James Lee Stanley History:
I have personally sold over sixty thousand lps, cassettes and cd's myself, thru mail order and live performance, with a few thrown in from national distribution. Now I am beginning to focus more on downloading, the new and soon most viable form.
The All Wood and Stones CD that I released with John Batdorf was hailed as one of the Best CD's of the Year by XM Radio and is receiving airplay on six different XM stations even as you read this.
The latest JLS CD, the Eternal Contradiction was released in late June 2007. Afterwhich, all future recordings will probably be available only as downloads. I also have released CD's on Laurence Juber (his first two recordings), Chris Bennett, Hamilton Camp, Thom Bishop, Tom Paxton, and several soundtracks to forgettable films.
I've shared the stage with Stephen Stills, Robin Williams, Chicago, Bonnie Raitt, Bill Cosby, Steven Wright, Nicolette Larson, Poco, Dionne Warwick, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Sandra Bernhardt, Robin Trower, the Dixie Dregs, Chick Corea, Freddie Hubbard, Ramsey Lewis, Jeff Lorber, Cecilio and Kapono, Michael Smith, John Hiatt, Corky Siegel, Tom Dundee, Batdorf&Rodney, Tom Paxton, Mary Travers, John Prine, Commander Cody, Peter Tork, Phil Collins, Art garfunkel, David Crosby, Leo Kottke, and John Batdorf. And maybe a hundred others too numerous to mention.
I endorse Taylor Guitars, Elixir Strings, and also play a Collings D2H, a Martin D-28H and was a beta tester for Alesis for three years. (After my 1968 D-28 and 1966 D-18 were stolen from my car in NYC in 1980, I picked up a Washburn electric/acoustic and used that for thirteen years. I used a James Demeter preamp in the chain and it always sounded great. Nothing like an expensive preamp).
I have produced recordings by Peter Tork of the Monkees, Mike Pinder of the Moody Blues, Tom Dundee, Michael Smith, Nicolette Larson, Hamilton Camp, James Durst, Sharon Abreu, Thom Bishop, Pamala Stanley and many others.
I composed, arranged and performed all the music on all three Emmy Award winning prime time Cathy Specials for CBS, the Ace Award winning Tom Parks Comedy Special for HBO, as well as the award winning Tom Parks Diabetes Video.
I wrote the top five song, Coming Out of Hiding, and have charted every album I ever tried to, including the Envoy, which the Mac Report hailed as a classic and was listed in the Top 100 for Airplay in 1993. Keep in mind that radio activity is no guarantee of sales and it does cost a lot. I'll talk about that in the radio column. I've had songs recorded by Nancy Sinatra, Pamala Stanley, and many lesser known, but supremely talented folks.
My Freelance Human Being CD was also hailed as a masterpiece and the Best Recording of 1999 by Fi Magazine, which also listed it among the Top 200 CD's of all time the following year in the company of the Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis, Pink Floyd and a hundred and ninety five others.
The Official James Lee Stanley Website has all kinds of info, including the other nineteen recordings by me, if you're still curious. And I am only listing all of this because I wanted to demonstrate that I have had enough experience to possibly offer you all something that might help and give you a short cut or two on the long road home.
My beginnings were more humble, but if you are just starting out, you can see that we all start out mostly the same. I was singing and performing by the time I was 8, belting out the banana boat song by harry belafonte on the school stage, as I banged away on a quaker oats container I had disguised as a bongo drum.
I starred as davy crockett, in the third grade school play.
Sang in the chorus from the third grade on and started playing clarinet in the fourth grade.
Picked up the ukelele in the fifth grade and the guitar in the eigth grade.
Starred in the high school shows, had a recording contract with LeGrand records (Gary US Bonds, Jimmie Soul) by 16 and had my own night club (the folk ghetto, 213 freemason st, norfolk, va) by 17.
Then life interrupted the dream: During the Vietnam War, I spent three years, three months and 18 days in the USAF (but who's counting?), worked as a chinese linguist and company clerk for the Base Civil Engineer, building the air base Ching Chuan Kang in Taichung, Taiwan.
Then back to civilian life in the good old USA, music major at LACC and Cal State, president of the honor society, winner of the composer's contest and the speech contest, outstanding student of the semester, 3.8 avg. (and it would have been 4.0 but the guy in the copying class was a dick and gave me the only c I ever got in college.
(I must digress here. His name was Mr McDonald and he didn't give me credit for 100 pieces of work I handed in because I didn't hand them in a second time) the copied pieces were also the lead sheets of my songs, and hand to be delivered to my publisher, Bones Howe, the producer of the Fifth Dimension, the Turtles, Tom Waits, and the Association in order for me to be paid for them. At the end of the semester he decided he wanted to see all the sheets we'd copied once again, even tho he'd seen them and graded us on each one. All of mine were at the publishing house in New York and there were no faxes then. I couldn't get them in time. I had the last ten I had done. His grading scale was turn in ten pages for a C, fifteen pages for a B and twenty five pages for an A. So he gave me my only C. I still get annoyed when I think about that--okay, enough bitching).
I then secured a publishing contract with Edwin H Morris Publishing for three years, met, befriended (evidently for life) and collaborated with Stephen Bishop (On and On)
I secured a second recording contract with Wooden Nickel/RCA thru the auspices of Jonnie Barnett and Jim Golden (Wooden Nickel President) and made three albums for them recording the first song ever recorded by Stephen Bishop; the first pignose amp used on a recording; the first electric stick used on a commercial recording and it was played by the inventor, Emmett Chapman). Then a fourth album for Regency/MCA and after that, I took it upon myself to be my own record label, releasing 23 albums of James Lee Stanley music and several duet cd's with Michael Smith, John Batdorf, and Peter Tork. The website has the details on all these recordings.