fans looking to hear more from this legend’s
acoustic side are in for quite a surprise. Fire
Wire should refer to the electric
guitar he plays throughout. Larry gets back to his roots
and rocks out with full band complete with horn section.
The chords are heavy and thick throughout most of this one,
and there’s very little semblance to anything he’s
done with Fourplay.
“Inkblot” jumps right out at you with driving bass and drums while
Carlton brings in the guitar to keep this one moving right along. The horn
section adds a lot of nice touches of punch to the chorus and Michael Rhodes
bass is a key player. He’s also featured somewhat on “Double Cross.” The
beat is slowed and more deliberate. Carlton’s solos soar and are a great
contrast to the staple of bass and drums. “Naked Truth” is somewhat
reverent in its initial approach with haunting guitar from Carlton. “Big
Trouble” means big guitar. This is wall-to-wall Carlton which is quite
different than anything you’ve heard from him in a long time. Matt Chamberlain
keeps this one pushing with the constant drums, and Larry’s guitar licks
show why he’s one of the all-time best in his profession. It’s
heavy-laden and finishes up just that way. It makes for a sharp contrast to “Goodbye,” a
soft muted piece. The distant trumpet gives way to long, soft chords and brushes
on the snare.
A heavy funked bass and keyboard lend way to Carlton’s
electric on “Dirty Donna’s House Party.” The
horn section is back on board for more punctuation. Carlton
gets lost in the solos before coming back in again for the
chorus. This is going to be a great one live. “The
Prince” starts a little off kilter with a lot of syncopated
rhythms with added splashes of Carlton’s guitar. The
keyboard steals the show in places and keeps at bay with
the horn section in hot pursuit. All three team up for a
great finish down the wire, and this one cooks all the way
to the end. “Sunrise” is a nice laid-back contrast
that features more of Jeff Babko’s keyboards and a
more acoustic sound from Carlton. “Mean Street” finishes
the disc with another funked cut that takes everyone out
for the finale. The chorus is powerful and addictive while
everyone pushes for the ultimate goal. Carlton’s sound
is somewhat different with a “whah” approach
to his playing.
This is different than the last few releases from Larry Carlton.
I’m sure many of you will enjoy hearing the electric
side from this guitar great, and the band he incorporates
adds nice touches throughout. There’s enough contrast
and style variation between cuts to keep this one lively
and a real Fire Wire.
- Harvey Cline