Larry Norman – The Tune – 1983

This record was released in 1983. The etching on the lead-out of the vinyl says “The Tune 1977 (c) 1971”. Larry seems to have had his most creative times in the 60s and 70s and struggled for decades after to get the releases out.

If you read various articles written by Larry (including all the liner notes) this matches up with his story. He talks about post-concussion syndrome, although it wasn’t named yet at the time. He got hit with a bag from the overhead compartment on an airplane apparently. After that he couldn’t remember the lyrics to his own songs most of the time, and he says that he forgot stuff that he had written before getting it down.

The story of “The Tune” is like that. He spontaneously started playing a few notes on the piano, then lost the flow and said, “Well, once there was a tune.” He riffed on that for over 20 minutes, live. It was never recorded. He did his best to re-create it in the studio and recorded The Tune.

The Tune is also “Something New Under the Son Part 1.” S.N.U.T.S. part 2 is the one that was well known and although it was recorded in 1977 we finally got to hear it mid-80s. Let That Tape keep Rollin’ and a lot of good blues came from that one.

Side 2 of The Tune has some good tracks that seem to have been lying around the studio. On the back of the album jacket it references the albums they are from. these include Rough Mix, Twenty Five Years, Rehearsal For Reality, Behind the Curtain. These albums never existed, but Larry must have planned to put them together. There are others that I heard or read the names of (from Larry’s own sources) but they never existed. I heard about Rough Mix(1), Rough Mix(2), Ose Enco, Brothers at Last. I tried ordering these from the Phydeaux store and Joe wrote back saying these albums didn’t exist.

I’m grateful for every release we eventually got from Larry’s archives. We heard all of them at least 10 years after they were written and recorded. When I finally realized that, it only added to his genius in my mind. In another Land sounded “old” in the 80s. But it was released in 1976. When was it conceived and written? Who knows.

I noticed today that in the notes for In Another Land, there is a quote from The Tune. At that point The Tune was unreleased. Few if any had heard the material outside of its original ad-hoc performance. Larry clearly had a vision of releasing many things that we will never hear.

FYI the other etchings in the lead-out, aside from the identifier “ARF-99” are “Larry Finch and Charly” “The Solid Rock Street Choir” and “89 is really 99”

Tracklist
1 – The Tune
2 – Country Church, Country People
3 – Swing Low Sweet Chariot
4 – Soul On Fire
5 – If I Got My Ticket

Credits
Drums – Alex McDougall*
Engineer, Mixed By, Bass – Tim Jaquette
Guitar – Jon Linn
Producer, Arranged By, Voice, Guitar, Piano, Synthesizer – Larry Norman

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Scott Toderash

Author: Scott Toderash

One of the founding cowboys of Real 80s CCM. Been listening to this stuff since 1979.

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