Album Review of
With A Little Help From My Friends / Singing Playing

Written by Robert Silverstein
April 5, 2020 - 12:12am EDT
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All jazz guitar fans know the name Larry Carlton. For years, rated among the top guitarists in 20th century jazz, Carlton gained acclaim in the early '70s as guitarist in The Crusaders, yet he's always managed to release great new and reissue albums over the past five decades. Leave it to the reissue CD kings of BGO in merry old England, as they have released a nicely packaged 2 albums on 1 CD combining Larry's first two solo albums with 18 tracks in total. Larry's 1968 debut, named after the great Beatles classic, With A Little Help From My Friends features ten guitar instrumental covers of classics from the day, encompassing covers of hits like "Eleanor Rigby", "MacArthur Park" and even an instrumental cover of "Don't You Care", the Buckinghams top 40 pop smash from that same period of music history, to name a few. Guitar fans will  note that Wes Montgomery influences abound on this '68 classic yet there's already a stamp of Carlton's originality. Hardly noticed during that heady year of 1973, Larry's second album was called Singing / Playing and it features an  entertaining mix of guitar based fusion instrumentals and also, more surprisingly several tracks featuring Larry on lead vocals that sound influenced by Eric Clapton's style. Great to hear this for the first time 50+ years later and BGO has done a great job on this 2020 reissue, which also features history-filled liner notes by Charles Waring.