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The Lukathscore: Christopher Cross "All Right"

The Lukathscore: Christopher Cross "All Right"

by Sam Tonning

Recorded in 1982 in Los Angeles, Austin and Aspen and released in 1983, the album Another Page was Christopher Cross’ follow up to the successful Christopher Cross (1979). Produced by Michael Omartian, the whole thrust of the record is to tell the world that it’s "All Right." It certainly thrusts.

Steve Lukather is credited as the guitarist on this track, and you can hear it. There’s no soft acoustic strumming in the background. It’s just big, distorted 1959 Les Paul all over the place.

Applying "All Right" to the six Lukathscore strings reveals a solid song that’s better with Luke than without.

Let's chalk up the "99s."

RAW SEXUALITY
All the guitar tracks on this recording are indeed fully engorged. If they got any harder, Steve would have been found passed out in Warner Brothers Studio due to lack of blood to the brain. Without a doubt, he released all over this cut.

  • 1 "99"

STRING HEAT
The ten bar solo is quintessential Lukather. Starting low, jumping up a few steps, compound triplets, string bends and an understanding for theory… This is a tasteful and perfect solo for what it was given, which was about half as long as it should have been.

The solo was so memorable that Christopher Cross plays it note for note on live versions.

  • ¾ "99"

BLOW ME
Did Steve blow the roof of the mother fucker? It sounds like he came in, laid killer rhythm tracks in a couple of takes (sweeping guitar sounds? Check. Light single string picking work? Check.) and nailed the solo in one take. If pure ability to get in, do the job and leave in as little time as possible isn’t the goal of hard-cocked Yacht, I don’t know what is.

  • 1 "99"

SUBTRACTION
Another Page offers a perfect comparison built in, with "Deal ‘Em Again" featuring Jay Graydon on guitar. This story of a degenerate problem gambler has a fantastic short solo by Jay, but it would seem out of place stylistically on All Right.

Jay is a technical player, but is so much smoother than Steve. While Steve will play a series of notes individually to maximal crunch effect, Jay never misses legato day.

All Right is a tough song of redemption and growth. A softer solo wouldn’t play as well. As such, Steve is the man for the job.

  • 1 "99"

TOTIMPACT
Steve’s guitar playing is essential Toto IV, which was released in the year "All Right" was recorded and was gearing up to win 47 GRAMMYs. The next Toto release was Isolation, which was recorded 1983 and released in 1984.

Isolation signaled a shift in Toto. Out with old man Bobby Kimball and in with Fergie Frederiksen. Out with the Les Paul and in with the Super Strat (with more compression than my grandmother’s socks).

The technical virtuosity is there, but songwriting changed. Production changed. The impact of "All Right" on Toto is not there, alright.

  • 0 "99"

HAIR
You can tell Steve’s growing up but hasn’t lost his boyish charm.  This is a hairstyle nobody should be embarrassed about.

  • 1 "99"

To summarize:

  • RAW SEXUALITY    1 "99"
  • STRING HEAT        ¾ "99"
  • BLOW ME               1 "99"
  • SUBTRACTION       1 "99"
  • TOTIMPACT             0 "99"
  • HAIR                         1 "99"

LUKATHSCORE:        4 ¾ "99s" (out of 6)

Not a bad way to start, Luke.

 

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