the eternal contradiction
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James Lee Stanley
CD Rack

All Wood And Stones II
Find out more about:
All Wood And Stones II
(2013)


Backstage At The Resurrection
Find out more about:
Backstage At The Resurrection
(2011)


All Wood And Doors
Find out more about:
All Wood And Doors
(2011)


Live In Tehachapi, Volume II
Live In Tehachapi - VolumeII
(2009)

Live In Tehachapi - VolumeI
Live In Tehachapi - VolumeI
(2009)

new traces of the old road
Find out more about:
new traces of the old road (2008)


The Eternal Contradiction
Find out more about:
The Eternal Contradiction (2007)


Live / Backstage @ The Coffee Gallery
Live/Backstage @
The Coffee Gallery
(2006)

All Wood and Stones
Find out more about:
All Wood and Stones (2004)


A Beachwood Christmas
Find out more about:
A Beachwood Christmas (2003)


Once Again
Once Again (2001)

two man band two
two man band two (2000)

Freelance Human Being
Freelance Human Being (1998)

Domino Harvest
Domino Harvest (1997)

tWo mAn banD
tWo mAn banD (1995)

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1995)

The Envoy
The Envoy (1993)

Ripe four Distraction
Ripe four Distraction (1990)

Simpatico
Simpatico (1988)

LIVE at McCabes
LIVE at McCabes (1986)

Racing The Moon
Racing The Moon (1984)

Eclipse
Eclipse (1982)

Midnight Radio
Midnight Radio (1980)

Three's the Charm
Three's the Charm (1974)

James Lee Stanley, Too
James Lee Stanley, Too (1973)

James Lee Stanley
James Lee Stanley (1973)

the eternal contradiction
  Playlist     | Background     | Musicians     | Equipment     | Reviews
the eternal contradiction CD cover
Playlist:
it's all in the game | here we are | on the bus | the loner | mary january | this fleeting moment |
let the tree fall | nothing to keep you on my mind | the street where mercy died |
the world we left behind | change

Click on the titles above to see the lyrics and hear a song clip.

Here's a brief summary followed by the lyrics and more details than anyone really wants, but hey, that's the way we artistes are artistes.

It's official. The cd is called The eternal Contradiction and was released January 11, 2007.

It's got two pages of collage, the liner notes by dave sharos, a chicago tribune journalist, and the cover itself is a drawing by one of my favorite artists, ken conklin.

It's 47 minutes long and those who've heard it, think it might be my best ever. the songs in case you forgot are (in order of appearance): it's all in the game; here we are; on the bus; the loner; mary january; this fleeting moment; let the tree fall; nothing to keep you on my mind; the street where mercy died; the world we left behind; and change.

The musicians are me on guitar, bass, keyboards, perc and vocals. john batdorf does bg vocals on here we are and the loner; mark rodney does lead guitar on here we are; colin cameron does bass on let the tree fall; corky siegel does harmonica on nothing to keep you on my mind; bradley vines plays sax on mary january; lisa turner does background vocals on let the tree fall; peter tork played the banjo on the world we left behind; scott breadman did most of the percussion and ken lyon did most of the bass. ron mcmaster, who mastered all wood and stones, also mastered the e.c.

It is a pretty simple recording. tho i did keyboards on let the tree fall and some vocorder stuff on nothing to keep you on my mind. o and i did all the lead guitars except for mark's contribution to here we are. and i did the organ on the street where mercy died. and the kalimba and a wooden marimba i borrowed from joann on orcas island for the solo on change. all this info and more minutae follows:

The Background on The Eternal Contradiction
I first started recording "contradictions" in January 2005, laying out some sketches of songs that I was considering recording. These included a version of The Dancer, first recorded on Simpatico in 1988. It's a pro choice song that is evidently still relevant. This time I borrowed Stephen Bishop's Martin D-28 that had been refitted to work in C tuning. Really low. A full step below what would be drop d tuning. It sounded like a cello. And I did this acoustic version of the song. I had done it in a falsetto voice on Simpatico and this time I wanted to do it in a baritone. Never got any further than recording a few passes of the guitar. There was a love song I wrote for Eveline called Any Other Way, that I still love and will record at some later date. And I started work on an instrumental in f sharp minor. It later evolved into Feather River Nocturne which I recorded for this CD and then didn't include on the CD. It just didn't come together right, tho Scott and Ken played brilliantly, I just wasn't in the place I want this piece to be. I had a song called Hang Up and Drive, inspired by these bozos talking on the phone while they drive and risking my life. It's sarcastic and quite cool groove, but it just didn't fit with the other songs. Later, I guess. Two twelve bar blues, one entitled You Be the Bait and the other, Stranded on the Outside, that I wrote for a concert I was doing with Corky Siegel and Tom Dundee in Chicago at Lucille's. (Turned out it was the night my good friend Johnny Barnett died. That was the beginning of me losing about a dozen loved ones over the next twenty four months. This maturity is a bitch.) Neither of those songs made the cut. I think if I can get Corky Siegel to do a Two Man Band CD with me, then I'll include those two and all the songs that he and I have written together over the years. Should be a rockin recording. Anyhow, I ended up with the tunes you have on the CD you so graciously purchased from me. If you are here reading this, then I guess you liked them.

