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Vintage Guitar MagazineDan Forte January 2008

Cry On Cue-"Love + Trust" spinout records Singer/guitarist/keyboardist Bernie Larsen was an original member of David Lindley’s legendary El Rayo-X, and over the years has worked as session musician, road sideman, producer, and engineer with Melissa Etheridge, Jackson Browne, Lucinda Williams, Rickie Lee Jones, Public Enemy, Brian Joens, E.G. Daily, Rosie Flores, Becky Barsdale, Jack Tempchin, Jake La Botz, and Geoff Muldaur, among others. Karl Pitterson is one of the most esteemed figures in the history ofreggae, whose producer/engineer/instrumentalist credits include Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Pablo Moses, Steel Pulse, Burning Spear, Toots & The Maytals, Robert Palmer, and on and on.

For 20 years, Larsen’s solo outlet has been Cry on Cue, which at various times included greats like bassist Phil Chen and keyboardist Ian McLagan, but most recently has been distilled down to Larsen overdubbing most instruments in the studio.  For Love + Trust (Spinout Records), Larsen went to Miami and put himself in the capable hands of Pitterson.  The resultant marriage of these formidable talents does not disappoint.

Instrumentally, Larsen’s strength is rhythm.  The term “rock-steady” could have been invented for him.  But he also adds hooky wah-wah to “Still Remember When” (one of three co-writes with Pitterson in this all-original set), while spare bends perfectly punctuate “Weeping Though Walls.”  Vocally, Larsen’s delivery is soulful, delicate, and tasteful – perfectly suited to his songs of love and loss (including a welcome reprise of “Never Knew Her,” previously covered by Lindley.





John masouri • echoes uk -october 2007

Bernie Larsen is a well-respected session musician from LA, whose love of reggae first found expression during the mid-eighties, when he played in David Lindsey’s band, El Rayo X. Several years later, and he formed Cry On Cue with former members of the Small Faces and King Crimson, as well as musicians more familiar with material by Bob Dylan and Tracy Chapman, than Jamaica’s finest. Somehow, the chemistry worked, and Cry On Cue soon established themselves as a popular live draw, and especially after supporting many well-known reggae acts – the Wailers and Jimmy Cliff included – on tours of the US and Canada.Recordings have remained scarce until now, mainly because Bernie served a three-year stint in Melissa Etheridge’s band, and then moved to Michigan for a while before returning to Los Angeles. It was there he would finally embrace his destiny as a singer/musician steeped in reggae sensibilities, and search out his friend Karl Pitterson. Together, they’ve revived a deceptively lazy style of one-drop that immediately brings to mind early Steel Pulse, and also Island era Bob Marley and the Wailers. This isn’t all that surprising, considering that Karl engineered albums by both these acts during the seventies, in addition to reggae milestones such as Bunny Wailer’s Blackheart Man. The sound he creates here suggests that his powers remain undiminished, and his own studio facilities in Miami, whilst small and unprepossessing by modern-day standards, have just what it takes to make classically sounding reggae music of the old school variety. Bernie’s white boy vocals are honest, voiced without guile, and even reminiscent of UB40’s Ali Campbell’s in places. He’s no great singer in truth, but it’s the songs, the rhythms, arrangements, and overall quality of musicianship that impresses. Every track’s well-written, from the ska-kissed Never Knew Her with its Carly Barrett style drum sound, to the loping Cold, Cold World and swaying, infectious Street Lights On Again. A three-man horn section embellishes most tracks, adding to the album’s authentic, seventies’ reggae feel, and the choice of material’s commendable too, since the lyrics cover a range of different topics, and all sit comfortably with Bernie himself, who makes no pretences, but emits a pleasing, and yet no less committed integrity throughout.

An album for the connoisseurs then, and one they’ll play over and over again, I shouldn’t wonder.




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