Larry Norman – (almost) So Long Ago The Garden (but not quite) and the MGM Singles – 1980

So Long Ago The garden was part 2 of Larry’s famous trilogy, set between Only Visiting This Planet and In Another Land.

In 1980, Phydeaux released something called “(almost) So Long Ago The Garden and the MGM singles”

This pressing has most of the same tracks as the original 1973 album, but there are a few differences:
1. “Up In Canada” is included, which was a radio single, but not part of the original album
2. “Christmastime” incldues a short intro by some sort of circus entertainer from the sound of it
3. The order of various tracks is changed. “Christmastime” leads of the album instead of “Fly Fly Fly”
3. “Peacepollutionrevolution” is included, which was not on the original album
4. “It’s The Same Old Story” is called “The Same Old Story” on this version
5. “The Same Old Story” is on both records, but with different lyrics
6. “Meet Me At The Airport (Fly Fly Fly)” is just called “Fly Fly Fly” on this version

 

Tracklist
1 – Christmastime
2 – Fly Fly Fly
3 – She’s A Dancer
4 – The Same Old Story
5 – Baroquen Spirits
6 – Up In Canada
7 – Be Careful What You Sign
8 – Lonely By Myself
9 – Peacepollutionrevolution
10 – Nightmare

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Larry Norman – So Long Ago The Garden – 1973

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.

Tracklist
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)

Credits
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)

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Salvation Air Force – Strangers In A Strange Land – 1977

Wikipedia described Salvation Air Force as “Canada’s first Christian rock band”. Well as a Canadian I had never heard of them so my research started. The band consisted of Michael and Donnie Gossett and studio musicians. Apparently the brothers were from British Columbia but that is all I co9uld find about their connection to Canada. The more interesting story is that this album was in some way connected to Larry Norman’s label but was pressed and distributed by Myrrh/Word records. I wasn’t able to figure out any more of the Larry Norman connection other than the following. The band was granted permission to cover Larry’s “If God Is My Father” They were joined by Larry, Tom Howard, and Randy Stonehill on the track. This appears to be the only involvement of the Solid Rock crew on this record. The album is very very easy listening except for Complete And Alive which is slightly more rocking. Now the story goes is that the album was not a good representation of the band at all as they were apparently a lot more Rock and Roll than the album represents. This would have been in part due to the horrible time they ended up with Myrrh/ At this time Myrrh were jettisoning all of their “Rock” acts and as I result I’m sure this album had to be toned down. Anyway, the band didn’t have another labelled album however apparently they did have two self published releases that I am currently looking for. Anyway that’s the story of “Canada’s first Christian rock band”.

Tracklist
1 – I Can Feel His Presence – 2:33
2 – Complete And Alive – 2:45
3 – Don’t Make Me Choose – 5:27
4 – If God Is My Father – 6:25
5 – You’re All I Want – 4:39
6 – It’s Jesus In Me – 4:25
7 – Special Friend – 3:01
8 – You Have Blessed Me – 2:33
9 – Accident – 4:22

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Larry Norman – Streams of White Light into Darkened Corners – 1977

Larry released this album in 1977 and it was labelled “Part 1.” Like many of his projects, the rest of it was never released.

The idea here seems to be to “expose” the pseudo-Christian songs that were radio hits in the 60s and 70s. Larry seemed to feel that they were exploiting the Jesus Movement for profit.

Randy Stonehill plays the part of the radio DJ, and the two of them record covers of popular songs that many people considered religious in spite of the rest of the bands’ repretoire. The songs are not recorded very seriously, and you can hear them making fun and holding back laughter in a couple of places.

From the back of the jacket:

This album was originally a newspaper article, but several different publishers backed down from printing it so I decided to record the music that is described in the article and release the soundtrack to the “newspaper movie.”

