Archive for jesus movement

Randy Stonehill – Welcome To Paradise

Posted in Christian Rock, jesus movement, Jesus Music, Larry Norman, Legends, Music Reviews, Randy Stonehill with tags , , , , , , , on August 27, 2008 by rezband1

Randy Stonehill’s Welcome to Paradise album was a well crafted work Produced by Larry Norman and Engineered by Andy Johns (The Who, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin).

The production was good for 1976 and the lyrics showed Randy was soulful and humorous. His music had that Larry Norman feel to it. Some Influences of James Taylor and others abound but it was uniquely Stonehill.

The Album starts with King of Hearts with an almost lullaby quality to it, gently showing you the purpose to this life. Keep Me Runnin’ is the best song on the Disc and is still a favorite live. This song is driven by a rough edged acoustic guitar and a haunting vocal that recalls our struggle with sin and being human. The Tunes Winner (High Card) and Lung Cancer are sarcastic looks at the ego’s of the powerful, Pride and Cigarettes. I used to love requesting the song Lung Cancer at Randy’s shows so I could here him say, “Oh, I am so sorry to hear that!” and I can almost see Randy’s tears welling up in the song Puppet Strings. Other songs deal with everything from Christmas to Christ’s Return, like the Jammin’ rock song, Good News where Larry Norman is cranked up in the background.

Randy Stonehill created a work of art that lasted the archives of Christian Music. This will always be a well deserved classic of extremely talented songwriting and production.

Randy was just as powerful at his live shows. He would have a combination of zany comic attack that left you in stitches, then sing and have you in emotional tears. Randy is still doing shows so if you ever get a chance to see him it’s a real treat!

I do not know how much I impressed upon you that Randy Stonehill is probably the living Father of “Christian Music”, now that Larry is gone. I do not know how comfortable Randy is with that? But he deserves a round of cheers and applause for this record!…

at the very least!  -MP

Personnel

· Randy Stonehill: acoustic guitars, vocals.

· Larry Norman: electric guitar, piano, harmonies.

· Jon Linn: lead guitar.

· Mark Walker: drums.

· The Mighty T-Bone: bass.

Tracks

Side One: Paradise Lost (sorrow and sadness….)

  1. “King Of Hearts” – 4:53
  2. “Keep Me Runnin'” – 5:57
  3. “The Winner (High Card)” – 3:43
  4. “Lung Cancer” – 3:31
  5. “Puppet Strings” – 4:25

Side Two: Paradise Regained (….turn into gladness)

  1. “First Prayer” – 3:08
  2. “I’ve Got News For You” – 3:49
  3. “Song For Sarah” – 3:28
  4. “Christmas Song For All Year ‘Round” – 3:56
  5. “Good News” – 3:18

If anyone knows where to buy the CD Re-Release in stock, please tell me. Until then it is HERE. (rar File)

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Gary S. Paxton – Ode to The Outlaw

Posted in Gary S Paxton, jesus movement, Jesus Music, Legends, Music Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2008 by rezband1

Jesus People had their eccentric relatives just like anyone else and Gary S. Paxton was Jesus Music’s odd but entertaining Uncle.

In the 60’s Gary worked or had his hand in hit singles like Alley Oop or Monster Mash, also producing country or rock bands like Paul Revere and The Raiders. After his struggle with alcohol and the suicide of a friend, Gary S. Paxton gave his life to Christ after walking into a church stoned.

Gary was known in the music business for doing crazy stuff and being very eccentric. He brought some of this with him when entering the Jesus Movement. Working with the country artists and the Jesus People of the time, Gary was becoming a very popular songwriter of the genres.

Gary would write songs for the church like, I’m Anchored in The Rock or He Was There All the Time. The other side of Gary S. Paxton’s lyrical songwriting was like a cross between Steve Taylor and Frank Zappa. The surreal and satirical would be set to humorous poetry, like being a Fat Christian or a Hippie going to heaven. Gary’s music was Country, Funk, Disco or Gospel. You never knew what you were going to get and you were not completely sure what you got when you heard it.

