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The Larry Carlton Collection

Larry Carlton is a big name for fans of session guitarist and jazz fusion in particular, but most followers of pop will have heard him play.

Perhaps Carlton”s most famous piece music is the guitar on Mike Post”s Theme of Hill Street Blues (or, perhaps, on the theme of Magnum P.I., another Post composition). Carlton made his name as a session in the areas of rock (Steely Dan), pop (Fifth Dimension), soul (Randy Crawford), jazz fusion (Crusaders), folk (Joni Mitchell), country (Dolly Parton), easy listening (Sammy Davis Jr) and so on. He appeared on hundreds of records, many of which previous Session Players in this series appeared on.

A case in point is the Casino Lights recording of Randy Crawford and Al Jarreau singing Your Precious Love, which features Ricky Lawson on drums, while Bernard Purdie drums on Steely Dan’s Kid Charlemagne. B.W. Stephenson’s recording of Shambala features Jim Gordon on drums, as does Joan Baez’s Blue Sky (which Carlton also arranged and plays acoustic guitar on), and on Thelma Houston it’s either Gordon or Jim Keltner doing the stickwork. On the title track of Steely Dan’s Aja, he plays alongside Steve Gadd (as featured on The Steve Gadd Collection Vol.3). And while Carlton does guitar duty on Michael Jackson’s She’s Out Of My Life, Louis Johnson is playing the bass.

Carlton’s guitar solo on Kid Charlemagne was voted #80 in the 100 greatest guitar solos of all time. I really like the solo in Cristopher Cross’ Never Be The Same, as it is with the solo on Your Precious Love. But my favourite Carlton moment is when the band comes in after Wilton Felder’s absurdly long note on the Crusaders’ So Far Away, a musical orgasm led by Carlton’s guitar.

Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen said: “He’s a real virtuoso. In my opinion he can get around his instrument better than any studio guitarist.” Carlton played for Steely Dan on Katy Lied, The Royal Scam, Aja and Gaucho, as well as on Fagen”s solo debut The Nightfly.

On top of that Carlton was a member of the Crusaders and Fourplay, and recorded a bunch of solo albums.

As always, CD-R length, home-picked covers, PW in comments.

1. Mike Post feat. Larry Carlton – Theme from Hill Street Blues (1981)
2. Megan McDonough – Guitar Picker (1972)
3. B.W. Stevenson – Shambala (1973)
4. Christopher Cross – Never Be The Same (1979)
5. Linda Ronstadt – Sail Away (1973)
6. Al Jarreau & Randy Crawford – Your Precious Love (1982)
7. Marlena Shaw – Feel Like Makin’ Love (1975)
8. Michael Franks – The Lady Wants To Know (1977)
9. Paulinho da Costa – Dreamflow (1979)
10. Crusaders – So Far Away (live) (1974)
11. Steely Dan – Kid Charlemagne (1976)
12. Joni Mitchell – Edith And The Kingpin (1975)
13. Dusty Springfield – Who Gets Your Love (1973)
14. Lobo – My Momma Had Soul (1973)
15. Johnny Lee – Lookin’ For Love (1980)
16. Joan Baez – Blue Sky (1975)
17. Greenfield – New York Is Closed Tonight (1973)
18. Four Tops – Ain’t No Woman (Like The One I’ve Got) (1972)
19. Thelma Houston & Pressure Cooker – To Know You Is To Love You (1975)
20. Larry Carlton – Blues Bird (1981)


Previous Session Musicians:
The Roy Bittan Collection
The Larry Carlton Collection
The Hal Blaine Collection Vol. 1
The Hal Blaine Collection Vol. 2
The Steve Gadd Collection Vol. 1
The Steve Gadd Collection Vol. 2
The Steve Gadd Collection Vol. 3
The Jim Gordon Collection Vol. 1
The Jim Gordon Collection Vol. 2
The Bobby Graham Collection
The Louis Johnson Collection
The Jim Keltner Collection Vol. 1
The Jim Keltner Collection Vol. 2
The Bobby Keys Collection
The Ricky Lawson Collection Vol. 1
The Ricky Lawson Collection Vol. 2
The Joe Osborne Collection
The Bernard Purdie Collection Vol. 1
The Bernard Purdie Collection Vol. 2
The Ringo Starr Collection


Categories: Mix CD-Rs, Session Players Tags:
  1. halfhearteddude
    May 10th, 2018 at 12:05 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Rhodb
    May 11th, 2018 at 22:37 | #2

    Thanks for the Larry Carlton

    I really enjoy the Collection series



  3. May 17th, 2018 at 13:06 | #3

    You rock dude. So nice that another blogger is still active out here.

  4. halfhearteddude
    May 17th, 2018 at 19:47 | #4

    Ah thanks. It gets a lot quieter out here in music blog land.

  5. YearOfGlad
    July 14th, 2018 at 05:31 | #5

    This collection is great. Listening to it, It struck me that Carlton is just like the stuff described in Kid Charlemagne:

    …just by chance you crossed a diamond with a pearl….

    Oh, and coincidentally, I was listening to a Lyle Lovett show from 1989 (the Roxy, W Hollywood, March 1989, got it from a v o o d o o source ), and Larry Carlton is specifically introduced near the end. Whether he came on for a couple sonhs or was sitting in the whole show is not clear. Any info about this would be welcome.

    Thanks for all your great music!


  6. YearOfGlad
    July 15th, 2018 at 06:25 | #6

    Listening to this, it struck me that LC is exactly like the stuff they were selling in “Kid Charlemagne”

    “…just by chance you crossed a diamond with a pearl…”

    By coincidence, I was listening to a Lyle Lovett show from 1989, and “Larry Carlton” was distinctly introduced near the end of the broadcast. No idea if it was for a couple songs, or if he played the whole show. Any info on this would be interesting.

    Thanks for all the great music,


  7. simonthecat
    August 31st, 2018 at 14:56 | #7

    Man, any chance of a re-up on this one? just found your blog and it’s a pretty amazing site!

  8. halfhearteddude
    August 31st, 2018 at 23:20 | #8


    Also back up. Plus many others you might have found dead. There was a cull of links a couple of days ago.

  9. Jay Seid
    October 16th, 2019 at 20:29 | #9

    Is there any way to get a re-up of this awesome collection?

  10. halfhearteddude
    October 18th, 2019 at 13:05 | #10

    Sure. Re-upped!

  11. Jay D Seid
    October 22nd, 2019 at 19:58 | #11

    Thanks so much!!!!!

  12. anders
    May 6th, 2022 at 15:29 | #12

    Wow. Brilliant site. Would you please re-up this Larry Carlton collection?

  13. amdwhah
    May 7th, 2022 at 10:56 | #13


    Thank you. It’s back up now.

  14. anders
    May 7th, 2022 at 18:46 | #14

    Thank you. What a great musician.

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