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Articles Home » 1982 Articles » Carlton, Larry - 1982 Sleepwalk
Carlton, Larry - 1982 Sleepwalk

ARTIST: Carlton, Larry
ALBUM: Sleepwalk
LABEL: Warner Bros
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: Warner Bros, 7599-23635-2


LINEUP: Larry Carlton - guitar, string arrangements

Guests: Terry Trotter - fender rhodes, keyboards * Don Freeman - fender rhodes, keyboards, wurlitzer * Brian Mann - keyboards, moog synthesizer, synthesizer * Greg Mathieson - fender rhodes, keyboards, organ, piano * Joe Sample - keyboards * Abraham Laboriel, Sr, Robert 'Pops' Popwell - bass * Paulinho Da Costa - percussion * Jeff Porcaro, Steve Gadd, John Ferraro - drums * Carlos Rios - rhythm guitar * Assa Drori - concert master * Michael Brecker - horn, saxophone * David Sanborn - saxophone

TRACK LISTING: 01 Last Nite * 02 Blues Bird * 03 Song For Katie * 04 Frenchman's Flat * 05 Sleepwalk * 06 Upper Kern * 07 10.00pm * 08 You Gotta Get It While You Can


Despite being bought up in an age of hard rock, I still found time to listen to other genres. During the early 80s I went through a big jazz phase. Artists such as George Benson, Al Jarreau, Michael Franks, The Crusaders, Eark Klugh and Chuck Mangione all spent time in my record collection. However there was one guy who was a particular favourite and that was jazz guitar legend Larry Carlton. All of his early solo releases on Warner Bros are all collectibles in my opinion. 1982's 'Sleepwalk' is the fourth of those. A quite melodic LP which has appeal across several genres. Ranging from urban styles to the more expansive west coast sub genre, Carlton let's his expressive E335 Gibson do the talking. 'Sleepwalk' is an instrumental album, which forgoes any vocals heard on Carlton's previous three WB albums, which for some is a good thing while others may disagree about Larry's vocal merits.

The Songs
I like the funky rumbling of 'Last Nite', which sets the scene with a night-time styled drive. Carlton's very sexy guitar lines ad the rhodes keyboard work has got undercover lover written all over it. 'Blues Bird' is a very cool track, in the style of a TV show theme. No doubt I'm thinking 'Hill Street Blues', but you get the general idea when listening to this. The synths do spice things up, sort of like James Newton-Howard letting loose on the ivories. 'Song For Katie' is probably the most pleasant song here; it's sunny disposition shining a light all round, while 'Frenchmans Flat' is the most musical song, with lots of chops and energetic phases. It starts out with a Toto like progression, and undulates throughout without letting go of the reins. You could say this is a Toto instrumental without Toto being in attendance.. with the exception of Jeff Porcaro! The title track 'Sleepwalk' is exquisite to say the least. Understated but with the ability to get into your head with its simplicity and tender tempo. 'Upper Kern' is very much the large city urban jazz offering. Sort of New York vibe, with a hint of dark drama. 10.00pm is the ultimate night stroll song. You can feel the cold air upon your breath as you skip from street light to street light. Very moody indeed. 'You Gotta Get It While You Can' is similar in style to the tracks off the first album. There's a neat solo on this one which sounds like an electric piano played in a guitar style!

In Summary
Larry would do well with his version of the Santo and Johnny Farina title track 'Sleepwalk' (originally recorded in 1959), which would venture up the AC charts. Warner Bros would release two more albums: 'Eight Times Up' (a compilation), plus a 1983 set called 'Friends' which got nominated for a grammy. Carlton would move to MCA (who also released the 'Friends' LP in 1983) and would remain there for most of the 80's decade. In the current-day, there is a lot to Larry's back-catalogue, and you'd be doing well to explore most of it; but the stuff between 1978 and 1983 are definite keepers.

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