Not that you’d recognize him. That show came to an end in 1999, and for his role as a Bajoran deputy, he was wearing heavy prosthetics on his face. Fortunately, that sort of facial extravagance won’t be necessary for his turn at Boulevard.
Born in Philadelphia, Stanley refers to himself as a true renaissance man on his website.
“He has toured consistently since he returned from the USAF (as a Chinese linguist) and has performed up to three hundred dates a year since then, with such diverse acts as Bonnie Raitt, Robin Williams, Nicolette Larson and even Bill Cosby. Steven Wright chose James Lee as his opening act for three years in a row; a testament to his professionalism and talent.”
Since 1973, he’s released eight albums which, while not Beatles-level prolific, is a fine return when considering that he has more than one career. According to his Wikipedia biography:
“Stanley’s first self-titled album on Wooden Nickel was released Jan. 23, 1973 and one month later he had his first booking as a recording artist, opening for Les Paul at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica. Though Stanley had a ten-album contract, he was unhappy with the promotion offered by the label.”
“Publicity campaign?”, Stanley said. “They made three T-shirts, one for me, one for the president of Wooden Nickel and one for his wife. And there was one group ad with Tower Records L.A. in which my album was included. So far as I know, that was it.”
After the release of his sixth album, “Racing to the Moon” in 1984, Stanley founded his own record label, Beachwood Recordings. Again quoting Wikipedia, Stanley said that:
“I wanted to make a recording of music and comedy and all the labels said: ‘Choose one or the other.’ So I chose to start my own label and do just what I do.”
On Saturday, we get to enjoy James Lee Stanley at Boulevard. He has friends in high places, with “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” author Tom Robbins saying of him:
“So where have they been hiding James Lee Stanley? We could say that James Lee Stanley is probably the last great undiscovered singersongwriter in America.
But true as that may be let’s say something else. Let’s say that a diamond has been smuggled into the wasteland… and here is where the wasteland ends.”
James Lee Stanley plays at 8 p.m. on Saturday, September 9 at Boulevard Music; 4316 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City; $15. Visit Boulevard Music for more information.