Larry Norman - Rebel Poet, Jukebox Balladeer: The Anthology

Published Thursday 28th August 2008
Larry Norman - Rebel Poet, Jukebox Balladeer: The Anthology
Larry Norman - Rebel Poet, Jukebox Balladeer: The Anthology

STYLE: Jesus Music
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 48328-14418
LABEL: Solid Rock ARE00059
RRP: £14.69

Reviewed by Mike Rimmer

Here's a posthumous collection of the best of Larry's music designed to belatedly introduce a mainstream audience to a selection of the late great's output. From his earliest music recorded with the West Coast band People! in the late '60s through to choice cuts from his biggest albums of the '70s, there are plenty of top songs here like "Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music", "I Wish We'd All Been Ready" and "Moses". Other classics are "The Outlaw" - one of the best critiques of the life of Christ - and "Nightmare" - a surreal masterpiece that contains his best writing ever. One quibble from me would be the lack of "Why Don't You Look Into Jesus" which should be on here instead of fluff like "The Sun Began To Rain" and the inferior "Baroquen Spirits". Having endured the endless compilation albums released by Larry in the last 10 years of his life, it's hard to get excited about another one but this does effectively introduce his music to a new audience. Despite the recent revelations about his personal life, there is no doubt that Larry was, at his height, a creative tour-de-force who wrote and recorded some of the most enduring music of the era. Larry was certainly at his creative peak in the '70s and it's interesting to note that there is no material included here that was recorded after 1977. He may have continued performing and recording until ill health slowed him down in his final years but he had lost his defining creative edge after this first decade. Although this compilation was released a few months after he died, effectively as a recording artist and creative force Larry had sadly died long before that.

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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Reader Comments

Posted by John Williams in UK @ 17:31 on Aug 29 2008

Of course Mike, what you meant to say was "alleged revelations" - without taking sides in this issue I am still disappointed that Cross Rhythms has not seen fit to publish Charles Norman's response to the allegations as he graciously requested.
Regarding the CD - a missed opportunity I think to select the very best and maybe include some more recent songs that are nearly as good as the 70's stuff such as "Jesus is God", "Rock the Flock" & "Near" aAnd nothing from "Stranded in Babylon"??? By the way, I understand the CD was planned before his death.

Reply by Amos D in USA @ 02:33 on Oct 27 2008

Yes, "alleged revelations" might be more to the point - and Charles Norman's response should be posted anytime these allegations arise.
I think the song selections are good - and Larry and the record company haggled over these selections - as I have read - it was simply time to choose and the record company had to just make the choice - and Larry OK'd it.

I suspect, this was not going to be the last release from the company - so it was restricted to a time period. My guess.

Larry stated clearly that he would never stop performing his old songs - he liked them, liked playing them, and maybe considered them like books he'd written - or important stories ... even songs ... that he liked enough to continue doing. Maybe getting royalties from his catalog helping inspire him to release the many versions too. Maybe.

I'd say that Tourniquet, Babylon, etc., were great songs written after the "golden era" or whatever - and it's a bit too harsh to say he died musically before he died physically. I am still turning Tourniquet over in my mind - over and over again. More levels there - than meets the eye.


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