This is the 20th anniversary edition of the CD, released in 1993. Being one of Larry’s seminal works, there were many versions of this album released, including at least two other CD releases with different bonus tracks. There were several vinyl versions released as well, including “Almost So Long Ago The Garden” which had only the highlights from this album, plus some other tracks added.
So Long Ago The Garden is part 2 of Larry’s trilogy, between Only Visiting This Planet and In Another Land. These three albums contain a big part of his life’s work, and we find that compilations and live albums tend to draw on these three heavily.
It opens with “Fly Fly Fly” which is a song about the jet-set lifestyle of a rock star, in which he talks about having to leave his wife while away on trips. “Fly Fly Fly / My baby gets me high / I spend too much time in taxicabs / Please don’t ask me why”
Truthfully, Larry didn’t like to be asked “why” on certain things, so this song is probably more honest than it seems in a few places.
It opens with “I took a plane to Minnesota / To see my lady love” but in a live recording, it was captured as “To see my Pamela,” which is a reference to his wife at the time. Perhaps this song was meant to be a reassurance to her.
Same Old Story has a few different versions floating around. There are different studio recordings of it with different lyrics, all released in the 1970s. The differences are from things like “You hope she doesn’t break your heart” changed to “You know she’s gonna break your heart.”
Lonely By Myself became a classic for a lot of fans. As the title suggests, it’s one that is easier to listen to alone.
Notably, Soul Survivor was one track that isn’t included on all versions of the vinyl pressing, but it is on the original and on the CD re-releases.
The cover of this album went through some revisions. It’s a cut-out of Larry, essentially a silhouette, but filled in with a lion lying down, and the colour of the lion scene was close enough to a skin tone that people decided this might be a nude picture. It’s not really a picture at all, it’s an outline, and anyway it’s only from the waist up. The cover was changed for the benefit of sales in Bible bookstores, and then eventually the re-issues used the original cover again.
This one is Larry in his prime, and should not be missed.
1 – Fly Fly Fly
2 – It’s The Same Old Story
3 – Lonely By Myself
4 – Be Careful What You Sign
5 – Baroquen Spirits
6 – Christmastime
7 – She’s A Dancer
8 – Soul Survivor
9 – Nightmare #71
CD Bonus Tracks
10 – If God Is My Father (Rough Mix)
11 – Up In Canada (1973 Single)
12 – Dear Malcolm, Dear Alwyn (Demo)
Acoustic Guitar – Randy*
Acoustic Guitar [12 String Epiphone], Classical Guitar [Segovia], Piano [Steinway Piano], Electric Piano – Larry Norman
Backing Vocals – The Hollywood Street Choir
Bass – Dave*
Drums – Mike*
Guitar [Lead Guitar] – Mick*
Harmonica – Graham*
Percussion – Roger, Tony
Piano – Bob*
Piano [Steinway Piano], Organ [C3 Hammond Organ], Electric Piano [Wurlitzer Electric Piano], Clavinet [Hohner Clavinet], Synthesizer [Mini-moog Synthesizer] – Rod*
Producer – Jon Miller (4), Rod Edwards, Roger Hand
Saxophone – Malcolm, Roger
Violin – Graham*
Written-By – Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill (tracks: B1)