Gary’s first Christian album of 1975 was a Grammy Award winning album with a very long title; The Astonishing, Outrageous, Amazing, Incredible, Unbelievable, Different World of Gary S. Paxton. See what I mean about being eccentric… Gary always kept you entertained that’s for sure. The record had songs that could be in your church hymnal like He Was There All the Time. Then there were the other songs. Tunes like You Ain’t Smoking Them Cigarettes (Baby, Their Smoking You) and Sophisticated Savages that had some poor lady in the background screaming, “Rape! Rape!” over the song.

The next record, MORE from: The Astonishing, Outrageous, Amazing, Incredible, Unbelievable, Different World of Gary S. Paxton was the same format. Songs What a Friend We Have in Jesus had a country flavor to it but Nineveh Noose was a synth driven funky song comparing America to Nineveh of the Bible, “Well if your plantin’ weed you sure ain’t gonna reap wheat..Nineveh Noose sins on the loose, what ya gonna do when God is tired of all your abuse!” He would sing. Dark Comedy was often in Gary’s lyrics, songs like When the Meat Wagon Comes for You either had Jesus People laughing or scratching their heads. His song The World Didn’t Give it To Me And The World Can’t Take it Away was a favorite in the Jesus Movement along with No Shortage and Evidence.

The album Terminally Weird/Godly Right became even crazier and probably controversial, especially the song The Big A, The Big M about abortion.

He would tackle everything from abortion to Fat Christians and in the country song Ode to The Outlaw, Gary writes about “limp wristed men” and “churches with unisex steeples.” There is even a tune of Gary having a nightmare about himself being cloned and the chore of having to live with Gary S Paxton Daily. Popular songs were here like Blessed Assurance and I’m Anchored in The Rock of Ages. I feel Gary opted for the more terminally weird on this record. Mental Pollution, Progress and Will There Be Hippies in Heaven, are songs that would not be written in such a flavor lyrically until Steve Taylor.

Musically Gary seemed like a genius in many aspects. He was singing, writing and producing Country just as well as Funk, Disco or Gospel which made for an odd mix. Gary also owned his own label, Newpax, that brought us many Christian artists..

Later Gary would be shot (but survive) and would be hurled into Tammy Faye Baker rumors along with other crazy things. Gary is still around today in…of all places Branson, Missouri. Today he is just as eccentric and crazy as ever. Gary S. Paxton is The Jesus Movement’s Uncle that comes over for reunions and we all say “Oh, That’s Gary!  He tells funny stories but don’t leave your food unattended.” -MP

Gary S. Paxton Site

Michael Omartian – White Horse

Posted in Christian Rock, jesus movement, Jesus Music, Legends, Michael Omartian, Music Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2008 by rezband1

If I had time to write down every record or song or artist that Michael Omartian has produced, played an instrument with or just plain worked with in the music industry, I may be here for weeks. So here is a link to show you how multi-talented this guy is: Short List

Micheal Omartian was the musician, producer and arranger of much of the Jesus Music. He was just as respected in the Secular Mainstream as he was in the Jesus Movement. He helped countless numbers of Christian Musicians on there quest for better produced and arranged music. Michael would have popular Jazz-Fusion studio musicians play on his Christian themed songs. Like Larry Carlton, Dean Parks, Lee Ritenour, Ernie Watts, and Abraham Laboriel are just a few Omartian would have grace his albums.

White Horse was on ABC/Dunhill and was released in 1974. Jesus Freaks were excited to finally here some well produced synth oriented Jazz-pop and fusion. The arranging and instrumentation were like none before in Christian Music and Michael’s voice was similar to Peter Gabriel. His keyboard playing was already highly sought after in the secular mainstream and this album shows why, with songs like Jeremiah, Take me down, and Silver Fish. There are horns on this album but they are never overdone and allow the music to breath with all the instruments. Larry Carlton and Dean Parks play some mean leads and you can hear Michaels wife Stormie singing good background vocals and she wrote the lyrics. David Kemper and Ed Greene play some great drums, even Micheal who is not a bad drummer himself plays percussion.

