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Stanley, James Lee: Alive At Last

James Lee Stanley is an American singer/songwriter specializing in acoustic folk and pop/rock. I first became familiar with the artist after hearing the cleverly titled The Apocaloptimist released in 2014. His new release Alive At Last was recorded live at Morning Star Studios in Philadelphia, his hometown. Here he teams with percussionist Cheryl Prashker and bassist Chad Watson whom he has been playing with a number of years. This is his first time playing with Prashker signifying this is somewhat of an impromptu performance. Given the concert comes off without a hitch is a testament to the skill of these seasoned veteran musicians.

After a brief welcoming segment the disc proper begins with the bluesy "Going Back To Memphis" upon which Stanley utilizes his silky smooth tenor to great effect. Throw in some jazzy chords and more grittier vocal sections and you have a fine opening number. "Worry About You" is a pretty tune with gentle acoustic guitar with Stanley channeling a bit of Cat Stevens. "Three Monkeys", written by Michael Peter Smith, is another strong track featuring nice acoustic riffs and a fine rhythm section giving this one a bit more power. The other covers include The Stones' "Miss You" and The Beatles' "Drive My Car". Do I like these versions better than the originals? Well no, but they are well done offering different arrangements and of course coming from an acoustic bent. Other highlights include the poignant "All I Ever Wanted", the emotive and thoughtful acoustic blues folk of "The Street "Where Mercy Died" and the pub sing along "The More I Drink". The tongue and cheek lyrics in the latter will certainly give many people some food for thought.

Stripped to the bone and about as raw as it gets this is real music made from real flesh and blood that gets to the heart of the matter in each and every track. Both sensitive and thoughtful, Stanley is a musician who will appeal to artists like Seals and Crofts, Cat Stevens and Paul Simon. For those getting the physical product the packaging is also bare bones so if that is a concern take note. Other than that Alive At Last is an enjoyable listen.

Track Listing:
1. Welcome (0:23)
2. Going Back To Memphis (3:52)
3. Intro Worry About You (0:39)
4. Worry About You (4:19)
5. Three Monkeys (5:42)
6. Intro Miss You (0:07)
7. Miss You (3:55)
8. Intro Drive My Car (0:09)
9. Drive My Car (3:53)
10. I Don't Want To Talk About It (5:34)
11. Intro Easy To See (1:12)
12. Easy To See (4:03)
13. All I Ever Wanted (5:15)
14. Intro The Street Where Mercy Died (0:55)
15. The Street Where Mercy Died (3:39)
16. Intro Here We Are (0:30)
17. Here We Are (3:46)
18. Do It In His Name (3:51)
19. Intro Touch Like Magic (0:21)
20. Touch Like Magic (5:12)
21. Racing The Moon (4:30)
22. Intro The More I Drink (2:46)
23. The More I Drink (3:22)

Added: November 21st 2016
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score:
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 1009
Language: english

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