This album was the one that changed everything for us. I don’t remember what year it was when we got it. Maybe 1980. Maybe 1978 even. After this we started seeking out music that was actually for us. This is part 3 of Larry’s Trilogy, but the first part we heard. Only Visiting This Planet and So Long Ago The Garden came later for us but when put all together, these 3 albums make the most famous parts of Larry’s body of work. There were many other albums released, but nearly all of them contained at least one song from the trilogy. Over the years there were several versions of this album released on CD. This version is the 93 version with 4 bonus tracks that we have included.
== 1 ==
The Rock That Doesn’t Roll starts out sounding like an alternate version of Johnny B. Goode. Chuck Berry’s song came out in 1958. The fact that we were listening to Larry’s album in the 80s made it a little confusing and a little old-sounding to me, but the fact is these songs had to have been written no later than the early 70s. Given that perspective, I say the songs have great staying power. considering that they didn’t get any “mainstream” attention until much later.
This version of I Love You is a completely different song than the one he recorded at Capitol Records with People!. Interesting that he kept the name, unlike with other songs where he went with Righteous Rocker #3. Even when producing Daniel Amos’ Horrendous Disc album, he managed to get their song called I Love You #19 to make it unique. Another part of the enigma for me.
== 2 ==
U.F.O. seems to be part of the 1970s fascination with aliens. There were plenty of movies out at the time on the topic and so this tied in well with popular culture. After Larry’s heart attack(s), his doctor apparently told him he couldn’t play with the band any more but he still played this song a lot. The guitar part fit well but when it came to the electronic sound effects he did thouse with his voice and it sounded funny, also very unexpected. The audience laughed and I don’t know if that was bad form on his part or theirs.
== 3 ==
I’ve Searched All Around
Larry talked about end times a lot. He seemed to have the view that the world was slowly decaying before our eyes, a popular Christian worldview in the 60s, 70, and 80s. Songs like this one were about building hope in Kingdom Come in spite of what we see going on around us. His ability to put such a dark message into a rich musical setting like this was perfect. The blues comes through often in Larry’s songs, although during the Trilogy period it was never a focus. This song comes across as a great upbeat blues tune if you listen just right.
== 4 ==
Righteous Rocker #3
Allegedly written in a stairwell while waiting to go onstage for a concert, this song has a quick flow that makes it sound stream-of-consciousness, just like he wrote it all in a quick rush like that. Larry recorded various of it, but this a capella one is the first one he put out there.
Listen for Larry doing his own background vocals on this song. His distinctive voice can’t hide. We hear this in a lot of his work, suggesting he was alone a lot when he was in the studio.
== 5 ==
One of the things that made Larry a great songwriter is that he wrote about things that were part of regular life. He starts out discussing relationships between people, “brothers.” He compares it to our relationship with God and draws parallels that are easy to follow. Many of the Christian artists both then and now don’t have this skill. The abliity to draw a comparison between heaven and Earth is what Shakespeare described as poetry.
== 6 ==
I Am A Servant
“When you are lonely you’re the only one to blame.”
This is both misunderstood and a double-entendre. Larry was too savvy with words to put something like this out unintentionally. Read the sentence twice. If you are lonely, it’s your fault. If you are lonely, there is no-one for you to take it out on but yourself.
Larry does seem to have been lonely a lot. He had some famous fallings out with other people in the community, and he faced a lot of accusations from Christian media accusing him of being “secular.” Like Shot Down, this is him reflecting and telling us that he is following his calling.
== 7 ==
The Sun Began To Rain
Larry was a poet as well as a songwriter. He even had the title of Poet Laureate at one point, and that was a point of pride for him. He really seemed to enjoy laying on thick layers of metaphor like he does in this song, and he was a master at it.
== 8 ==
It seems like he had critics throughout all of his career. In this song he responds to criticism from Christians who questioned his faith and his motives. That questioning never went away as far as I can tell, but at the same time his contribution seems to be huge. If we didn’t know anything about Larry’s personal life then he seems to have given us a lot. Maybe the enigma is best left that way to some extent.
