STYLE: Rock RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 9965- LABEL: Solid Rock SRD-969 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 2 RRP: £15.99
Reviewed by Mike Rimmer
After Larry left his band People! following the release of their 'I Love You' album, he was enticed back to Capitol Records and invited to make a solo album. Cut in 1969, 'Upon This Rock' was an epiphany for Christian music - the first genuine rock album. Put into the context of its time, this was radical stuff which completely failed commercially because it was too rock'n'roll for the Christian community and too Christian for the rock'n'roll community. This is 22 year old Larry Norman making a creative leap and creating a whole new genre of music! Aside from its historical importance, it's pretty groovy and if you like '60s vibes with a bit of avant garde piano playing, you'll love it. Lyrically, there's no doubt about the message so you get classic Larry songs like the hip pop of "You Can't Take Away The Lord" and the sing-along "Sweet Song Of Salvation" (which became an immediate hit with the Jesus hippies despite it being Larry's least favourite song!). You also get the original recording of one of his biggest tunes, "I Wish We'd All Been Ready". "Moses In The Wilderness", a song he'd written as a kid in the '50s, is full of simple humorous innocence and a great tuba solo! There are two version of "The Last Supper", the familiar wild piano and vocal version and a groovy band/orchestra version which shows how it could have been done. Good call to have just done it with the piano - so much more emotional! "Forget Your Hexagram" was a real wake up call to hippie culture to embrace the truth of Christ and "Nothing Really Changes" is an interesting challenge that history suggests today we merely relive the mistakes and sins of the past and only Jesus can set us free. This version re-instates the instrumental "Prelude" that opens the album and also gives a second bonus track, an alternative mix of the brilliant "Ha Ha World". A totally brilliant rock'n'roll whimsical whirlwind which 30 years later is a complete rarity, almost impossible to find a CD version so take the opportunity to snap one up tout de suite!
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