The Musicians:
Scott Breadman/Percussion; Ken Lyon/Bass; Colin Cameron/Bass on "Let the Tree Fall"; Mark Rodney/Lead Guitar on "Here We Are"; Corky Siegel/Harmonica; Bradley Vines/Sax; Lisa Turner/Background Vocals on "Let the Tree Fall"; Peter Tork/Banjo on "The World We Left Behind"; John Batdorf/Background Vocals on "The Loner" and "Here We Are"; James Lee Stanley/Lead Vocals, Guitars, Bass ("Here We Are" and "Nothing") Keyboards, Marimba, Kalimba, Background Vocals.

Scott Breadman is a world class guy and a world class musician. For this CD, I completely gave him the freedom to choose the instruments he wanted to use on each song and the groove that he wanted to lay down. My only instruction was for the tracks to sizzle. I played the songs in my somewhat mellow fashion, but I wanted him to be cooking beneath me and it worked great. He used all kinds of world percussion as opposed to the usual stuff one uses to accompany a trap set. Among the instruments were cajon, guerro, spinning bells, bell trees, conga, tabla, bamboo shakers.

Ken Lyon played a Fender fretless bass that we plugged right into the board. He was his usual tasteful self and anchored the songs in a rock solid fashion. Ken and Scott have been with me for many projects now., from Ripe Four Distraction all the way to All Wood and Stones and now The Eternal Contradiction.

For Let the Tree Fall, Colin Cameron actually called up and said that he not only loved the song, but that he had to play on it. He had a bunch of ideas about recording two bass parts with tenths over dubbed. It sounded intriguing to me so he came over and we spent a full day coming up with the various bass parts. He plays a sixties Fender precision and we also plugged him directly into the board, using a James Demeter preamp.

John Batdorf has been a friend of mine for over thirty years. I started out just being a fan and wound up making All Wood and Stones with him. One of the finer albums ever recorded, even if I do say so myself. He has just completed a wonderful solo CD entitled Home Again, which I recommend to you. His website is JohnBatdorfMusic.com. He was in a band with Mark Rodney when I first encountered them at a club in Glendale called the Hole. As soon as I heard him I wanted to sing with him. He did a great and subtle job on Here We Are and for The Loner, I just let him do all the parts. It's a wonderful texture and it's different from anyone elses.

Mark Rodney provided all the jazzy tasteful guitar that made Batdorf & Rodney so wonderful. I hadn't seen him in years when he came down from Vegas to do some work on John's solo CD. They came over to do John's BG's and I asked him to play on Here We Are, as I think it's kind of like a B&R song. He took a couple of passes at the song and we were all smiling in the control room. It was just like the old days, except for the absence of weed. Yes, we smoked weed, but we didn't exhale, okay?

Corky Siegel, founding member of Siegel/Schwall, the only blues band to ever play with Seiji Ozawa and the San Francisco Symphony. Corky also went on to form Chamber Blues, an unlikely amalgam of string quartet, Corky on piano, harmonica and vocals, and a percussionist playing Indian instruments like the tabla. Wonderful stuff. Corky played the incredible harmonica solo on Nothing to Keep You On My Mind. Corky's web site is www.chamberblues.com. check it out.

Peter Tork, my friend of longest standing did some wonderful banjo work on "The World We Left Behind". I wanted the banjo to sound like Dick Weissman's work with the Journeymen, all those years ago and Peter was terrific. And he not only has a solo CD on Beachwood Recordings, and three duet CD's with me, but he has a wonderful blues band, called Shoe Suede Blues and their new album (available here at Beachwood as well as their Saved By The Blues) is truly wonderful. PT's been doing the work and it shows. Hat's off, pal.

Bradley Vines, Dr of Music and all around good friend and musician, I have known since he was born. I was in Chinese school with his dad at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA. Thru the years Bradley kept studying music and the saxophone and finally I had to ask him if he could find the time to do the brilliant solo he did for Mary January.

