1978's Cabin Fever is one of the most interesting albums in the Michael Stanley Band catalog due to the circumstances of its recording and the music contained within. It was MSB's first release on Arista Records and it was produced by up-and-comer Robert John "Mutt" Lange, who would helm AC/DC's Highway to Hell the next year and quickly become one of the most important and successful producers of the 1980s and beyond. Originally, Bob Ezrin was supposed to produce the album, but Stanley isn't sure why that plan fell apart. Cabin Fever was recorded in Wales and England and Stanley remembers plastering the control room with photos of Blondie's Debbie Harry and sharing Trident Studios with Genesis in London. Gary Markasky replaced Jonah Koslen as lead guitarist, and it was the first studio album for keyboardist Bob Pelander, but the last album for bassist Daniel Pecchio. "Baby if You Wanna Dance" is the appropriately boisterous opening track. "Long Time (Looking for a Dream)" is a gentle pop ballad and the string section was directed by Electric Light Orchestra arranger Lou Clark. "Misery Loves Company" rocks along with an upbeat sound despite depressing lyrics. The piano-based ballad "Why Should Love Be This Way" is pleasant, but its creation was a bit convoluted as Stanley explains in the Razor & Tie CD reissue liner notes. Arista boss Clive Davis didn't like the original version, so MSB re-recorded the lead vocals and piano and remixed it; Lange, Davis, and Rick Chertoff are credited as co-producers. The original version is included as a bonus track on the Razor & Tie CD. "Slip Away" includes bright rhythm guitar and strong all-around vocals. The off-kilter beat of "Only a Dreamer" features a complex arrangement and nice organ and guitar work.
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AllMusic Review by Bret Adams