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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Michael Stanley

The Compact Michael Stanley

Review by Gary Hill

This compilation set is classy stuff. Of course, you can say that about anything Michael Stanley does. His mix of country, rock and singer songwriter styled stuff is timeless and classic. It also just works really well. This is a great introduction to the man’s catalog, featuring both old and new material. I did review two of these songs on my previous reviews of his music. For the sake of consistency, those two track reviews have been adapted from those original reviews.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 3 at

Track by Track Review
Rosewood Bitters

Coming from Stanley’s 1972 self-titled debut, this has a healthy helping of 70s rock built into it. Add some hints of folk music and country and you’ll be in the right neighborhood. It’s a catchy, energized rocker that is quite effective.

Among My Friends Again
This is much more of a folk rock styled piece. It has a lot of soft rocking sound (and some country) built into it. This one is originally from his Friends and Legends album. It makes me think of something Bread or America might have done.
Let's Get the Show on the Road
From the same album, this is more of a dramatic and powerful folk arrangement. It makes me think of the kind of thing Gordon Lightfoot might do. The saxophone solo section does take it into different directions, though, and the piece really rocks out as that movement builds. It makes its way back to the original train of thought, but then we get a Latin jazz tinged jam when the sax returns later. This is one of the best cuts here, really.
Moving Right Along
Folk and rock blend on this satisfying tune. It’s very timeless and classic in sound. It’s another from Stanley’s self-titled debut. I really dig the organ on the instrumental section. The flute deserves a mention, too. The guitar solo is particularly meaty, too.
After Hollywood
Taken from the Coming up for Air album (1996), this is a much newer tune. The blend of sounds here isn’t a big change. This is just another compelling rocker. It’s folk based and quite classy.
American Road
This stomper has a lot of rocking country music in the mix. It an energetic number and gains a lot from the female backing vocals. It’s the title track to Stanley’s 2006 album. It has some tasteful saxophone soloing, too.
Tupleo Rain
There is no huge change here. That said, this is more of a straightahead rocker than some of the rest. This comes from 2008’s Just Another Night.
This stomper is more of a blues rocker. There is some country in the mix. The guitar solo really screams. The tune is from the 2000 album, Eighteen Down.
Dead Flowers
This one comes from the album Farrago Sessions. It’s a cover of the Stones tune. This rocks a bit harder without losing any of the country charm.
Come On Down
Very much a country stomper, this is classy. Saxophone add something different to the mix. It comes from the 2009 release Shadowland.
Cadillac Man
From 2008’s The Soft Addictions, there is a real bluesy vibe here. This has some jazz and more in the mix. It’s a cool tune that definitely brings some variety. The guitar solo on this is on fire.
From Somewhere Else
There is a lot of country and classic rock merged here. This is an effective tune. It comes from 2012’s The Hang.
When the Smoke It Finally Clears
This piece wsa originally released on 2013’s The Ride.  A balladic cut, there is a real epic feeling to this. It feels rather like progressive rock at times. It’s a great piece of music.
In For A Dollar
From 2003’s The Ground, this is a real stomping hard rocker. The riff driving it is really tasty. The cut is one of my favorites on this compilation, really.
Breaking News
A mellow ballad, folk and country merge on this one.. It’s compelling and effective. It comes from 2014 album The Job.


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