Lisa Turner, I met here in Los Angeles, playing at all the local songwriter showcases, such as Kulak's and Garret Swayne's Main Street Songwriter Showcase. She is a wonderful singer, writer and player and I'm delighted to have her do the background vocals on Let the Tree Fall. Her website is: www.lisasongs.com. Go check her out

The Songs:
I wanted the listener to ease into this recording. It's a musical journey that unfolds in eleven vignettes, eleven different sonic palettes. They all stand alone, but they also all stand together to support the idea of the eternal contradictions that come with the package. The brilliant cover drawing by Ken Conklin shows me performing, with one body but with many minds and faces. A condition we all experience I believe. Here are my takes on the songs; why they are included and what the mean to me.

It's All in the Game - written by Charles Dawes (vice president under Calvin Coolidge) and Carl Siglin, this song has long been a favorite of mine. I recall playing the 45 on one of those little record players that allowed you to lift the arm and just let it play. I would play this song over and over again.

Years later, my high school girlfriend, Nancy Cheshire, came to a concert of mine that Brenda Barkley of the Tidewater Friends of Folk Music put on in Virginia Beach. She asked if I did that song and I told her that I had never played it. But later in the dressing room after sound check, I sat down and this guitar arrangement just fell out. I was amazed. I didn't even know that I knew the song. So here it is with a guitar interlude added.

I still love this song.

it's all in the game used by permission  

many a tear has to fall, but it's all in the game
all in the wonderful game that we know as love
you've had words with him and your future's looking dim
but these things your hearts will rise above

once in a while he won't call, but it's all in the game
soon he'll be there at your side with a sweet bouquet
and he'll kiss your lips and caress your waiting fingertips
and your hearts will fly away

Song by:
Siglin & Dawes
Credits:
James Lee Stanley, guitar and vocal

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Here We Are - I've always thought that there are these pivotal moments in our lives. A split second where the choice you make can and will change your life. This is about such a moment. When two people are on the precipice, lose their balance and fall…in love. I enjoy the way the chords slip thru several key centers without any noticeable key change, and it reminds me of Bacharach's writing. I'm sure he had an influence on me. And it was a joy to have Mark Rodney play the solo. I was such a fan of Batdorf & Rodney and this reminds me of that time.


here we are  
here we are, you and I
just one glance and hypnotized
shadows dancing on the firestone
we're here together and we're all alone

what we feel / what we know
holding on or letting go?

almost touching. can you feel it too?
should i speak now, or should i wait for you

still and near, you can hear
time between the tick and the tock
of the stately old clock in the hall

close your eyes, you know the way
it's too late now, we must stay
just one shadow in the fire's glow
we're holding on and we're never letting go

Words and Music by:
James Lee Stanley
James Lee Stanley Music, BMI 2007
Credits:
James Lee Stanley, rhythm guitar, lead vocal, bass, background vocals
Scott Breadman, percussion
Ken Lyon, bass
John Batdorf, background vocals
Mark Rodney, lead guitar

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On the Bus - was inspired by an actual event I experienced on a school bus when I was just fourteen. It was fall and we had moved from Pennsylvania to Virginia. I was suddenly attending high school in a place where I knew no one. On the bus, a young girl who had a mild reputation was flirting with a bunch of jocks and it started to get out of hand. The next thing she knew she was on the back seat of the bus while a group of greedy teenagers grabbed and groped. Somehow, she looked up thru the crowd and saw me staring aghast. She looked right into my eyes. She was frightened and somehow defiant at the same time. I knew I should do something. I was four foot 10 inches and about 85 pounds, and I was afraid. I knew it was wrong, but I looked away. I never forgot it and I have never gotten over being ashamed I didn't do something. Dissolve to the 2000 election debacle and the appointed president and the illegal war and I have become very politically active. I think I spend at least an hour a day protecting my country from this 2004 regime. If you want to get into it with me, go to the political-listerpies@yahoogroups.com and we'll get into it.


on the bus
patty petty in the back of the bus, a bunch of fools hangin' around
laying her out, feeling her up, and finally putting her down
i remember being sick to my stomach, "stop it" i wanted to shout
i remember her panic, her face, her fear; she was trying to tough it out

you're either on that bus or you're off that bus,
you're either on that bus or you're off that bus
you're either on that bus or you're off that bus,
are you on that bus, are you off that bus?

somehow thru the crowd, her eyes locked mine, but tell me what could i do?
one little boy against "wannabe men", i just turned away, wouldn't you?
yes, i held my tongue and i walked away, i had to get it out of my sight
ashamed my fear got the best of me, didn't do what i knew was right

you're either on that bus or you're off that bus
you're either on that bus or you're off that bus
make a choice now...on that bus, off that bus
are you on that bus, are you off that bus?

