No Substitutions

Larry Carlton - No Substitutions“Like 1990s guitar wonder-bands such as Los Lobotomys, Karizma, and L.A. Guitar Workshop, this live club recording from two session-masters is a lesson in controlled thuggery. Carlton has played some of the greatest electric solos ever, gunslinging for everyone from Joni Mitchell and The Crusaders to Steely Dan (“Kid Charlemagne”) and LA Express. Ex-Toto axe-king Lukather made his name stoking the mega-rock flames, but has also plied his pick to recordings by Patti Austin, Herb Alpert, Chet Atkins, and America.

That fusion has fallen on hard times doesn’t deter these two from giving their all in five numbers that display equal moments of bombast, artistry, and occasionally, brilliance. With drummer Greg Bissonette, bassist Chris Kent, and keyboardist Rick Jackson, the band kicks off with the testosterone-addled thump of “The Pump,” which initially recalls some escapees from Def Leppard until they settle into a mellow, grand groove and a web of coiled solos. Lukather is more at home in this kind of shredding setting, but that gives Carlton plenty of space to do the lyrical, sensitive-guy thing, while both spin walls of heavy sound on the bruising shuffle, “Don’t Give It Up.” A reggae-ized “All Blues” sounds a bit street-worn, but then Carlton enters in an understated Jim Hall tone that transforms the song until a schizophrenic speed demon takes over and momentarily kills the intimate vibe. Though No Substitutions will be mostly be gobbled up by guitarists and latent fusion heads, it could also add fire to any listener desiring rocking music to play with the windows rolled down.” – Ken Micallef

Track Listing:
1. The Pump
2. Don’t Give It Up
3. (It Was) Only Yesterday
4. All Blues
5. Room 335

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