== 9 ==
Six Sixty Six
Subtitled Rosemary’s Baby on some records. This is the original release version and it was just called Six Sixty Six. End times fascination was a big thing in the churches in the 70s and 80s. I remmeber the movie “A Thief In the Night.” It was super scary and really an earlier version of those “Left Behind” movies that came out much later. This song plays into that narrative quite deeply and gives a great insight into the mood of the Church at the time. Side note: Larry’s song “I Wish We’d All Been Ready” was a staple of this movie genre. Larry also appeared in the movie The Blob in the 60s, wearing a cross and warning people. This was obviously a big topic on his mind.
== 10 ==
Diamonds and One Way were two songs on this record that seemed like one song, but clearly two. He could have labelled it either way. The two short pieces turn into one but there is a clear transition between them. As the title suggests, this is a commentary on materialism. Its position in the album works out perfectly to take all the things he has been telling us in the past ten songs and remind us what ought to be on our minds.
== 11 ==
The “One Way” sign was something in the 1960s Jesus Movement. Larry may or may not have been the origin of this, but it was simply one index finger pointed upward. The two finger peace sign was a sign of the times, and Larry’s typical fashion was to respond to current culture with something compatible but different, and clearly tied to his message and calling. Imagine Larry holding up one hand with his index finger pointed up, eyes closed, singing this song.
== 12 ==
Song For A Small Circle of Friends
Larry mentions a few people by name and by inference here. “Dear Bobby watch your fears all hide” refers to Bob Dylan. On this recording you hear the harmonica at that point to make it clearer, but in live versions he sang “Dear Dylan” sometimes, and he did the voice impersonation.
“Love to you Sir Stonehill” was sometimes “Love to Randy Stonehill” in live versions. They had a complicated relationship that I don’t think I can explain but obviously he wanted to reach out for some reason.
“McCartney on the Hoffner bass” is obviously Paul. Larry told the story live about meeting Paul McCartney at Capital Records while they were both on the label. Apparrently Paul said “I like your music.”
== 13 ==
Hymn to the Last Generation
Larry closes the album with an altar call. He could talk about earthly problems and relationships all through his work, but he always wanted to leave the right message. His concerts did not have altar calls, but at the end of his concerts, which tended to be relatively small when I saw him, he would tell a hall full of hundreds of people that after the concert they could come backstage and talk to him if they wanted to. He would offer to help people and pray with them, in person. I went back there. He meant it.
1 – The Rock That Doesn’t Roll – 3:33
2 – I Love You – 3:03
3 – U.F.O. – 2:48
4 – I’ve Searched All Around – 3:19
5 – Righteous Rocker #3 – 0:47
6 – Deja Vu: (If God Is My Father) – 1:21
7 – Deja Vu-Continued: (Why Don’t You Look Into Jesus) – 2:38
8 – I Am A Servant – 3:09
9 – The Sun Began To Rain – 1:15
10 – Shot Down – 1:59
11 – Six Sixty Six – 2:30
12 – Diamonds – 1:37
13 – One Way – 2:20
14 – Song For A Small Circle Of Friends – 3:43
15 – Hymn To The Last Generation – 1:48
16 – Looking For The Footprints – 2:33
17 – Strong Love, Strange Peace – 3:58
18 – Dreams On A Grey Afternoon – 1:00
19 – Let That Tape Keep Rolling (Live From Greenbelt) – 6:19
Larry Norman – vocals, harmonies, guitar, percussion, piano, producer,
Randy Stonehill – guitar and backing vocals
Jon Linn – guitars
Dudley Moore – piano
Mark Walker – drums
Tim Ayres – bass guitar
John Michael Talbot – banjo
Andy Johns – engineer
Tom Trefethen – assistant engineer
Solid Rock studios – pre-production recording location
Mama Jo’s – recording location
Sunset Sound – recording location
A&M, Studio 3 – mastering location
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Solid Rock Records
Copyright (c) – Solid Rock Records
Recorded At – Solid Rock Recording Studios
Recorded At – Mama Jo’s
Recorded At – Sunset Sound
Mastered At – A&M Mastering Studios
Record Company – Solid Rock Productions, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Beechwood Music Corp.
Copyright (c) – Glenwood Music Corp.
Published By – J. C. Love Publishing Co.
Published By – Strawbed Music