now forty years later, i still see her eyes, i still hear her silent plea
"are you just gonna stand there?
will you walk away?" and the answer came back to me

instrumental chorus

now another in trouble is holding a torch that used to shine bright and clear
stood for what's decent, stood for what's right,
but "wannabe' men" still rule with fear
and i can't hold my tongue and i can't turn away
and i can't pretend things are just fine, the first time fear got the best of me
but this time i draw the line
and i won't hold my tongue and i won't walk away
and i won't pretend things are all right, last time fear got the best of me
but this time i stand and fight

we're either on that bus or you're off that bus
we're either on that bus or you're off that bus
we're either on that bus or you're off that bus
are we on that bus, are we off that bus

Words and Music by:
James Lee Stanley
December 2005
Credits:
James Lee Stanley, vocals and guitars
Scott Breadman, percussion
Ken Lyon, bass

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The Loner – written by Neil Young, was one of the first songs that I began doing live when I moved to Los Angeles and started playing around town. At the time, I did it just like Neil does on his first solo album. My friend, Rocky Johnson, turned me on to the album and I was floored by it. I was already a Buffalo Springfield fan, so it wasn't hard to engage me. . But last year, on stage while playing with my loop station and my ME-50, I started doing the song as a waltz, and then and there I came up with the three different guitar motifs that I use on this recording-- right there on the stage. John Batdorf came over and did some wonderful background vocals on this and Scott and Ken laid down a fantastic foundation.


the loner by Neil Young used by permission 
he's a perfect stranger, like a cross of himself and a fox
he's a feeling arranger and changer of the way he talks
he's the unforseen danger, the keeper of the key to the locks
know when you see him, nothing can free him
step aside, open wide, he's the loner
if you see him on a subway he'll be down at the end of the car
watchin you move until he knows, he knows who you are
when you get off at your station alone, he'll know you are
know when you see him, nothing can free him
step aside, open wide, he's the loner
was a woman he knew about a year or so ago
she had something he needed and he pleaded with her not to go
on the day that she left, he died, but it did not show
know when you see him, nothing can free him
step aside, open wide, he's the loner

Song by:
Neil Young
Credits:
James Lee Stanley, lead vocal and guitars
Scott Breadman, percussion
Ken Lyon, bass
John Batdorf, background vocals

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Mary January - inspired by a friend of Eveline's whom she brought home with her from work one night. a delightful and lovely woman with that unlikely name. I immediately told her I loved the name and wanted to write a song with it, if she didn't mind. Then I never saw her again. Turns out she didn't. for the next ten years or so I faithfully put the title in every new writing notebook and then never delivered on the title. Nothing would come to me to write about using that name, so I waited. Then one night in Nashville during the National Folk Alliance, I got an idea for it. It would be about this woman that no one knew. She's sort of anonymous, and then she passes away …and Father MacKendzie's wiping his hands as he walks from the grave… Hey, wait a minute. I think that's already been done…and quite well too. So another few weeks passed by and then I thought, "I know, -- I'll write a science fiction song, wherein, MJ is this non descript woman that no one ever really notices until she mysteriously disappears. So you see, it is her very disappearance that makes her noticed. See the irony?I loved it and went write to work, heh heh. One morning in March, I got up, put the lyrics in front of me and picking up my guitar, came up with the melody. I put it on tape and went to check my email. The first message was from an mjanuary. Amazing I thought. I just finished a song called Mary January. Well, imagine my surprise when I opened the post and it was from the very Mary January who had inspired the song. She said that she hadn't thought of me in years, but for some reason I kept popping into her mind during the last two months, so she went on line and checked out my webpage and sent me a post. Then she went on to say that she hoped to sometime in the near future see Eveline and I. Love, Mary January.  

p.s. did you ever write that song?

I was floored. I immediately emailed her, copied Eveline and went on to actually call Mary January and incoherently try to tell her how excited and amazed I was. I left all the numbers and the email addys and never heard from her again. Weird. Maybe she found the door, Eveline said.


mary january  
this is the start of the end of it all
she said in a voice not her own
the words were so clear as she stared in the mirror
she wondered if she were alone
then the sun lit the day as she opened her case
and put on her face and her eyes
and dressing herself in her usual way
assumed her contented disguise
mary january, how did you find the door?


this is the start of the end of it all
she picks up her purse and her keys
and locking the lock and walking the walk
she watches the leaves on the trees
they use to be green, they use to be gold
they use to be gone, now they're here
it use to be different, each day from the last
now it's the same year to year
mary january, how did you find the door?
mary january, how did you know for sure?


