dauntless purveyor of Heartland Rock 'n Roll.  After his rock band days with the Michael Stanley Band in the '70's and 80's, Stanley became a TV and radio personality, anchoring a daily radio show for Cleveland's classic rock station WNCX for over 30 years, right up until his death, and also continuing to release solo independent albums throughout his life. He was beloved for his music that was so much a part of the region, as well as for his personality and generosity. In a statement issued by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (located in Cleveland), he was called Cleveland's most beloved musician, songwriter, and rocker, with his heartland music resonating for legions of listeners, and concerts that set attendance records and took on mythic proportions. The music of the Michael Stanly Band was straight-forward rock 'n roll, nothing too fancy, but solid and with a definite focus and insight into Midwestern life and experiences.

Michael Stanley started out as more of a singer-songwriter, releasing his first solo album, Michael Stanley, in 1973. For his follow-up album, Friends and Legends (1973), he was able to bring in some all-star talent to help him out, including Joe Walsh (and his band Barnstorm), Dan Fogelberg, Ritchie Furay, David Sanborn, and good chunk of Stephen Stills' Manassas (Joe Lala, Paul Harris, and Al Perkins) and following an appearance on Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, Stanley seemed ready to break into the Big Time. However, after being unable to tour with his all-star talent assemblage, the album didn't have much impact. Stanley knew then that he needed to get his own band. So, he started what became the Michael Stanley Band, which originally consisted of Stanley on guitar and vocals, Jonah Koslen (lead guitar, vocals), Daniel Pecchio (bass, vocals), and Tommy Dobeck (drums). The band's first album, You Break It...You Bought It! (1975) established the straight-forward heartland rock the band would become known for. And it was this early period that I am most familiar with, as since I was heavily into the singer-songwriter style at this time, I had all these early Michael Stanley albums. The Michael Stanley Band was just getting started, but were having trouble finding an audience outside of Cleveland and the Midwest, as their next album, Ladies Choice (1976) failed to chart as well as the debut, but their Midwestern reputation was growing. Many discovered the band with their next release, a live album, Stagepass (1977), which achieved some notoriety for it's attention-getting cover (featuring a young woman stashing a concert ticket into her ample cleavage). Their next two albums Cabin Fever (1978) and Greatest Hints (1979) would continue to build their regional appeal, but still not breakthrough nationally. However, their next two albums, Heartland (1980) and North Coast (1981) on a new label (EMI America) and with a mostly new back-up band, would be their biggest successes, and garner at least some national recognition, with the single 'He Can't Love You' from Heartland making it up to #33 nationally, their highest charting single, and both albums making it well into the top 100 charts. And the albums were filled with songs about being from and growing up in the Midwest, and they really struck a chord with Midwestern fans. The band became incredibly popular in Clevelend and throughout the Midwest, such that they set attendance records in Cleveland that still stand today. More about the later days of the band and Michael in a subsequent post, but right now, I'm featuring a show from the earlier days of the band, right around the time of Stagepass being released, and still the original band lineup. Since this was a relatively short radio broadcast, I added a few additional tracks from other shows around this time.

Track List:
01 - Midwest Midnight
02 - Calcutta Auction
03 - Nothing's Gonna Change My Mind
04 - Wild Sanctuary - Tommy Dobeck Drum Solo
05 - Let's Get The Show On The Road
06 - Strike Up The Band
07 - Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Monkey
Bonus Tracks
1977 - 2001 Club, Pittsburgh, PA
08 - Good Time Charlie - Your Mamma Don't Dance
09 - It's All Over Now
1976-10-05 - Ford Theater, Detroit, MI - Audience
10 - One Good Reason
11 - Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

Michael Stanley - guitar, vocals
Jonah Koslen - lead guitar, vocals
Daniel Pecchio - bass, vocals
Bob Pelander - keyboards
Tommy Dobeck - drums

FLAC - Michael Stanley Band_1977-05-19_Pittsburgh_Flac.rar

Mp3 - Michael Stanley Band_1977-05-19_Pittsburgh_Mp3.rar

Monday, March 8, 2021

Fleetwood Mac - 1974-12-15 - Record Plant, Sausalito, CA

Fleetwood Mac

December 15, 1974
Record Plant, Sausalito, CA
FM Broadcast (KSAN-FM) recording, very good quality
Available in both Lossless (FLAC) and Mp3 (320 kbps) versions