This is a Satirical Record and anyone who doesn’t have a sense of humor that leans toward the surreal, a cursory interest in pop music, and a healthy indifference/disdain for ego-lipped disc jockeys should definitely stay away from this album.
Larry Norman, 1974″

Track Listing:
A1 Spirit In The Sky Written-By – Norman Greenbaum
A2 Put Your Hand In The Hand Written-By – Gene MacLellan
A3 Bridge Over Troubled Water Written-By – Paul Simon
A4 Let It Be Written-By – Lennon-McCartney
A5 My Sweet Lord Written-By – George Harrison
A6 Presence Of The Lord Written-By – Eric Clapton
B1 I Think He’s Hiding Written-By – Randy Newman
B2 He Gives Us All His Love Written-By – Randy Newman
B3 Stranger In A Strange Land Written-By – Leon Russell
B4 Prince Of Peace Written-By – Greg Dempsey, Leon Russell
B5 Song For Adam Written-By – Jackson Browne
B6 Shine A Light Written-By – Jagger-Richard*

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Mark Heard – Stop The Dominoes – 1981

Mark Heard created a tradition of going the extra mile on his records. He wrote lyrics that had real honesty packed in tight, and yet he still managed drop some tongue-in-cheek one-liners. The effect was that when he was cheeky, you still had to take him seriously. Stop the Dominoes is a classic version of this.

He had a lot to say. The liner notes are incredible. CCM records routinely included all the lyrics printed out on the sleeve, but in addition, Mark included 2 full pages of small print, written from his heart to his fans. Mark had a passion for reality. You can hear it in his song lyrics, and these notes include some personal diary entries from his tour stops through Europe. It’s hard to imagine this kind of thoughtful writing being shared with fans now.

These notes were written on his travels, and later collated into this form, typeset and arranged, sent out to print, manufactured, distributed to stores, and then finally brought home to read. I hope a lot of people read them, but then again, I know. In 1982 when we bought records, we read everything.

There was no Twitter feed. The Internet didn’t exist in any consumer form at that time. Mark died in 1992, well before fandom was available online. Long before we would be able to follow someone’s thoughts as they had them.

Sure, we can follow people on social media now, but that’s a different thing. Online posts are so disposable because they are so temporal. Reading someone’s deliberate writing, something that they know they would have to work on, proofread, and only be able to publish to the world once a year – that’s special in a different way.

Mark Heard was one of the most thoughtful songwriters, and gone much too soon and much too young.

Track Listing:
A1 One Of The Dominoes 4:23
A2 Stranded At The Station 3:30
A3 You Could Lie To Me 4:02
A4 One Night Stand 2:52
A5 I’m Crying Again 3:29
B1 Stuck In The Middle 4:39
B2 Call Me The Fool 3:11
B3 I’m In Chains 3:25
B4 Lonely One 4:35
B5 To See Your Face 3:31

Credits:
Arranged By – Mark Heard
Backing Vocals – Dave De Coup Crank, Larry Norman, Leslie Phillips, Little Bobby Emmons, Randy Stonehill
Bass – John Patitucci
Electric Guitar – Tony Eisenbarger
Electric Guitar, Lead Guitar, Slide Guitar, Keyboards, Backing Vocals – Mark Heard
Engineer – Jonathan David Brown
Fiddle – Buddy Spicher
Keyboards – Tom Howard
Percussion – Alex MacDougall
Producer – Mark Heard
Saxophone – Karl Denson
Steel Guitar [Pedal Steel] – Sonny Garrish
Written By – Mark Heard

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Various – Jubilation! – 1975

This 1975 Myrrh Records sampler had some of the early 70’s best Jesus Music. Strangely, it had the exact same name (Including the exclamation mark) of an album released the same time from The Kingsmen. The album only had one unreleased track, Larry Norman – Dear Malcolm, Dear Alwyn. Larry did finally release the track in 1993 on the So Long Ago The Garden re-release as a bonus track.

Include below is the info on which album the songs were released on

Tracklist
1 – Barry McGuire – Enter In – 5:35 – Seeds
2 – Lamb – The Sacrifice Lamb – 5:09 – Lamb
3 – The Sonlight Orchestra – Easter Song – 2:45 – Love Songs And Other Greats
4 – Randy Matthews – Johnny – 3:30 – All I Am Is What You See…
5 – Petra – Back Sliding Blues – 4:31 – Petra
6 – Walt Mills – You Got The Power – 2:55 – Sincerely, Walt Mills
7 – Ron Salsbury And J.C. Power Outlet – I Choose To Follow You – 5:15 – Forgiven…
8 – Evie – Clean Before My Lord – 3:05 – Evie Again
9 – Parchment – Light Of The World – 4:00 – Light Up The Fire
10 – The Pat Terry Group – I Can’t Wait – 3:42 – The Pat Terry Group
11 – 2nd Chapter Of Acts – I Fall In Love/Change – 4:22 – With Footnotes
12 – Ray Hildebrand – Didn’t He – 5:08 – Special Kind Of Man
13 – Honeytree – Heaven’s Gonna Be A Blast – 2:22 – The Way I Feel
14 – Aleksander John – Days Go By – 3:15 – Days Go By
15 – Love Song – A Love Song – 1:46 – Love Song
16 – Larry Norman – Dear Malcolm, Dear Alwyn – 2:36 – Unreleased until 1993
17 – Malcolm & Alwyn – Tomorrow’s News – 3:30 – Fool’s Wisdom
18 – Ken Medema – Come Let Us Reason Together – 3:35 – Fork In The Road
19 – Chuck Girard & Love Song – Think About What Jesus Said – 4:54 – Final Touch
20 – Marijohn – Where I’m Going – 3:58 – Where I’m Going

