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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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LARRY CARLTON

Then and Now

335 Records 335-1207

 

 


CD1

1. Room 335

2. Nite Crawler

3. Point It Up

4. Rio Samba

5. Don't Give It Up

6. (It Was) Only Yesterday

7. Last Night

8. Song for Katie

9. Sleepwalk

10. 10pm

11. For Love Alone

12. Strikes Twice

13. Springville

14. Mulberry Street

CD2

1. I´m a Fool

2. Mellow Out

3. Tight Squeeze

4. I´m Home

5. Rio Samba

6. (It Was) Only Yesterday

7. Point It Up

CD3

1. Room 335

2. Nite Crawler

3. Point It Up

4. Rio Samba

5. Don't Give It Up

6. (It Was) Only Yesterday

7. Last Night

8. Song for Katie

9. Sleepwalk

10. 10pm

11. For Love Alone

12. Strikes Twice

13. Springville

14. Mulberry Street

If he was a rock star, you could call Larry Carlton a guitar hero. But since he has played with such jazz groups as the Crusaders, L.A. Express and Steely Dan, as well as accompanying everyone from Joni Mitchell to Andy Williams, we will just call him an extremely talented and versatile guitarist.

This triple CD is a sort of retrospective sample of his career. The first CD contains some of his most successful recordings taken from three different albums: the first six tracks come from Larry Carlton (1978); tracks 7 to 10 are taken from Sleepwalk (1982); and the last four are from Strikes Twice (1980). Larry composed all the tracks except for the title-track of Sleepwalk.

The second CD is the 1979 album Mr 335 Live in Japan, previously only released in Japan. The third CD comprises new versions of the tracks from the first CD, recorded by Larry on electric and acoustic guitars with some percussion. Are you still with me?

Information about the individual tracks is hard to ascertain, because the sleeve-notes are printed in minuscule type behind the plastic that holds each disc - and I can't see any personnel listings. If Room 335 reminds you of Steely Dan's Peg, this is not surprising, as Larry Carlton played on that recording. It was one of Steely Dan's most memorable tunes, so it makes a good start and gives Larry a useful melody on which to base his revised version.

Having the same tunes on the third CD enables listeners to compare the old interpretations with the new. On Room 335 and several other tracks, the impression is that Larry has calmed down a bit over the years - a perception that is strenghtened by the extrovert second CD, which captured Carlton's band showing off in front of an audience. Most of the tunes here are hot and heavy: jazz fusion with emphasis on the rocky side of the genre. The exceptions are I'm Home (composed by Greg Mathieson: the only tune not written by Carlton) and (It Was) Only Yesterday. I'm Home is a poignant piece which makes a moving contrast to the forceful parts of the concert. And (It Was) Only Yesterday illustrates the singing quality that Carlton could coax from a guitar.

As I have already suggested, the third CD reveals a quieter, calmer Carlton. Rio Samba, which also appeared on the Japan album, is a good example, as Larry suggests a Latin rhythm simply through the use of overdubbed guitars with an acoustic feel.

By the way, the last of the three CDs has also been released separately under the title Four Hands and a Heart, Volume One (335 Records 333-1209). But Carlton fans will want to get their hands on the Then and Now set, especially for the rare live Japan album.

Tony Augarde

www.augardebooks.co.uk



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