The lyrics tell stories from the Bible and about the struggles of life and the priorities of life when one Journeys with God. Michaels music was an inspiration for engineers, musicians and producers who were smack dab in the Jesus Movement with little to work with financially to make the record grooves sparkle. Michael showed us the way, musically and spiritually. -MP

Michael Omartian – White Horse
1974 ABC Dunhill

1. Jeremiah
2. Fat City
3. The Orphan
4. Silver Fish
5. Add Up the Wonders
6. Take Me Down
7. Right From the Start
8. The Rest Is Up To You
9. White Horse

Michael Omartian – Vocals, Keyboards, Percussion, Steel Drums, Tom-Toms
Larry Carlton – Guitars, Bass
Dean Parks – Guitars, Flute
David Kemper – Drums
David Hungate – Bass
Paul Hubinon – Trumpet, Horns, French Horn
Wilton Felder – Bass
Ed Greene – Drums
King Errison – Congas
Jess Ehrlich – Cello
Don Menza – Tenor Sax
Jackie Kelso – Tenor Sax

Michael at Wikipedia

You can get it here because I can not find it anywhere to buy.

Andrae’ Crouch & The Disciples – Live In London

Posted in Andrae Crouch, Gospel, jesus movement, Jesus Music, Legends, Music Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2008 by rezband1

Where did rock & roll come from?? Well if you ask Elvis, Larry Norman or The Beatles they will probably tell you Black Gospel or Spirituals or Delta Blues. Perhaps Andrae’ Crouch is the Father of Christian Rock? (Norman Fans please don’t throw stuff at the monitor)

COGICS

Andrae’ actually started in 1960 with the group, Church of God in Christ Singers (COGICS). This group also included Billy Preston, “The Fifth Beatle” who also had a few Gospel albums out at the time of the Jesus Movement. Andrae’ Crouch became a key figure in the Jesus Movement from as early as 1969.

Andrae’ Crouch & The Disciples; included Andrae’s twin Sister Sandra, They would put together songs that would cross over from Gospel to Soul, R&B, Funk, Pop & Rock that everyone could relate to. Everyone from Elvis to Church Hymnals had his songs. The flavor and over all feel was a Black Gospel Church service, but the music incorporated so much more. What you got was awe inspiring, exciting and spiritually refreshing.

This stirring of emotions really hit you live. This Double album Live in London (Doesn’t the album cover remind you of Boston album artwork) was Andrae’ Crouch and The Disciples Second Live recording and it smoked. The band was tight and unwavering. You could almost see the sweat on their foreheads as the praised God and shouted, “This isn’t a concert tonight were havin’ CHURCH!” AMEN! You could be dancing one minute and be lifting your hands in Praise and Worship the next. Most of Andraes’ hits are here touching on all different moods and swells. The song list is really big and covers a lot of material being a double album.

The band was at their personal best at this point and London were lucky to have them stop by for such an amazing event. The vocals are moving from Andrae’, Sandra, and the rest. There is preachin’ on here but it is so interwoven in the music you actually feel it’s more of a song and it speaks to you more deeply. The live production is great for 1978. The Drums are crisp and the Keyboards, Vocals, Bass and Guitar are all clear. The audience participation is right where it needs to be for this style of music. I believe this is one of the best Jesus Music live albums anywhere if not the best. When I listen to this double disc I am just not listening to an Album, CD or MP3 I’m havin’ CHURCH! AMEN! -MP

TRACKS:

  1. Introduction
  2. Perfect Peace
  3. I Surrender All
  4. Greetings by Andrae
  5. You Don’t Have to Jump No Pews (I’ve Been Born Again)
  6. Take a Little Time
  7. Tell Them
  8. If I Was a Tree (The Highest Praise)
  9. Hallelujah
  10. Revive Us Again
  11. Power in the Blood
  12. Reprise
  13. I Just Want to Know You
  14. Andrae Talking
  15. Just Like He Said He Would
  16. Andrae Talking
  17. I’ll Keep on Loving You Lord
  18. You Gave to Me
  19. Oh Taste and See
  20. Praise God, Praise God
  21. This Is Another Day
  22. Andrae Talking
  23. Praise God Reprise
  24. Well Done
  25. My Tribute

Andrae Crouch Site- Buy It Here

Soon and Very Soon (Not on Live In London)

Servant – Shallow Water

Posted in Jesus Music, Legends, Music Reviews, Servant with tags , , , , , , , on August 16, 2008 by rezband1


By Andrew Rockwell –
Servant, similar to Chicago’s Resurrection Band, can trace its beginnings back to the Jesus Movement of the late sixties and seventies.  Future Servant members Owen & Sandie Brock and Matt Spransy were brought together for the first time by the European evangelistic rock musical of the early seventies entitled Lonesome Stone.  Once Lonesome Stone came to an end by 1974, however, Owen & Sandie moved to Victoria, British Columbia where the line up to the band – initially using the name Higher Ground – came together over the next several years.  Canadian guitarist Bruce Wright was the first to sign up, while bassist Rob Martens, who had several chance meetings with Wright at a Greyhound bus depot and a guitar shop, joined the band – now officially renamed Servant – in early 1977.  When drummer David Holmes caught a performance of Servant at its coffee shop, the Upper Room drop in center, he immediately offered his services to the group (which was using a conga player at the time).  Lead vocalist Bob Hardy became a Christian after Wright shared his faith with him and subsequently rounded out the bands line up in late 1977.

On a side note, it is worth pointing out that when keyboardist and computer wiz Matt Spransy returned from Europe, he formed a Joliet, Illinois based progressive rock band also called Servant (often referred to as Joliet-Servant) with Doug Pinnick of King’s X fame.  After Joliet-Servant disbanded in 1980, Spransy saw Servant perform live in Chicago and later donated his truck and all his music and sound equipment to the band.  Spransy eventually joined Servant in the summer of 1981 but not in time to record Shallow Water.

With its line up set, Servant began playing live extensively, polishing its skills by performing at Christian coffee houses and colleges, parks and bars and other secular venues.  At around this time an intentional community, The Highway Missionary Society, started to emerge which also included members of the band.  The community, in the words of Owen Brock, “would become foundational as our lifestyles and music reflected our shared beliefs about the world, the church, God’s kingdom, Christian community and compassion and justice for the poor.”  Servant (and the community) eventually relocated to Grant’s Pass, Oregon in April of 1979 and, after becoming the first band to sign with the fledgling Tunesmith label, released its debut Shallow Water the very same year.

What Servant brings to the table on Shallow Water is slightly dated classic rock with a hard rock edge, creating a sound that, while not as heavy as contemporaries such as Resurrection Band, Barnabas and Daniel Band, delivers more than enough upfront guitar driven momentum.  The album stands out with its versatility, delivering several energetic hard rockers (“Jesus Star” and “Fly Away”), a heavy blues based number (“Holy Roller Blues”), a ballad (“Cup Of Water”) and a hard rock anthem (“Water Grave”).  And that versatility keeps the album not only an interesting one but a consistent one as well in that it smoothly flows from one song to the next while including no filler tracks.

Servant features two lead vocalists of equal ability: Bob Hardy contributes a clean, classic tenor voice, while Sandie Brock brings a soulful but raspy vocal delivery.  Bruce Wright proves a more than above average talent on lead guitar (check out his work on “Holy Roller Blues”) in addition to being a creative force in the songwriting department.  Drummer David Holmes and bassist Rob Martens form a tight sounding rhythm section, while Owen Brock rounds out the mix on rhythm guitar.

