STYLE: Jesus Music RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 13330-3028 LABEL: Solid Rock SRA-006 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 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.
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