Larry Norman – Rebel Poet, Jukebox Balladeer: Anthology – 2008

This double album was released on vinyl shortly after Larry’s death in 2008. I have a lot of different anthologies that he released over the years. White Blossoms from Black Roots being one of the ones that was meant to be career-spanning at the time. This one includes his real mainstays, the songs he became known for, and probably the ones that were his favourites.

It’s pressed on heavy vinyl and I’ve only played my copy a few times. I remember discovering each one of these songs decades ago, and I think that’s the point of the collection.

This would have been the last thing Larry worked on before he died. Larry wrote short descriptions for each song on this record in September of 2007. They are included in the liner notes pictured, check out the photo.

The opening track is the version of I Love You from his time with the band People!. The recording sounds a little 1969 because it is. This was a radio single at the time and would have been released under Columbia Records. After that, Larry struggled with releasing his music on his own with complete control, and there is probably a lot that we will never hear.

True to LN fashion, the back of the jacket lists 5 tracks on each side of disc 1, but there are 4 on side A and 6 on side B. The same thing happened on disc 2. Ha Ha World is listed as the last song on side A but it is actually the first song on side B. At least the record labels are correct. Not a big deal, but the details always seemed to be a killer at SR Studio.

The lead-out etching on side 1 of disc 1 says “Death is conquered while you slumber.” This is an obvious homage to Larry’s passing. He used that phrase many years earlier in liner notes and it seemed to come up here and there. The other half of the rhyme is “Seven is the perfect number,” which is etched in side 2 of disc 1.

The 20 songs in this collection come from only 6 different albums, and 6 tracks are from Only Visiting This Planet, and 5 are from In Another Land. Larry obviously considered this to be his core work.

The etching on side 3 says “quasioxymoron: numbers don’t count.” This is a riddle we saw in the liner notes of Something New Under the Son. We have our guesses about it but no official sources ever answered any questions about Larry’s most cryptic notes.

Side 4’s etching says “Only Visiting This Planet Larry Norman (1947-2008)” Fitting. And the 7 is backwards.

Track Listing:
1 – I Love You
2 – I’ve Got To Learn To Live Without You
3 – I Am The Six O’Clock News
4 – The Great American Novel
5 – Moses: A Blues Recital And Meditation Of 40 Years On The Road
6 – Peacepollutionrevolution
7 – Pardon Me
8 – Reader’s Digest
9 – Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music?
10 – Baroquen Spirits
11 – Nightmare #71
12 – Watch What You’re Doing
13 – Without Love, You Ain’t Nothing (Righteous Rocker)
14 – The Outlaw
15 – Ha Ha World
16 – U.F.O.
17 – I’ve Searched All Around The World
18 – I Wish We’d All Been Ready
19 – Rosemary’s Baby (The Omen-666)
20 – The Sun Began To Rain

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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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