As one would expect, the production values here are on the thin side.  That being said, the album was recorded on a small Christian label using late seventies technology- so it only makes sense to cut the band a bit of slack.  It is also worth pointing out that Shallow Water was engineered by Bob Rock- who went on to work with the likes of Metallic, Motley Crue and Ski Row.

I would also like to commend Servant not only on the quality of its lyrics but the content as well, the albums compositions combining the need for salvation with strong and at time biting social commentary.

Originally released in only the vinyl and cassette formats, Shallow Water was digitally re-mastered and re-issued on CD in 2006 by Retroactive Records.  Extensive liner notes – including a detailed band history written by founding member Owen Brock – were included along with several never before seen photos of the band.

The albums title track begins to a minute of dialogue between the members of the band that gives way to the sound of waves washing upon the shore and an open air rhythm guitar.  “Shallow Water” proceeds to take off at a hard rocking upbeat tempo, Sandie putting the bands trademark biting – if not sarcastic – social commentary on display upon reaching its first verse with her raspy vocal delivery:

Well I’m sittin’ by the TV and I think I might hit the sack
Life is pretty easy when you’re just kickin’ back
I’ve heard about the starving millions, I got my TV and radio
I know many are called, and I don’t like to stall, but I’m much too busy to go

The song proceeds to gain further momentum upon reaching a chorus that only serves to reinforce the bands message about waking up to the worlds needs:

I’m walking on shallow water, there’s no depth to what I do
If I try to go deeper I might disappear and I’ve got too much to lose

My overall feeling?  Great song and the point is well taken but, guys, don’t you think you are being a tad bit heavy handed here?  The band effectively sums things up during the songs third and final verse:

Now Jesus called to Peter, He said “come take a walk on the sea
Leave your fears in the boat and you will float, just put your trust in me

“Rich Man”, a track originally penned by Sammy Hagar but first recorded by Montrose on its 1976 album Jump On It, is a very nice though somewhat laid back number in which drummer David Holmes handles lead vocal duties with his smooth sounding voice.  The song slowly moves through it verse portions prior to attaining a fleeting but catchy chorus backed by a touch of acoustic guitar.  “Rich Man” is aptly named:

All the sliver’s been varnished, the linen’s white as snow
I’m hiding in the library no one ever goes
And I’m thinking about the wealth in this big old house around me
You know I feel so ashamed and poor because the Spirit hasn’t found me

If I could lend someone a hand I’d be a rich man…

The upbeat hard rocker “Here Comes David” is carried through its first and second verse to an effective blend of rhythm guitar and organ.  Following an instrumental section in which Bruce Wright showcases his abilities on lead guitar, the song briefly stops dead in its tracks for its third verse before closing out its final several seconds in good bluesy fashion.  The subject matter here is self-explanatory:

Well, way back long about 1400 and BC
Just after Moses had parted the Red Sea
The children of Israel were travelin’ light
They were carrying the ark way on into the night
The Lord had places for them to go
And He didn’t have time to stop the show

“Rejoice” was written by Joe Grier and David Eden of “E” band (that featured future Petra vocalist Greg X. Volz) who originally recorded the song for the early seventies compilation Because I Am.  An acoustic guitar stands in support of Bob Hardy’s classic tenor voice during the first and second verse to “Rejoice’.  Abruptly picking up in pace as the rhythm guitar enters the mix, Sandie takes over on lead vocals and helps take the song in acoustic laced fashion to a chorus with a simple but straightforward salvation message:

For you He has paid the price
For you He was sacrificed
Rejoice, rejoice

The song goes on to take on an almost worshipful tone as Sandie sings acapella with only the drums standing in support:

Rejoice…lift your hands and praise the Lord
Rejoice…Clap your hands and praise the Lord
Rejoice…He loves you so He died for you