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Larry Norman – A Moment In Time – 1994

A Moment In Time is was released on CD in 1994 and contains all new songs, which is something that Larry Norman fans had been waiting for for a while. Stop This Flight was ten years earlier in 1984, and there had been only two studio albums since then: Home At Last (1989) and Stranded In Babylon (1991).

Larry had been hospitalized for his heart condition a couple of months before recording this, but he felt some urgency to do the project because he needed to keep some income going to pay for another operation. Most of the vocal tracks were done once with no retakes due to Larry’s health at the time.

The musicians who apparently donated their time for this project were Herb Manuputy, Dave Mansfield, The Dave Nicar Band, Keith Turbet, and Steve League.

Overall the sound is a bit of well paced boogie-woogie blues with a bit of country twang.

The radio spot is a pitch for signatures for an anti-child porn amendment for the state of Oregon. I don’t know how that turned out in the end.

“Down the Line” is a studio rough cut with a country twang. Larry’s commentary for the studio musicians is left in the mix rather than edited out. It makes it a little more fun, although the song probably could have stood on its own.

“Long Hard Road” is a wordy country/blues tune. It has a lot of “some people…” lines in it, lamenting how he feels he has been treated and viewed over the years. “Some people don’t know truth from lies so they just make it up” is the gist of it. It’s a nice smooth blues tune with a good guitar sound.

“Elvis Has Left the Building” is a tribute, a lament and an ode to Elvis Presley. It is a phrase that even has its own Wikipedia page now. “…often used by public address announcers at the conclusion of Elvis Presley concerts in order to disperse audiences”

The expression took on a meaning of its own but Larry had a genuine place in his heart for Elvis. He frequently mentioned him when talking about the evolution of rock’n’roll, and how popular music took the style used in Black churches to record love songs for the radio. Stylistically I think that Larry admired Elvis, but he always held a tone of concern for him.

There has been plenty of theological debate for several centuries over whether one can “lose their salvation” or not, but this seems to be part of the concern of this song. When Elvis “left the building” is Larry thinking about him leaving this world, or leaving his faith? A little of both most likely. However, the last words reported to be called out when Elvis died are perhaps words of faith.

The three bonus tracks are included here probably because this would have been a very short album without them, but they were not all part of the same studio sessions as the rest of the tracks. Most of them, with the exception of Right Here In America had not been previously released.

Track Listing:
01 Radio Spot
02 Down the Line
03 Long Hard Road
04 When the Son Comes Back
05 Elvis Has Left the Building
06 Lay My Burden Down
07 Toxic Tea and Toast
08 You Shall Be Saved
(Bonus Tracks)
09 The Children of Nimrod
10 The Solid Rock
11 Leave It Up to God to Handle
12 Right Here in America

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Larry Norman – Upon This Rock – 1969

This was Larry’s first album after leaving “People”. This album was initially released on Capitol Records but Capitol said it didn’t reach sales objectives and Larry was dropped by them.

Larry immediately negotiated a distribution deal with Benson Records who put the album in Christian book stores and sales picked up.

The folk/rock sound of the album was fairly well received by the Christian music listener and this album is generally regarded as the first Christian rock album as opposed to the Jesus Music of the day.

The album was denounced by evangelists Bob Larson, Jimmy Swaggart, and Jerry Falwell all of which continued the diatribe that rock music was of the devil. Whether you like the album or not it has to be agreed that it started a new movement in Christian music.

The digital download version contains 3 bonus tracks.