Continuing on with more from 'The Bob Welch Years' of Fleetwood Mac (1971-1974). After dismissing guitarist-songwriter-vocalist Danny Kirwan (for out of control alcohol problems) after the Bare Trees tour, in September 1972, the band added guitarist Bob Weston and vocalist Danny Walker (Savoy Brown), as they apparently wanted to maintain a similar dynamic of having 2 lead guitarists and 3 vocalists. This new lineup recorded Penguin (1973), which was well-received, but Walker was let go shortly after that for not being the 'right fit' for the band. The remaining members carried on, releasing their next album, Mystery To Me (1973) just 6 months later. Mystery to Me is a strong album, and featured 4 Christine McVie songs (for the first time), as well as several good Welch songs, including 'Hypnotized' which received substantial radio play in the US and became a band standard. The band seemed poised for greater success, but additional problems intervened. Early on in their subsequent tour, guitarist Weston had an affair with Fleetwood's wife, which caused Weston's immediate dismissal, and the emotionally devastated Fleetwood was unable to continue the tour, resulting in its cancellation with 26 dates left to play, causing the band to 'temporarily disband'.  Well, the band's manager was not about to let that happen, and told the band that he owned the rights to the name 'Fleetwood Mac' and would hire a new set of musicians to tour in early 1974. He hired members of the band Legs, who were told that Mick Fleetwood would rejoin the band with them later on the tour (even though Fleetwood had nothing to do with them). They were billed as the 'New Fleetwood Mac', and performed at rescheduled dates on the US Tour. Although the tour started out OK, as word spread that this was a 'bogus' Fleetwood Mac, they faced increasing hostility and cancelled shows, forcing the cancellation of the rest of the tour. Meanwhile, the resulting lawsuit regarding the Fleetwood Mac naming rights sidelined the 'actual' Fleetwood Mac for most of 1974. Although the battle was not legally resolved until 4 years later, the 'real' Fleetwood Mac, which was now a foursome consisting of Welch, Fleetwood, and John and Christy McVie, was able to continue recording and tour again beginning in September 1974. Another change brought about by the lawsuit was a move of the band's base of operation to the US, which afforded greater cooperation with their record company and access to the US market. This stripped down version of the band (this was the first time Fleetwood Mac did not have 2 or more guitarists) released a dynamite new album, Heroes Are Hard to Find (1974) and played several dates in the fall of 1974. Heroes consisted completely of Welch (7 songs) and C. McVie (4 songs) compositions, and was arguably their best album to date, with McVie's title track and 'Come a Little Bit Closer', and Welch's 'Angel', 'Bermuda Triangle', and 'Silver Heels' among the highlights, and the album charted higher in the US than any previous album (reaching #34 Billboard). Personally, I really liked the sound and style of this period and album. Welch's unique combination of rock, jazz, funk, and pop, and his moody, atmospheric groove and vocals brought a different sound and style to the band, and this period also saw the development of Christine McVie into a world-class songwriter and performer. But, Welch left the band in December 1974, going on to a solo career. And then, of course, shortly after that Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks (of the struggling duo Buckingham-Nicks) joined the band, and Fleetwood Mac soared to unprecedented heights with their subsequent releases Fleetwood Mac (1975),  Rumours (1977), and beyond. But these Bob Welch years were an important and crucial phase of the band, providing many memorable songs and shows, and I really don't think that the subsequent megastardom phase would have been possible without the development of the band during Welch's time and leadership. However, when Fleetwood Mac was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, Welch was not included, even though all other past members of significance, such as Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, and Danny Kirwan were all included. And most of the Fleetwood Mac compilations completely ignore this period (only the 3-disc box set 50 years-Don't Stop includes any Welch or McVie songs from this period). Bob Welch died in 2012 at age 66. A few months before his death, he underwent spinal surgery which did not go well, leaving him in pain and unable to walk. On June 7, he took his own life. 

The show posted here returns to Welch's final days with Fleetwood Mac, possibly his last show with them. it is an excellent radio broadcast from the Record Plant, December 15, 1974. The show is live, but without an actual audience, being in front of only a couple dozen Record Plant-affiliated people, which makes for a somewhat strange silence after and between songs. But it is a great show nonetheless and Welch's final fling with Fleetwood Mac. Unfortunately, they did not play 'Silver Heels' or 'Heroes', 2 of my favorite songs from Heroes Are Hard to Find.

01. Green Manalishi
02. Angel
03. Spare Me A Little
04. Sentimental Lady (false start)
05. Sentimental Lady > Future Games
06. Bermuda Triangle
07. Why
08. Believe Me
09. Black Magic Woman
10. Oh Well
11. Band Intros
12. Rattlesnake Shake
13. Hypnotized
14. Mystery To Me

Bob Welch - guitar, vocals
Christine McVie - piano, vocals
Bobby Hunt - Hammond organ, clavinet, ARP synthesizer
John McVie - bass
Mick Fleetwood - drums

FLAC - Fleetwood Mac_1974-12-15_Sausalito_FLAC.rar

mp3 - Fleetwood Mac_1974-12-15_Sausalito_mp3.rar
Note: the FLAC and mp3 versions here come from slightly different source recordings (but both excellent). The mp3 version has the false start to Sentimental Lady removed thus the track numbering is a bit different.