The album returns to its hard rocking ways with “Jesus Star”.  Things get going to the voice of a DJ as “Jesus Star” gradually builds momentum, a near perfect blend of keyboards and bass guitar pushing the song forward until the rhythm guitar takes over at the start of its first verse.  Tapering off, “Jesus Star” attains a sweeping chorus that starts in laid back fashion only to gain impetus at its end.  “Jesus Star” finds Servant delivering more biting social commentary by, in the bands own words from the liner notes in the recently re-issued CD, “taking a concerned swipe at the luxury of the Christian star making machinery being utilized to promote the simple teachings of Jesus”:

I’m a superstar for Jesus and my day begins at dawn
My time is in demand and my book is going strong
Well, I used to be a nasty, t’was a bad dude in my day
Y’know the press, they love my story
Who says crime don’t pay, no way

I think it is worth taking a closer look at several more lines in the song (please keep in mind that the band is using a great deal of irony to drive its point home):

Oh they need influential people to get the gospel sold
Now there’s fame in my name, and they can use that, use that, on the show

I’m a universal Jesus star and I’m really doing well
Ya know the gospel’s just too hard to take and without me it won’t sell

What else can you say except that Servant was definitely way ahead of its time here…

The album hits its stride upon reaching its excellent second half.

“Water Grave”, a hard rock anthem composted by Steve Chapman (not to be confused with CCM artist Steven Curtis Chapman) and originally recorded by Dogwood and eventually The Imperials, is by far the albums strongest track.  The song opens strongly to an authoritative riff underscored by pounding drums before slowing to a quietly played guitar line for its first verse.  Building momentum throughout its second verse, “Water Grave” culminates for an emotionally charged chorus with huge catchy hook.  “Water Grave” talks about exactly that:

Now in my house there’s been a mercy killing
The man I used to be’s been crucified
And the death of this man is the final way of revealing
In a spiritual way to live I had to die

This song is so good that to this day it still sends shivers down my spine whenever I hear it.  It would be great to hear a current metal/hard rock artist such as Narnia, Theocracy or Rob Rock do a cover of “Water Grave”.

Sandie handles lead vocal duties on “Cup Of Water”, a five minute ballad that slowly moves through its verse portions before the rhythm guitar steps forward in time to fortify an extensive chorus with a no-nonsense message:

Give a cup of water in the name of the Lord
We need to give away all the things that we have stored
Too much time spent thinking of ourselves
When all around us people crying out for help

In the end, “Cup Of Water’, like many of the albums tracks, presents a challenge to wake up to the worlds needs:

Poverty surrounds us and we know it’s here to stay
After all what can we do they live so far away
Hungry little children they’ve got their hands outstretched
Begging for a piece of bread when will their needs be met

Bruce Wright lends his talents on both lead guitar and vocals on the blues based hard rocker “Holy Roller Blues”.  After a blend of edgy rhythm guitar and bluesy lead guitar helps convey the song through its first and second verse, Wright steps forward and graces the scene with more of his razor sharp lead guitar work.  During its third and final verse, “Holy Roller Blues” delivers a message that can be interpreted as being humorous but serious at the same time:

Ya know they call me a “Jesus freak”, yes and I do believe, do believe, its true
Yea, they call me a “Jesus freak” and I do believe, believe it’s true, yes I do

At this point the song closes as Wright asks over an open air rhythm guitar:

I want to ask you one last question before I go…

I said I really want to know
I said I really want to know
Whose freak are you?

“Fly Away” closes the album in a good upbeat and hard rocking manner.  Introduced to a bit of screaming guitar feedback, the song takes off to a brief keyboard solo before a touch of backing vocals stands in support of Sandie during its first and second verse.  The chorus that follows is carried in a catchy and non-stop hook filled fashion.

