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The Eternal Contradiction

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Album Review

James Lee Stanley is known primarily for his duo work with Peter Tork in the '90s (and beyond) and a spate of RCA solo albums in the early '70s. At a lower profile, he has also had a prolific run of solo albums on Beachwood since the early '80s. Stanley's music is heavily acoustic on The Eternal Contradiction; it is a sort of jazzy folk-rock lite with Stanley's resonant, Richie Havens-like singing atop it. This album has a chance to score well with some in the elder baby-boomer set, but doesn't have much of a chance beyond the "grey ghetto" of yuppie bohemianism. There is a hyper-sentimental, nearly saccharine slant to a lot of the expression here that, while appealing to a specific market, will be prohibitive to most. (An illustrative Stanley refrain, from the song "Change": "What will it take for you and me to follow the path/And find the key to live here in peace eternally.") "The Street Where Mercy Died" has a Gordon Lightfoot vibe to it, while the slinky, bluesy "Nothing to Keep You on My Mind" has a more limber feel that casts Stanley in a much more appealing, rootsy vein. Despite its acoustic format, the song has a strong, edgy drive that makes it a standout and highlight here. "This Fleeting Moment" returns Stanley to the plaintive, clichéd land of sentimentality. Nevertheless, this is a skillfully played and arranged album.


Born: 30 April 1946 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

James Lee Stanley became known to Monkees fans in the mid-'90s when the Two Man Band album was released, a project involving him and ex-Monkee Peter Tork. Born in Philadelphia on April 30, 1946, Stanley first met Tork at a Virginia club in 1963 and moved to New York City four years later, becoming involved in the city's folk scene. He spent time in the Air Force during the late '60s and early '70s, and studied music at Cal State-Northridge after his discharge. Upon graduation, Stanley began working...
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The Eternal Contradiction, James Lee Stanley
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