Larry Norman - Totally Unplugged Vol 1: The Texas Tapes

Thursday 1st February 1996
Larry Norman - Totally Unplugged Vol 1: The Texas Tapes

STYLE: Roots/Acoustic
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Street Level SLD024

Reviewed by Dougie Adam

An amazing solo acoustic live album from one of the finest singer/songwriters in the last three decades. This set includes some long established classics such as "Watch What You're Doing", "Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music", "I Hope I'll See You In Heaven" and "A Woman Of God". Despite their age these sons still sound fresh although these oldies are generally wheeled out and spiced up with some humour to lighten up the mood before the serious stuff-begins. The "serious stuff' is the material from 'Stranded In Babylon' and an unexpected cover version of "Weight Of The World" by Don Was. What makes this album great is an astonishing vocal performance throughout most of the set. I thought he sounded great on previous live albums 'Stop This Flight' and 'Live At Revo' but here Larry surpasses those occasions and manages to sound just like he does on the live side of 1970's 'Street Level' album. Armed with just his old Spanish guitar and his stunning voice Larry transforms boring album tracks like "Baby's Got The Blues" and "I Will Survive" and makes them some of the highlights in this intimate and intense set. These performances bring out a beauty in the lyrics that the album versions don't. There's an added poignancy throughout the set as this concert was Larry's first after the massive heart attack which nearly killed him in 1992 and you get the impression that many of the songs have taken on a new meaning for Larry; the key line in "Why Should The Devil..." is now "I ain't dead yet!". Also contains "Step Into The Madness", "Let The Rain Fall Down" and "All The Way Home". A classic album that will never date. The good news is that there are more tapes from the same concert which will be brought out if there is enough interest in volume one. Well worth the effort, expense and hassle of ordering from America.

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 Jerry Thompson in Essex, UK. @ 10:48 on Aug 30 2010

Totally Unplugged, as you can guess, was recorded around the time MTV put out rock videos of the leading artists of that time mostly without electric guitars etc.
Larry rarely missed an oppertunity to tap into an emerging audiance and this CD is the result.
I commend his courage on this release coming so soon after his serious health problems.
Good songs, to me, are Texas And Me, Weight Of The World, A Woman Of God, Let The Rain Fall Down On Me, All The Way Home and I Will Survive.
This should not be seen as his most polished live performance, but there's enough quality to keep this listerner satisfied.

The opinions expressed in the Reader Comments are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms.

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