(she said)
"it's so easy to slip between the cracks
but you should know, you cannot come back"


this is the start of the end of it all
it read in the note that they found
nobody knew for how long she'd been gone
or the last time they'd seen her around
then somebody noticed her purse full of leaves
and her keys in the lock in the door
"where did she go?" they all wanted to know
no one wondered about her before
mary january, how did you find the door?
mary january, how did you know for sure?

Words and Music by:
James Lee Stanley
Credits:
James Lee Stanley, vocals and guitars
Scott Breadman, percussion
Ken Lyon, bass
Bradley Vines, sax solo

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This Fleeting Moment - was originally written by Tom Dundee, one of the dearest friends of my life, who tragically passed away on April 17, 2006. No fellow has ever been closer to my heart than Tom. We had a memorial concert for him at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago and I was honored to be the host. About fifty artists paid tribute to Tom. It is a song that my old Chicago friend, Haskel Levi told me about and suggested I sing at the memorial. He tried to play me a very distorted and poorly recorded version of it, but it was truly undecipherable. Then he sent me the lyrics, and I hoped Jim Tulio or someone would send me the melody, which didn't arrive until the day I left for Chicago. In the meantime, I wrote another melody loosely based upon what I could remember of the cassette that Haskel played me. I tried to keep it faithful to what Tom would have done, and played it for Cosy Sheridan and TR Ritchie, who told me that Tom told him that the song was a work in progress, so I think I've done right by Tom. It is, at this point, my favorite song of all the songs that I've ever been involved with.


This Fleeting Moment
If the sun shone all the time and midnight never came
and the clouds all blew away and we never faced the rain
Would we miss the dark, appreciate the dawn
Would we miss the pain, when all the pain was gone

What would we call the sound of the gentle mourning dove
Would we know of joy, without the loss of love
As the flick'ring candle burns does the mystery remain
If the season didn't turn, would the rose still mean the same
Would there be a reason, then, if we never had to cry
for passion to exist, if we never had to die?

So come lay with me, my love, and I will hold you near
And we'll cherish what we have In this fleeting moment here

Perhaps the greatest gift of all, from grandeur to subtle tear
is the impending loss we face, in this fleeting moment here

So come lay with me, my love, and I will hold you near
And we'll cherish what we have, In this fleeting moment here

Words and Music by: Tom Dundee, Jack of Hearts Music, BMI
Alternative Musical Arrangement  by: James Lee Stanley
Credits:
James Lee Stanley, vocals, guitars and bass

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Let the Tree Fall - When my mother passed, it was not a surprise as she had been ill for a few years and was failing. So I thought I was prepared. I couldn't have been more wrong. Her passing hit me so hard that it took six months before I realized that I was depressed. Every flat surface in my office and studio had stuff on it that I hadn't gotten around to taking care of, while I was evidently playing some seven thousand games of solitaire. I just didn't know how much pain and grief was involved in losing a parent. This song came out of that. I didn't want to write a "poor me"kind of song. I wanted to compose a celebration of my mother and a little comfort for all of us. I hope this helps.

let the tree fall  
it was a season of transition, it was a season of true loss
and the eternal contradiction between the spring and winters frost
it was the time before renewal, you can't remember what it's worth.
there was denial and refusal, and finally rebirth.
let the tree fall, let the river flow, and when the time comes...

you change the things you have the strength to. accept whatever you cannot
and then you pray to know the difference and you give it all you've got
and when the wheel has come full circle around these days and nights sublime
then it would serve us to remember all things must come and go in time, so

let the tree fall, let the river flow, and when the time comes...you just let go

you cannot change a raging river, or the tides that ebb and flow
but if you reach down deep inside your heart you'll find the strength to just let go
and let the tree fall...

it wasn't just the things she taught me, it was the way her life was lived
it was the sacred joy she carried into everything she did
and i remember what she told me about these seasons that we live
she said that love is all that matters and in the end you must forgive

and let the tree fall, let the river flow and when the time comes, you just let go

Words and Music by: James Lee Stanley
2005 (This song was inspired by and dedicated to the memory of my mother, Mary Stanley, whose passing I don't think I will ever get over. )
Credits:
James Lee Stanley, lead vocals, background vocals, guitars, and piano
Scott Breadman, percussion
Colin Cameron, bass
Lisa Turner, additional background vocals

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Nothing (To Keep You On My Mind) - sometimes you just have to give into your petulant side. This lyric was actually started years ago, inspired by a lovely woman who took my heart and stomped that sucker flat. I wrote this then and quite serpendipitiously found the lyric as I was working on another song at the piano last year. The lyrics were in the piano bench. Amazing. I wrote it in drop d tuning in the hopes that john batdorf and I would perform it on our "all wood and stones"tours. John's favorite configuration is the drop d. He told me that his second Batorf and Rodney album was all written in drop d. That's love.


