Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
So Long Ago The Garden
Genres: Pop, Rock, Classic Rock, Christian
Originally released in 1973 on MGM Records, So Long Ago The Garden is the second installment in Larry Norman's famous '70s trilogy that included the dual masterpieces Only Visiting This Planet and In Another Land.The All M... more »
Originally released in 1973 on MGM Records, So Long Ago The Garden is the second installment in Larry Norman's famous '70s trilogy that included the dual masterpieces Only Visiting This Planet and In Another Land.The All Music Guide says: So Long Ago the Garden has plenty of highlights, including Christmas Time, with its footloose Rolling Stones swagger, and the incredible Meet Me at the Airport (Fly, Fly, Fly). Lyrically, this is one of Norman's more elliptical efforts in terms of its Christian references; however, the message is quite clear. Just underneath the '70s British rock dialect and shimmering songwriting is a defiant sermon that staunchly proclaims Norman's identity as a devout outsider. Even though songs such as The Same Old Story, Lonely By Myself, Be Careful What You Sign, She's A Dancer and Nightmare #71 rank among Larry's best compositions and studio performances the songs have seldom featured in his concerts with the result that Garden has remained an overlooked masterpiece.'He was a lone wolf. He looked different, sounded different and he presented his beliefs in a way that rang true. Larry Norman knows what he's doing and if you haven't noticed, you should.' - Frank Black (Pixies)'The most significant artist in his field' - Time Magazine
'A maverick' - Entertainment Weekly
'Thematically controversial' - Paste Magazine
'A creative genius' - Huffington Post
'A huge inspiration' - Harp Magazine
'The most important writer since Paul Simon.' - Billboard Magazine
'Enormously influential' - USA Today
'A powerful lyricist and master of obliqueness.' - London Guardian
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Gord Wilson | Bellingham, WA USA | 12/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My title is taken from one of the bonus cuts on this new release of this album, which is one of the best (mellow) songs I think Norman ever wrote, and that puts it far and away above most of the radio playlists, because Norman is the great unheard voice of a lost generation. This was the second album in the Trilogy, released in 1973 (yes, on vinyl!), after the amazing Only Visiting This Planet (1972). It was on the Verve/ MGM label. I found out about it when Norman was interviewed in a half page piece in the now defunct music paper, Zoo World. I ran down to the stereo shop (which is where you got records then) and bought this album and Billy Joel's Piano Man the same day. Two all-time great albums.
Some other versions of this album were released by Norman's company, Solid Rock, and a couple songs made it into The Anthology: Rebel Poet/ Jukebox Balladeer album released by Arena Rock after Norman's death (he was, after all, Only Visiting This Planet). There are a few Norman songs called "Nightmare number something" (a tribute to early Bob Dylan albums where that artist logged his nightmares and dreams), but this one is the astounding, really long one that starts: "last night I had the same old dream that rocked me in my sleep/ It gave me the impression that the sandman plays for keeps." This album rocks like another unheard Norman album, Something New Under the Son, which Frank Black of the Pixies covered songs from. It's got legendary guitarist Jon Linn and all the usual suspects, which is to say it's absolutely great.
Controversy swirled around Norman, who seemed torn between life as a rocker and a preacher. If anyone ever combined them, it was him. But you don't have to buy that view. Books will be forthcoming, and there's a very different picture in David DiSabatino's DVD/ film, Fallen Angel: The Outlaw Larry Norman. But you don't have to agree with Mick Jagger's lifestyle of excess to like a Rolling Stones song, and you don't have to agree with Larry to like his music (I certainly don't agree with the anti-Catholic bits, being a Catholic convert, but Catholics are used to this).
That said, we hardly knew ye Larry. A genius who really did have the artistic temperament? A charlatan? I don't think that one will stick. Books will be forthcoming on the Norman conquest. At least two are being written in US and UK as we speak. Steve Turner also wrote one sometime back. Larry was taken away in the midst of his pursuits, as it were, and there remain treasures of unreleased music from Solid Rock, which hopefully, like this album, will see the light of day. Particularly Steve Scott's Moving Pictures.
Back to the Trilogy. The third album, as Normanphiles know, was In Another Land, and the three albums don't sound very much alike. However, the last line of the last song is the album title (another witty Normanesque pattern). As with the Beatles, with Norman's albums you always got more: liner notes as big as a book; pictures or drawings, things to send in for. The covers opened up (OVTP originally opened up twice). In the halcyon days of the early seventies, at the tail end of the Jesus Movement, these albums sparked the interest of numerous musicians (like Frank Black) to scribble out some lyrics and pick up a guitar. Flawed human being that he may have been (who isn't?), he left us a legacy. Journey back to that decade and those days when "we left it oh so long ago the garden"."