[Review] Stanley Clarke: Let Me Know You (1982)

Eventually, the many-tentacled monster known as disco sucked in Stanley Clarke, resulting in this album.

Kronomyth 9.0: Let me know when it’s over.

This is one book you can judge by its cover. Let Me Know You is Stanley Clarke’s first full-time foray into disco music, and while the Chick Corea-styled costume changes have been interesting to date, not so Know. To his credit, Clarke does a very passable job of singing these songs, it’s just a shame he didn’t give himself something better to sing. For example: “My girl, sophisticated is her name / Woh-oh-oh / Yea! She’s a lady.” That’s from the opening song, “Straight To The Top,” and it’s downhill from there.

With its undercurrent of funk, LMKY sometimes sounds like an imitation of Prince, but you won’t find anything revolutionary at work here. Only the closing “New York City” (which namechecks Miles Davis) reflects the mind of a serious artist; otherwise, Clarke seems content to throw his hat into the romantic R&B ring without so much as a passing nod to his old jazz-rock roots. As with Herbie Hancock and other jazz artists in the 80s, Clarke’s disco is a cut above the competition in terms of musicianship. Carlos Santana (who appeared on Hancock’s equally misshapen Monster) kicks in a quick pair of guitar solos, while Denzil Miller leads a large cast that includes some familiar faces (Leon “Ndugu” Chancler, Paulinho Da Costa, Marcy Levy, Greg Phillinganes).

Perhaps you see disco as a legitimate medium for music (and I’m not saying you shouldn’t), in which case Clarke serves it up medium well on Let Me Know You. If, however, disco doesn’t ring your bell, you can wait to make the acquaintance of this album until some dull and distant day.

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Original elpee version

A1. Straight To The Top (4:02)
A2. Let Me Know You (4:38)
A3. You Are The One For Me (Stanley Clarke/June Christopher) (4:49)
A4. I Just Want To Be Your Brother (3:13)
B1. The Force of Love (5:48)
B2. Play The Bass (1:14)
B3. Secret To My Heart (Todd Cochran) (5:05)
B4. New York City (5:44)

All titles by Stanley Clarke unless noted.

The Players

Stanley Clarke (bass, guitar, vocals, piccolo bass, electric bass, tenor bass, sitar, Roland bass synthesizer, arrangements), Paulinho Da Costa (drums, percussion), Denzil “Broadway” Miller (acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes, Moog synthesizer, Mini-Moog synthesizer) with Leon “Ndugu” Chancler (drums), Eduardo del Barrio (brass conductor), George del Barrio (string conductor, string & brass arrangements), Steve Ferrone (drums on 3 and 8), Steve Forman (percussion on 4), David Lasley (background vocals), Steven Lederman (additional vocal effects on 8), Marcy Levy (background vocals), Darlene Love (background vocals), Roger Lynn (drums on 1), Gordon Peeke (drums on 1), Greg Phillinganes (Fender Rhodes), Carlos Santana (guitar solo on 1 and 4), Rick Schlosser (drums on 2 and 4), Michael Sembello (guitar), [Paul Shure, Farry Bluestone, Andre Grand, Vicky Sylvester, Nathan Ross, Iikka Talvi, Nathan Kaproff, Charles Veal, Joy Lyle, Daniel Shindaryor, Alfred C. Brewning, Gordon H. Marron, Tibor Zelig] (violins), [Armand Kaproff, Douglas L. Davis, Paula Hochalter, Earl S. Madison] (cellos), [Janet Lakatos, Allan Harshman, Sampel Boghossian, Rollice E. Dale, Roland Kato, Joel Soultanian] (violas), Dorothy Remsen (harp), [Jerry Hey, Larry G. Hall, Gary E. Grant, Charles B. Findley] (trumpets), [Don Menza, James R. Horn, Gary Herbig, Ernest J. Watts] (woodwinds), [Charles C. Loper, G. Bohanon, Lew McCreary, Dick Hyde] (trombones). Produced by Stanley Clarke; engineered by Eric Zobler.

The Pictures

Original costume design by Diana Venegas. Reprographics by CLE Print.

The Plastic

Released on elpee and cassette in July 1982* in the US (Epic, FE/FET-38086), the UK and the Netherlands (Epic, EPC-85846) and Japan (Epic, 25.3P-372); reached #114 on the US charts and #7 on the US Jazz charts. Regional elpee versions feature lyrics innersleeve. (*First mentioned in 7/31/82 issue of Billboard.)

  1. Repackaged with Rocks, Pebbles and Sand on remastered compact disc on July 27, 2010 in the UK (Beat Goes On, BGOCD-924).

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