nothin (to keep you on my mind)  
nothin you can say or do
can make me change my mind about you
nothin you can do or say,
can make me change my mind and stay

nothin to do but to walk out the door
nothin to say to you cause we said it before
and there's no place to go cause i don't know
what you've been looking for

nothin to keep you on my mind
nothin to keep you on my mind
nothin to keep you on my,
nothin to keep you on my mind

nothin you can say or do
can make me change my mind about you
nothin you can do or say,
can make me change my mind and stay

nothin to do but to call it an end
nothin to give, take, borrow or lend
and there's nothin to show from before
that we've ever been more than friends

nothin to keep you on my mind
nothin to keep you on my mind
nothin to keep you on my,
nothin to keep you on my mind

nothin you can say or do
can make me change my mind about you
nothin you can do or say,
can make me change my mind and stay

Words and Music by: James Lee Stanley
©2007 James Lee Stanley Music, BMI
Credits:
James Lee Stanley, vocals, guitar, bass and vocoder
Scott Breadman, percussion
Corky Siegel, harmonica solo

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The Street Where Mercy Died - as I watched the tragedy of Katrina unfold and witnessed the incredible lack of leadership, vision, focus and expertise demonstrated by the Bush administration, this song came out of my rage. The song says it all.


the street were mercy died  
we were huddled in the rain, in vain, we waited for the train
and where were people warm and dry? on the street where mercy died
on the street where mercy died, on the street where mercy died

smurking the appointed one, takes photo ops under the sun
while sisters wailed and brothers cried to the street where mercy died,
to the street where mercy died, to the street where mercy died

to see the wind, don't need a vane
it's just god's will, the hurricane
but the flood that came like none before
can be traced back to that white house door

from the father to the sun, the plan was set, the deed was done
the truth was spun, undone, tongue-tied on the street where mercy died
on the street where mercy died, on the street where mercy died

it's a black heart full of lies, it's a white house that denies
and feeds us corporate alibis from the street where mercy died
from the street where mercy died, from the street where mercy died

to see the wind, don't need a vane
it's just god's will, the hurricane
but the flood that came like none before,
is traced back to that white house door

if you feel you've been deceived, and don't know who you can believe
follow where the money hides on the street where mercy died
on the street where mercy died, on the street where mercy died

in a house all painted white, lights were turned out for the night
in peaceful dreams the "haves" just sighed
on the street where mercy died

Words and Music by: James Lee Stanley
©2005/2006 James Lee Stanley Music, BMI
for hurricane katherine and the shrub
Credits:
James Lee Stanley, vocals, guitars and organ
Scott Breadman, percussion
Ken Lyon, bass

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The World We Left Behind - this song has a rather strange nascency. Originally a love song that i wrote as i was finishing up work on the Hamilton Camp CD, Sweet Joy. The chorus went, "do you ever think about me?do i ever cross your mind?" A simple unrequited love song. Hamilton's response was, "why write a song that's already been written hundreds of times. you've got things to say, so say them." this was in the weeks following the Katrina debacle as the inept and incompetent Bush administration floundered. Hamilton left the studio and i sat down and wrote these lyrics and fired them off to him. he wrote back the next day and said he loved the new lyrics. within twenty four hours he was dead of a heart ailment we never even knew about. this is for him. he and i shared many a heated discussion of the bush administration, who have not been able to put New Orleans back together by January of 2007. Meanwhile we can spend hundreds of billions of dollars on an illegal war, founded on lies told to us by a corrupted and misguided regime. I weep for my country. And I weep for our future. Unless we can somehow turn around what Bush and his cronies have created, we and our children will be paying for this for our entire lives. talk to me at the political listerpies site if you want to get into it.


the world we left behind  
it's a sky the shade of iron,
it's a storm just out of sight
they say the sun may shine tomorrow,
but it's gonna rain like hell tonight,
yes it's gonna rain like hell tonight

even when there's no denying
thunder clouds and rising floods
still some won't believe what
lies before their eyes,
tho they're sinking in the mud

do you ever stop to wonder?
does it ever cross your mind
that there's a world in which we struggle
and a world we left behind?

what has happened to promise?
to the brightest and the best
yesterday we had the grandest dreams.
have they all been laid to rest?
are we gonna disregard the rest?

i believe "do unto other's
as you'd have them do for you"
what else fulfills with so much grace?
so easy and so true

do you ever stop to wonder?
does it ever cross your mind
there's a world in which we struggle
and a world we left behind?

some believe there'll be a rapture;
those with faith will disappear
could it be it's all mythology;
just a prayer to ease our fears?
is it just a prayer to ease our fears?

i don't see them golden slippers,
i don't hear that glory train
you make your peace right here, right now,
in your laughter; in your pain,
if you're able, if you're cain

remember the beginning; every hope so bright and new
every shining possibility; for the many, not the few

do you ever stop to wonder?
does it ever cross your mind
there's a world in which we struggle
and a world we left behind?

remember? remember?