My final thoughts?  I feel it is important to put things in proper perspective and give credit where credit it due.  Yes, the music sounds somewhat dated and the production is a bit rough around the edges.  That being said, Shallow Water proves quite the consistent listen in that all nine of its tracks hold up under repeated play.  While “Water Grave” is by far the albums strongest compositions, other hard rockers such as “Shallow Water”, “Jesus Star”, “Fly Away” and “Holy Roller Blues” hold up equally well.  “Cup Of Water” stands out not only for the strength of its music by lyrics as well.

Review by: Andrew Rockwell

Track Listing: “Shallow Water” (5:02), “Rich Man” (3:39), “Here Comes David” (3:36), “Rejoice” (4:24), “Jesus Star” (3:36), “Water Grave” (4:51), “Cup Of Water” (4:53), “Holy Roller Blues” (3:33), “Fly Away” (3:52)

Musicians
Sandie Brock – Lead Vocals
Bob Hardy – Lead Vocals
Bruce Wright – Guitars & Vocals
Owen Brock – Guitars
Rob Martens – Bass
David Holmes – Drums & Vocals

Guest Musicians
Robbie King – Organ

Used by permission by AgelicaWarlord.com

Servant official Site

Download Shallow Water at Amazon

Larry Norman – Upon This Rock

Posted in Jesus Music, Larry Norman, Legends, Music Reviews with tags , , , , , , on August 16, 2008 by rezband1

What do you say that already has not been said about this man, that is almost as much of fiction and legend than fact or history. I struggle to put into words the years of curious fascination with Larry Norman, be it his music or life. So I will try to keep this as much a record review as possible although that is hard when reviewing anything by the “Father” of CCM and Christian Rock, a title of which I am not sure Larry was comfortable with.

Before Larry there was not much in the horizon of contemporary based Christian themed music.  If you look real hard, sure you can find some. Nothing as well written, produced or as edgy as Larry for the time, especially his first album Upon This Rock in 1969 and many of the songs from Larry’s Band PEOPLE! in 1968.

In the Beginnings Larry stated what he was trying to do in those early songs, “I wanted to push aside the traditional gospel quartet music, break down the church doors and let the hippies and the prostitutes and other unwashed rabble into the sanctuary…I wanted to talk about feeding the poor, going into the world….[I felt that] most of the modern music was anemic and needed a transfusion.” Soon Upon This Rock became a declaration of forgiveness and stability to a hippie culture trying to find answers in a place where drugs, rock ‘n roll and free love no longer seemed to promote peace but violence, insanity and sexual diseases.

Larry became that figure for a new and radical yet odd generation that were finding a different yet somehow familiar Jesus. That generation began bringing a new language and music to The Church, to the dismay of some. Larry Norman songs were being played in evangelistic movies and sung from church hymnals although some had no idea. The One Way sign was synonymous with Larry’s long blond hair and pointed finger going straight to the sky.

The record Upon This Rock was the catalyst that started much of it. Songs like Sweet, Sweet Song of Salvation and I Wish We’d All Been Ready were the theme songs of The Jesus Movement and everything it seemed to stand for.  The song Moses could easily had been sung in Sunday School and shared Larry’s fascination with humorous tendencies along with Nothing Really Changes. Lyrics on future recordings would become more sarcastic and satirical with age. The Last Supper and Ha Ha World proved what a great lyricist, poet, writer and creative musician Larry could and would be.

If you hear the original capital mixes there is a tad more orchestration and really getting hard to find. The production is very 60’s sounding but not bad. It is all we had and we were fairly proud of it, so I heard from friends and family because I was a whopping three when Upon This Rock was released.

Larry died on February 24th, 2008 after many years of health problems, leaving a large catalogue of music and memories. I realized early that Larry was multidimensional and full of mystery. After Norman’s death his lifes pages have become just as puzzling as when he was among us.

One things for sure, I know the Jesus Movement or Christ-centered music would not have been as creative or impacting without God using Larry Norman or that first album; Upon This Rock.

-Marty Phillips

Larry Norman Pages

Upon This Rock at Amazon