Backstage At The Resurrection – As I was putting together a set list for a show last year, I realized that most of the songs were either political or sad; songs of loss, national betrayal, grief and I thought I should write a few songs that were happy, just to snap myself out of it. I was listening to Bruce Hornsby’s first CD and some of the songs on there are so full of joy that I have never heard them LOUD enough. I thought I wanted to do that, so I began conceiving a CD that would reflect joy and rhythm. I love to dance and hadn’t done it much after the 2000 election fraud. It just seemed like there were more important things to do. There were and there are, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take time for a little dancing, a little joy, and that’s where this recording of music came from. I still have my political point of view and my demons, but everything about this CD just seems happy to me. If it gives you only half the joy listening to it that I received creating it, we will all be doing all right. I hope you love it.
Backhand Man – Watching LMN with my wife one night, I realized that that is the “women in peril” channel. Every film is some woman being abused, misused, assaulted, and I thought I wanted to write a song about spousal abuse. About women staying in a situation that they don’t deserve; about women, moreover people in general, recognizing what they are worth and this song came out. Somehow it’s uptempo and joyous; I believe that’s because of the last line of the chorus… “you could have the world from where I stand.” That’s a very positive endorsement. I hope you receive it
I Can’t Cry Anymore – Driving back from vacationing in San Diego in December of 08. My wife and in laws were all asleep in the car and I sudden heard this line, “I can’t cry anymore.” I heard the entire chorus in my head and couldn’t wait to get to an instrument and see what those chords were. It’s a simple progression, but not one that I’ve heard before. That’s always alluring to me. I love writing songs you haven’t heard. Just as like I enjoy taking songs you have heard and rearranging them so that you hear them anew. (I invite you to see www.allwoodandstones.com for a glowing example). The verses came out of a relationship I had before I met my wife. This woman didn’t love me, but she wanted to keep me on the line, just in case it didn’t work out with her number one prospect. Ouch! “that’s as cold as you can get!”
Coming Out Of Hiding – I wrote this song with my pal, Vince Melamed, for the band Kiss, but they never released it. This song was a Top 5 Record of the Year in 1984 for my sister, Pamala Stanley, and it was also up for song of the year, against, “What’s Love Got To Do With It” by Tina Turner. It was a hit around the world and gave my sister a career that she still enjoys. And I suddenly realized that I had never recorded the biggest hit I ever had, so I did this smoky acoustic slow funky version that I simply love to sing, and my sister Sandra and my friends Lisa, James and Jim, all came up with parts on their own. I love all the contrapuntal vocal work in this one.
Let’s Get Out Of Here – After doing a tour of northern California with Corky Siegel, I realized that I simply didn’t know the guitar like I wanted to, so I went to my pal, Chuck Smith, at Woodlowe Music in Woodland Hills and started taking lessons. The first blues progession he showed me had two chords E7#9 and then Fmaj7 in it that, when I played them in reverse, that is playing the Fmaj7 and then the E7#9, resonated with me so much I went right home and wrote this song, which I CANNOT stop playing. Hope that you like it.
Going Back To Memphis – This came out of playing that opening riff. The riff felt happy and funky and with the election of Obama, I felt my spirits lifting and my optimism returning after the political regime from 1997 forward. I had not realized how down I was until Obama was elected. So this became just a happy song that’s fun to sing and the protagonist wants to go back home, “where it all began” and “get it right this time.” I like the idea of a return to honor and personal responsibility and I like couching it in such a joyous pocket. Put on those dancing shoes.
Feather River Nocturne – This is a piece I wrote as a tribute to my old pal, Tom Dundee. He loved the Feather River Canyon and after he passed away, I made a pilgrimage up there with my wife. She and I built a huge cairn there by the river for him up near the headwaters, so it wouldn’t be washed away in the spring floods. Scott Breadman, who did all the percussion, tried to create the sounds of the place, the frogs, the crickets, the birds. I simply love the ambience that he brought to the recording.
Don’t Wait Too Long – Listening to some Stephen Stills, I loved the way he used the 7th in the opening chord of something and I thought I would take a whack at it. The words came out of the passing of another friend who was going to go to Europe, Tuscany in particular, and though he could have afforded it, never took the time and then it was too late, coupled with the passing of my father for whom the last verse was written. Don’t wait too long! Do what you want to do while you can do it. This is not the new nihilism, this is just about embracing your life.
Do As You’re Told – This began because of a song by my pal, Buddy Mondlock. He has a song that starts out about someone running away with the circus, and I realized that I never knew anyone who had actually done that. Most of us are the ones “who never ran away with the circus.” And that was the start of the song. The chorus simply acknowledges one of my pet peeves. People who know what’s best for you. Their arrogance appalls me. The last verse happened as I went into the kitchen from the studio to make a cappuccino. My wife had a little dish of wishbones on the window sill and I looked at it and said to myself, wow, wishes that we never used. I had to put that into the song.
All About Love – Continuing the ruminations on my life and living in general, this song kicked around in my head since the late ’90s, but I could never come up with the words I wanted in the chorus. I tried working with several other writers but nothing ever came of it. Then this past winter after my father passed away, I realized that this really is what being here is about. It’s an idea that has been offered for years. It never has enough takers and so I offer it once again.
What Would You Do? – I came to the realization that protest songs can have no real impact on the issues if you only sing them to the choir… to the people who agree with you. So how do you get the people who don’t agree with you to at least listen to the song? I mean, do you think Rush Limbaugh is playing my music between pizzas? I thought, I’ve got to write something that people who don’t agree with me would be able to hear. And then I thought about what I would do if I were in Bush’s shoes when 911 happened, and the song wrote itself. There was a moment there after 911 when a perspicacious and honorable leader could have literally brought the world together. A remarkable opportunity, in the midst of gross tragedy for world unity only to be squandered by a would be cowboy. Sorry, I guess I am still upset with where the world is now, thanks to greed, ineptness and a total disregard for history or the Constitution by that appointed bozo and his cronies.
Backstage At The Resurrection – I have always loved the surreal Bob Dylan period. Songs like Highway 61, Desolation Row, It’s All Right Ma, I’m Only Bleeding. And the way he wove Biblical mythology into the songs always amused me. One night the muse was upon me and this lyric just fell out. Once it was out, it only took moments to turn it into this raucous criticism of the Bush years. Remember? It was like being at the post office. Each year just seemed to take longer than it should. During that time, I felt embarrassed to be an American, embarrassed that we allowed that man to be president and allowed that regime to remain in power for so very long. This song came out of that embarrassment and the helpless rage that they inspired in me and so very many other people who love what this country allegedly stands for. I used that same shuffle strum that I used on “Let’s Spend the Night Together” on the All Wood and Stones CD that I did with John Batdorf. And the title of the song could easily apply to me, or anyone who is trying once again to make a difference. That’s the resurrection that I am really talking about.
Let’s Get Out Of Here Redux – After I had written and recorded this song, I started playing this slower acoustic version. I love the guitar part and I love singing this song, so I thought as a bonus track I would do it this way. Also my friend, Rich Warren, suggested that I do a double CD recording of the songs with a band and then again with just a guitar. This is a nod to that suggestion. That’s the remarkable Chad Watson on bass. He does have some chops.
James Lee Stanley / vocal and guitar
Chad Watson / bass