Words and Music by: James Lee Stanley
©2005 James Lee Stanley Music, BMI
September 2005
Credits:
James Lee Stanley, vocals, guitars and vocoder
Scott Breadman, percussion
Ken Lyon, bass
Peter Tork, banjo

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Change - Somehow I still believe in the innate goodness of people and the conscience of the American people, and for that matter, all peoples of the world. My wife believes that the universe will not tolerate unbalance. I hope she's right. And I hope that this song comes true. I wrote it in while trying to channel the beatles, blackbird days, to be exact. i wanted the guitar to harmonize with my voice on the melody.


change
when are we going to change?
when are we going to live and let be?
when are we going to see
it isn't them, it's you and me;
nobody else can set us free.
when are we going to learn?

what will it take for you and me
to follow the path and find the key
to live here in peace eternally
when are we going to change?
when are we going to change?

when are we going to change?
when will we see not black and white,
but all of the colours shining so bright?
when will we see the light?
as easy to tell the day from the night.
it's easy to see what's wrong from what's right.
so when are we going to learn?

why do we follow helplessly
leaders so blind? why must we be
lemmings who rush into the sea?
when are we going to learn?
when are we going to learn?

when are we going to change
when will we see what we must know
we always reap what we sow
we plant all the seeds and watch them grow
we're moving in faith and still don't know
when we are going to change

INSTRUMENTAL VERSE

i know we're going to change
i know one day we'll live in peace
and will we finally to see
there is no "them", just you and me;
nobody else can set us free.
and we are going to learn
and we are going to see
and we are going to change

Words and Music by: James Lee Stanley
November 5, 2005
Credits:
James Lee Stanley, vocals, guitars, kalimba and marimba
Scott Breadman, percussion
Ken Lyon, bass

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Equipment:
I have been blessed with several remarkable guitars, a 1995 Herring Bone Collings D-2, a Martin D-28H, a Taylor 810ce, a David Russell Young Dreadnaught, but for this particular album I mainly used the Taylor with the Expressive System pick up. While i mic'd several things with an akg 414 (modified by Stephen Paul), I frequently just plugged into the board thru my James Demeter Pre amp. The board is a DAyner from D&Ra Dutch company. I've used the board since The Envoy in 1994. I love the sound of it and the ease of use. The computer is a custom built PC and for this project I used the Cubase SX for recording. I have all the outboard gear and plug ins that I can find, buy, borrow, etc. The monitor speakers are my old faithful Yamaha NS10m's. If you can make it sound good on those, it will sound good on anything.

Reviews:

From George Bryant:

I want someday to listen to one of your new recordings for the first time with you in the room so this aged and somewhat decrepid old DJ and "commusicator" can give any valid feedback, knowing that it will be delivered and heard with love! In that light, when I received your latest a few minutes ago in the mail, I decided to listen to it and give you my thoughts "track by track" as I listen for the first time. I hope that you will enjoy my reactions and, if there are any, criticisms in the spirit they are meant. Then again--there have been very few JLS recordings that didn't KNOCK me to my knees by way of the heart, so how valid any criticisms might be can be called into question.

Here we go:

Track 1 - It's All in The Game:
First, I must say that this is one of my all time favorite songs. The Van Morrison version just kills me. With that said--let's begin:

There's that bright angelic voice of my friend for life---Very nice. The guitar work is clean and well done. This is just the way I knew that you would do it. OMG---The guitar break--jesus--my heart is breaking with joy.........jazzy, a bit.........Norah Jones has nothing on this guy. All said and done---I have a new favorite version of one of my favorite songs---Thank you! (I LOVE It!)

Track 2 - Here We Are:

I detect a little salsa here in the beginning. nice. Shadows dancing.......and we're all alone.........romantic......lovely lyrics.........another JLS love song--no one does them better. Wonderful guitar work.......did I hear Pamala in the background???......close your eyes.......look away..........just one shadow....The way with lyrics is always mind-boggling... Damned fine tune, lyrics, playing, singing. Something is developing here....if this keeps up he may have been honest in his boast that this is the best so far.

