Larry Norman - Maximum Land

Published Tuesday 8th November 2011
Larry Norman - Maximum Land
Larry Norman - Maximum Land

STYLE: Jesus Music
RATING 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
LABEL: Solid Rock SRA007

Reviewed by Dougie Adam

27 tracks which tell some of the story behind the making of 'In Another Land', an album long recognised as one of Larry's best and often listed among the greatest CCM albums of all time. 'Maximum Land' gathers together some of the alternate mixes released on a Phydeaux cassette in the '80s but never before released on CD and places them alongside early demos, instrumental run-throughs with the band and rough mixes from the sessions as well as snippets of Larry talking with the engineers or working on new compositions. The nature of the release means many of the versions of the songs are not as good as the released masters, but here and there there are a few nice additions to an avid fan's collection such as hearing "UFO", "Song For A Small Circle Of Friends" and "Six Sixty Six" before overdubs were added. We also get introduced to two songs which Larry has said were censored from the original album: "You'll Never Find No One (Who Loves You Like I Do)" and also "I Dreamed That I Died" although neither recording dates from the original sessions in 1975 and 1976. Sadly in the case of "You'll Never Find No One" the recording which is used is the live version from the Trilogy concert in 2007 by which time Larry's health had deteriorated and his voice was ruined. Happily, "I Dreamed That I Died" dates from a session in 1997 in a Toronto studio where long-time friend and keyboard sidekick Dan Cutrona had assembled a crack team of session players to record live and acoustic with Larry and overdub strings as well. Dan was unaware at the time that the song was a missing track from 'Land' and assumed it was a new song Larry was working on. Sadly Larry hadn't brought a lyric sheet with him and the rough mix presented here is full or promise (it's a great song, with great backing musicians) but also has Larry talking the band through the take and la-la-la-ing in place of missing words. The song is poignant and given the quality of the rough mix here it's strange that Larry never tried to release the song again after it missed out on getting included on 'In Another Land' 20 years earlier and frustrating that he never quite finished the Toronto recording off either. If you enjoy owning alternate mixes and demos and hearing how Larry worked in the studio you will enjoy this CD but if you prefer polished versions only then give this a body-swerve.

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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