Track Listing (Digital Version):
1 – You Can’t Take Away The Lord – 2:11
2 – I Don’t Believe In Miracles – 3:11
3 – Moses In The Wilderness – 3:13
4 – Walking Backwards Down The Stairs – 2:45
5 – Ha Ha World – 3:25
6 – Sweet Sweet Song Of Salvation – 3:53
7 – Forget Your Hexagram – 2:23
8 – The Last Supper – 3:14
9 – I Wish We’d All Been Ready – 3:15
10 – Nothing Really Changes – 3:18
11 – Postlude – 2:14
12 – You Can’t Take Away the Lord (Demo – Bonus Track) – 2:08
13 – Sweet Song of Salvation (Live – Bonus Track) – 5:23
14 – Nothing Really Changes (Demo – Bonus Track) – 2:32

Track Listing (Vinyl version – Canada):
1 – You Can’t Take Away The Lord – 2:11
2 – I Don’t Believe In Miracles – 3:11
3 – Moses In The Wilderness – 3:13
4 – Walking Backwards Down The Stairs – 2:45
5 – Ha Ha World – 3:25
6 – Sweet Sweet Song Of Salvation – 3:53
7 – Forget Your Hexagram – 2:23
8 – The Last Supper – 3:14
9 – I Wish We’d All Been Ready – 3:15
10 – Nothing Really Changes – 3:18
11 – Postlude – 2:14

Credits:
Arranged By – Tony Harris
Concept By [Conceived By], Written-By, Performer, Mixed By – Larry Norman
Design [Album Design] – David Coleman
Producer – Hal Yoergler

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Alwyn Wall – Invisible Warfare – 1982

This was the first album from Alwyn Wall though he had released an album in 1977 under the name “The Alwyn Wall Band”.

A member of Malcolm & Alwyn in the 70’s this was really his second solo project. Albums were relatively rare from Alwyn but when they did come out they were good.

His albums had far less filler songs and I find it difficult to pick singles given the quality of the songs. You can’t really say this album sounds like anything. Instead Alwyn offers a style all his own.

This album was produced and engineered by Larry Norman and was probably the best job he ever did in those roles as most agree these roles were not his strong point.

Track Listing:
1 – Doctor, Doctor 5:15
2 – On Your Marks (Are You Ready?) 4:09
3 – Let The Light Come 4:43
4 – Hold On 4:24
5 – Someday 4:52
6 – I’m Alright Jack (The Greed Song) 3:16
7 – (You’ve Got To Be) Doers 3:42
8 – Greatest Show On Earth 4:08
9 – Jesus I Love You 1:42C

Credits:
Backing Vocals, Engineer – Mark Williamson
Bass – Tim Hatwell
Drums – Russell Caldwell
Engineer – Tim Jacquette
Guitar – Norman Barratt
Keyboards – Dave Morris
Producer, Backing Vocals, Engineer – Larry Norman
Vocals, Guitar – Alwyn Wall

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Steve Camp – Justice – 1988

This is the 10th release from Steve Camp and by this point in his career Camp had music mastered.

The quality of this album is excellent and the song writing spot on. While he is usually classed as easy listening I would argue this album really isn’t. I found it to be upbeat and edgier than previous releases.

The highlight of the album for me is Camp’s cover of the Larry Norman song “Great American Novel”. He covers it with a Springsteen feel that is perfect for the song. All in all a great release in my opinion.

Track Listing:
1 – Justice – 4:35
2 – Playing Marbles With Diamonds – 5:03
3 – Don’t Tell Them Jesus Loves Them – 5:19
4 – Living Dangerously In The Hands Of God – 5:04
5 – Do You Feel Their Pain? – 6:18
6 – Hell Is Burning While The Church Sleeps – 4:28
7 – Great American Novel – 4:57
8 – Servants Without Scars – 4:04
9 – Love That Will Not Let You Go – 5:09
10 – I Believe In You – 4:25

Credits:
Art Direction – Barbara Catanzaro-Hearn
Artwork By, Design – Peter Nomura
Engineer [Assistant] – Carry Summers, Howard Steel*, Kevin Twit, Wade Jennings
Mastered By – Doug Sax
Mixed By – Bill Schnee (tracks: A1, A3, A5, B4), David Schober (tracks: B1, B3), Jeff Balding (tracks: A2, A4, B2, B5)
Photography By [Collage] – Mark Tucker (7)
Photography By [Portrait] – Victoria Pearson (2)
Producer, Arranged By – Steve Camp
Recorded By – David Schober

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