Track 3 - On The Bus:

A little more uptempo........Is James learning to rap? No...thank god, but he is developing a different sound for himself here....perhaps this is part of the Eternal contradiction he spoke of....I like the story line. I seem to remember when James did a lot of story songs.....Greely & Flo, many others....Wonder why he never recorded that one. Hey buddy--I'm hopping on the bus with ya! I like this---WOW---would love to hear this one live with a full band and a few dozen percussionists and extended......all in all---fine tune.

Track 4 - The Loner:
This one makes me nervous. As a long time Young fan--this is one of his finest songs and no one can do a Neil song but Neil---ok shut up and play it----here goes:

ok----WAY different tempo. Think I see what he's doing here--re-inventing--lovely chorus---I KNOW i heard your sister on this one--.....far away guitar....lovely.
Damn---wish I had been in on the recording session on this one--would have added a little echo to the voice on "he's the Loner" at the end----far away guitar again. Lovely ending. Wow---you have changed this song in a way that gives it even more meaning--it has become a lament as it always should have been. Very nice---yep---this is developing into a JLS album---I am loving it!

Track 5 - Mary January:

James has always sounded good with a sax going in the background. ..love the opening .....hmm another story song seems to be developing. Mary January---wonder if this is a real person. How did you find the door? Beautiful chorus Ah more Alto Sax....love it.....somewhat jazzy break then back to pop and back to jazzy. When I first heard the Mary January rhyme I didn't really care for the convenience of the rhyme....but I'm really liking the song and the sound.....ok I've gotten over myself---this is REALLY nice.

Track 6 - This Fleeting Moment:
Even before it starts i know I will like this one---the title gives me chills of expectation. Here we go:

Just as i suspected.......his lyrical talent is coming to the forefront---AH GOD JAMES---you're killing me here. Lovely, lovely lovely.......Flickering candle burns....
I feel like I'm there in the moment this was written and the love and passion of it all. Please send this one to Tom Rush----would love to hear his version of this too.
Impending loss we face in this fleeting moment here...........lay with me.....cherish......Damn---POETRY-----MY favorite so far!!

Track 7 - Let The Tree Fall:

Nice beginning and builds well from the previous song. Eternal Contradiction ......rebirth....this somehow reminds me of songs JLS created long ago on old private tapes that he shared with an old friend. Let the river.....let the tree.....just let go. James--the genius of your words and music almost scare me--I am so proud to be a part of your life. Musically, I may have slowed this one a bit, but it's wonderful as it is. Hey------------------it's coming true.....this may be his best work ever.......I hope he lives and records forever and never just let's it go.........somehow, I will always hang on for the next recording. BUT he's got a heck of a recording to try to top next time out. BTW Lovely Piano.

Track 8 - Nothing to Keep You On My Mind:

Nice echo effect at the beginning----do i detect Corky here!? It's been a long time since he recorded like this----This is blusey and sweet and yet a kiss off of some kind. Go Corky Go. Hmmmm reminds me of what I shoulda said to the ex---it is nicer after all than what i did say. Love the guitar as a rythmn instrument here---and Corky Seigal too-----YES!! Nice work James!

Track 9 - Street Where Mercy Died:

Nice guitar open---shades of Midnight Radio (When can I get that on CD James????) Ah Katrina---anti-Bush---YES----it's a diatribe said sweetly. Fucking BUSH should be put in a room with no windows while a garden hose slowly fills it until he drowns. How can someone write a song so full of well placed anger and have it still sound as if there is no hate there---it must be a gift--if it were me i would have had to scream and yell---but you find a way to get the point across without it. It's a gift to you and from you--thank you! haven't heard you get political since Simpatico--glad to have that aspect of you back!

Track 10 - The World We Left Behind:

Beautiful guitar opening--sounds like sitting in a room with you guitar in hand and wow must be Tork there on the banjo, much different tempo than expected. Nice, sounds like we have another lyrically political statement coming here----world we left behind....brightest and the best---a generation wasted perhaps---we had the spirit, damn we had it all....and so much of that has been left behind so true---but i see a new day dawning where our generation of oldsters gets back on the horse---fucking Bush is causing a lot of us to get angry again. Wonderful lyric James and the Torkish banjo adds a lot. EVERY member of our generation should be made to hear this. Musically a gem----but I also think that this may be the most IMPORTANT song you've ever written----get it out there and share it with the masses of flesh we used to call our generation. Thank you for this one. I say again, I think that this may be the most IMPORTANT song you've ever written.

Track 11 - Change:

Nice sound---the last three seem a trilogy. Lovely....!! Love the lyric too.

It's over. Damn...want it to keep going. OK PAL---you've done it! This is your best ever. James, I feel like I don't ever want this recording to end. Even the science of sequencing the songs is perfect. I almost dare not turn away as I feel as if this recording is brushing the dust off my soul. Oh well---I can always start it again.

 

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