Larry Norman - Maximum Garden

Published Friday 2nd September 2005
Larry Norman - Maximum Garden
Larry Norman - Maximum Garden

STYLE: Jesus Music
RATING 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 13330-3028
LABEL: Solid Rock SRA-006
RRP: £15.99

Reviewed by Mike Rimmer

The original 'So Long Ago The Garden' was released back in 1973 and although it's a fine album, its lyrical focus on the consequences of the fall of man didn't make it a big hit for Larry. It contains its share of classic Norman songs though. 'Maximum Garden' was originally intended as a fan club only release but has now become available to Larry Norman completists everywhere. What you get here are alternative versions and takes of songs that, to Larry's hardcore fans, are very familiar. So you get alternative mixes of songs like "Up In Canada", "The Same Old Story" and a longer version of "Baroquen Spirits". Some things are really strange like the fast version of "Soul Survivor" where Larry's vocals seem out of kilter with the rest of the musicians. You can tell straight away why he wanted to re-record most of this stuff. However for those already fans of Larry, it's fascinating to see how these songs developed creatively and how things could have been different. There are also instrumental versions of songs in progress like "Butterfly", "If God Is My Father" and "Nightmare". The history of 'So Long Ago The Garden' is so fractured with the eventual releases never quite matching Larry's intention for the album that 'Maximum Garden' does a thought provoking job of filling in some of the gaps and the sleevenotes take you step by step through the recordings. Intriguing listening for Normanphiles.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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