STYLE: Jesus Music RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 8391-8133 LABEL: Solid Rock SRD901 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RRP: £15.99
Reviewed by Dougie Adam
Potentially this could have been a clunker! Another compilation (cue weary Normaniacs groaning) with a few aims in mind (the project initially started life as a single volume ‘best-of-Belfast-Bootlegs’-with-new-previously-unreleased-bonus tracks - cue further groans from jaded collectors - and transmuted into a collection of rare tracks from different eras). The good news is that despite this unpromising background ‘Rock Scissors Et Papier’ hangs together pretty well and features eight tracks making their debut on CD and there is hardly a weak track on here. The selections from the Belfast Bootlegs are all choice cuts: studio versions of “The Troubles”, “Lugoj” and “Centre Of My Heart” plus the stunning live performance of the beautiful and heart breaking “Near”. No complaints there. Slightly more dubious are the inclusions of “Rubie” (which turns out to be the same alternate short version of “My Feet Are On The Rock” which was issued on ‘Sticks And Stones’) – ditto “Soul And Fire”, “Camel Through A Needle’s Eye” and “Lounge Lizard Sings Raindrops” all of which were released on CD in 2000 on some bootleg style compilations (‘Sticks And Stones’ and ‘Blarney Stone’). Why these tracks have been re-compiled again escapes me, especially the improvised and amusing “Lounge Lizard Sings Raindrops” which works well on the live video from which it’s taken but doesn’t really bear repeated listening (or being officially released twice). It’s not that these are bad songs or performances and more of a case that they are using up space which could have been given to other great performances circulating among traders and copied for Larry (eg, tracks from the Dutch radio broadcast in 1977 with Alwyn Wall and Norman Barratt – anyone want to hear a rare band performance of “Deep Blue” recorded with the help of a 24 track mobile truck?) or some of the unreleased treasures in Larry’s own archives. Anyway, these moans aside there are some great songs and performances making their first appearance on an official CD release like two songs from the fondly remembered BBC Rock Gospel Show appearances; a duet with Cliff Richard on “The Rock That Doesn’t Roll” and the London Community Gospel Choir joining Larry for a new and scintillating soulful reading of “What’s Wrong With This Body”. Few listeners will fail to be charmed or amused by the delightful rendition of “Rachael And Me” and there is a great live band version of the People hit “I Love You” from a concert in May 2000. Another live rarity is a cover of Dylan’s “In The Garden” dating from Holland in 1988. This time Larry’s duet partner is Andy Pratt and they are backed by a few gospel singers – an enjoyable performance marred only slightly by one or two points where Larry forgets it’s his turn to start the verse! Perhaps the greatest gems are the unreleased studio recordings of “Positively Like A Servant” (performed perhaps only once, solo at Greenbelt 1980), another stinging Dylan cover in the guise of “Positively Fourth Street” and “Unborn Child”, a poem recited by Larry with a band doodling away to gorgeous effect behind him. The two “Positively” tracks were recorded at Chapel Lane in the early ‘80s with the Barratt Band and the Dylan cover in particular is delivered with bite and ranks amongst one of Larry’s best cover versions yet.
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