Friday, April 16, 2021

Steve Luthaker - ...and on guitar (1979)

Steven Lee Lukather was born on 21 October 1957 in the San Fernando Valley, California, and from an early age he was playing keyboards and drums, teaching himself how to play the guitar starting at age seven. His father had bought him a Kay acoustic guitar and a copy of 'Meet The Beatles', and it was an album which he later said changed his life, being particularly influenced by the guitar playing of George Harrison. At Grant High School he met David Paich, and the Porcaro brothers Jeff, Steve, and Mike, all of whom eventually became members of Toto, but by the early 70's he became interested in the idea of becoming a session musician, a vocation that provided opportunities to play with a variety of famous artists. Jeff Porcaro had been playing drums with Steely Dan since 1973, and became a mentor to Lukather, furthering his interest in session work. His first job in the music industry was studio work with Boz Scaggs, after which Paich and Jeff Porcaro asked Lukather to join them in forming a band with his brother Steve, Bobby Kimball, and David Hungate, naming themselves Toto, either after the dog in 'The Wizard Of Oz', or according to an urban myth, after writing 'toto' on their demo tapes to distinguish them from other bands, they then adopted the name, as 'in toto'  was Latin for "all-encompassing", referring to the band members playing on so many records and in so many musical genres. During the 70' and 80's Lukather achieved notability as one of the most sought-after session guitarists in Los Angeles, reputedly playing guitar tracks on more than 1500 albums in his 36 years as a session musician. Named by Gibson Guitar Corporation as one of the Top 10 session guitarists of all time, he has performed on many notable tracks, including Earth, Wind & Fire's 'Faces' album, soloing on the tracks 'Back On The Road' and 'You Went Away', two tracks from the Lionel Richie album 'Can't Slow Down', and on 'Richard Marx's 'Repeat Offender', as well recording virtually all of Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' with Jeff Porcaro. With such a massive back-catalogue to choose from, compiling a representative album took quite a while, but in the end I decided just to concentrate of the period between the formation of Toto and the release of their first album, so all of these tracks are from just the two years from 1977 to 1978, with a couple from 1979 to flesh out the second disc. While I was collecting these recordings I noticed that he'd played on quite a lot of sessions for female artists, and in the end it was logical to split them into two discs, one for the guys and one for the gals. Most of the male artists were US singer/songwriters, not always well-known, but generally able to knock out a good song, and so while the original track listing also included songs from Alice Cooper, Peter Criss of KISS, and Japanese songsmith Tahao Kisugi, by excising those songs, it ends up a very cohesive, laid-back singer/songwriter album, so much so that it almost sounds like the work on one artist. The female singers are a more diverse bunch, ranging from Diana Ross and Barbara Streisand to Olivia Newton-John and Helen Reddy, and while he isn't always given the chance of a solo on some of the tracks, his work is nevertheless integral to the song. So enjoy this very small selection of the session-work of Steve Luthaker, amounting to less that 1/50th of his total recorded output.  

Track listing

Disc One: The Guys
01 The War Was Over (from 'Terence Boylan' by Terence Boylan 1977)
02 Brother Of Mine (from 'Heart And Soul' by Danny Peck 1977) 
03 A Clue (from 'Down Two Then Left' by Boz Scaggs 1977)
04 But Love Me (from 'A Song Between Us' by Kenny Nolan 1978)
05 Back In Business (from 'Blue Virgin Isles' by Ted Gärdestad 1978)
06 Let The Fire Burn All Night (from 'Craig Fuller & Eric Kaz' by Craig Fuller & Eric Kaz 1978)
07 Can't Be Seen (from 'Dane Donohue' by Dane Donohue 1978)
08 Fly With Me (from 'Single' by Bill Champlin 1978)
09 Lady Of The Night (from 'A Long Time Coming' by David McCluskey 1978) 
10 Change Of Heart (from 'Touch Me' by Cory Wells 1978)
11 Long Time Till The First Time (from 'Yesterdaydreams' by Brian Cadd 1978)
12 Something's Missing (In My Life) From 'Keeping Time' by Paul Jabara 1978)
13 Sons And Daughters (from 'West Coast Confidential' by Steven T. 1978)

Disc Two: The Gals
01 Top Of The World (from 'Baby It's Me' by Diana Ross 1977)
02 Daydream (from 'Lisa Dal Bello' by Lisa Dal Bello 1977)
03 Love Breakdown (from 'Songbird' by Barbra Streisand 1978)
04 It's The Falling In Love (from '...Too' by Carole Bayer Sager 1978)
05 A Little More Love (from 'Totally Hot' by Olivia Newton-John 1978)
06 One After 909 (from 'We'll Sing In The Sunshine' by Helen Reddy 1978)
07 It's Not Impossible (from 'Well Kept Secret' by Juice Newton 1978)
08 Lady In The Dark (from 'Wild Child' by Valerie Carter 1978) 
09 You're The One (from 'Cheryl Lynn' by Cheryl Lynn 1978)
10 Love Is A Crazy Feeling (from 'Kiki Dee' by Kiki Dee 1978)
11 Think It Over (from 'Dance Forever' by Cheryl Ladd 1978)
12 Get Up (from 'Suspended Animations' by Evie Sands 1979)
13 Git Down (Guitar Groupie) (from 'Take Me Home' by Cher 1979)

For MAC users
Press command+shift+period (to show hidden files) and a grayed out folder '...and on guitar" will appear and the mp3s will be inside. Either drag those to another folder OR rename the folder without any periods at the beginning. Press command+shift+period to once again hide the hidden files.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much. I am looking forward to this one very much.