Thinking Out Loud

September 12, 2019

The Importance of Cross Pollination in Worship

John Severns photo, Public Domain

The late Robert Webber will be remembered for encouraging worship leaders along the lines of “Ancient-Future” worship, but churches which are determined not to reach back to the hymns of past centuries might do well to at least heed the principle.

This week we discovered a new song being sung at a church we once visited, while the people were receiving communion. The song immediately resonated with us. After the service had played out, I found the proper title, the original recording artists, and some videos online.

I would teach this song in a heartbeat. It probably fits more into the “Modern Hymns” movement than it does “Modern Worship” but it had enough to offer to have been closing in on 3 million views online.

But then last night, we listened to it again, and followed up by clicking on another song from the same worship team.

Same key. Same rhythm. Same lead vocalist. Same lexical set.

By the latter, I mean that in some faith streams, there is a pressure to say certain things and to say them the same way. Each song is supposed to encapsulate not part, of all of the Gospel™.

We listened to a third song.

Same thing.

At this point, I turned to Mrs. W. and announced, “They’re plagiarizing their own music.”

Truly, it was partly that. It was partially an attempt to copy a style made popular by a particular husband-and-wife couple who are also leaders in this same sub-genre of worship. As the late Larry Norman once said comparing the present state of the arts to the Rennaissance, “Christianity is in an imitative mode.” We find things that are working elsewhere while 90% of the creative possibilities lie under-utilized if not undiscovered.

So to return to Dr. Webber, I think I would still teach the first song because it would form part of a set drawn from a larger catalog of available worship.

But if your church worship is all Hillsong, or all Bethel, or all Elevation, then it’s possibly not a healthy mix. In fact, if the trip back to the hymn area is too long a road to travel, I would suggest at least periodically looking to what you were doing ten years ago, and also occasionally revisiting the founding worship streams for the present movement, such as the original Maranatha! Music, Vineyard and Hosanna Integrity compositions.

There’s a value in cross-pollination.

It was getting late, and part way through the third song, my wife said, “I’m bored. I’m leaving now.” Each one of the songs was beautiful and lyrically rich, but as we would say to the kids at the dessert buffet, “You can only choose one.” We’d only heard three songs and we were starting to O.D. on this particular style.

For some reason, three songs from this worship family was two too many.

July 25, 2014

When Heroes Lose Their Honor

larry norman bw
I do not believe I would be in the place I am today spiritually were it not for the great influence of Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) and the role I got to play in helping introduce the genre to a nation that was hesitant to accept it.  The people I met, the songs and scriptures they were based on, the communities, the whole movement of it all; each of these contributed to my spiritual nurture in ways for which I will be forever grateful.

In general, Larry Norman is considered to have started the thing — referred to as the “father of Jesus music” or even “grandfather of CCM” — but it would be more accurate to say that he popularized it rather than birthed it.1 Larry passed away in 2008.

fallen-allenWhile I was aware that Fallen Angel, a documentary had been produced showing a darker side of Larry Norman there is a difference between knowing about a film and actually seeing it. Imagine! A popular Christian figure having personal issues. That had never happened before.

I think that too often we want to see the good in people and so we miss the clues that things might be wrong. One of Larry’s songs was Baby Out of Wedlock and it was so easy to see this as a piece of poetry, not a personal confession. That very I Corinthians 13 of us.

As it turns out, I still haven’t seen Fallen Angel, but last week we discovered 28 sections of it have been posted on YouTube; some of them have been there quite awhile. The user’s channel is Corrine M. and the documentary excerpts include a number of names I was aware of back in the day, promoters, managers, record company execs, past wives or girlfriends, and Randy Stonehill. Some of these I met through helping three different concert promoters bring Larry, Randy and Tom Howard to Canada, while others I met on a half-dozen extended holidays in Southern California. Collectively, they paint a rather sad picture of a person I could have easily hero-worshiped.

For his part, Stonehill is rather charitable, considering everything. He simply points out the disconnect between the person who led him to Christ and the personality idiosyncrasies about that person that later surfaced. The whole story is so very sad.

Growing up, my father was part of a music team that was associated with a popular Canadian evangelist and pastor who later lost his faith. Charles Templeton’s move from the Christian limelight to bewildered agnosticism is chronicled in many places, including the opening chapter of Lee Stroebel’s The Case for Faith.

One of the takeaways from my childhood that my father made sure I didn’t miss is that you can’t look to people to sustain your faith. They will inevitably let you down. Or take you down. We must instead look to Christ and Christ alone. He is the rock that never rolls.

larry norman in another land 25th frontElsewhere here at Thinking Out Loud:

1Supporting the idea that the roots of Jesus Music were much broader than what might be traced to a single “alpha person” is the YouTube channel Favorite Jesus Music. Scroll down to reveal some of the oldest posted songs. There is another YT channel like this as well; if someone recalls it I will add the link here.

April 10, 2014

Larry Norman: Still Preaching from Beyond the Grave

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:36 am

Our friends at Flagrant Regard* sent us this picture from a Facebook page dedicated to the memory of Christian musician and songwriter Larry Norman:

Larry Norman Gravestone

The caption on Facebook read:

I was able to visit Larry’s grave last week. I was feeling very sad until I went into the office to ask where Larry’s grave was. I was told that it was easy to find because their was a mail box next to the tomb stone. my reply was “of course there is.” (That is so Larry.) I spent a few minutes there where I shed a few tears and reflected on the impact that Larry had on my life, I looked into the mailbox to find it had a message from his family and a bunch of CDs. I left encourage. Larry is still spreading the message of Jesus.

I love the line “Evangelist Without Portfolio.” Shouldn’t that describe all of us?  

  • larry norman bwRelated: Billboard Magazine reported last week that along with U2’s The Joshua Tree, Larry Norman’s Only Visiting This Planet was selected for “long-term preservation” by the Library of Congress.

For our Canadian readers: We still have lots of sealed Larry Norman CDs for sale. See the full list here.


*If you haven’t seen them, here are my two favorite Flagrant Regard videos:

 

 

April 3, 2013

Wednesday Link List

Not new, but too good just to link; you have to watch this…

  • Edith Shaeffer, wife of the late Christian philosopher Francis Shaeffer, has died at age 98
  • A member of The Church on the Way in Valencia,CA — and grandson of Jack Hayford, the church’s founder — is now back home uninjured after being kidnapped last week in Mexico.
  • Singer Carrie Underwood and NHL hockey player Mike Fisher discuss their shared faith in Jesus.
  • Know the song “‘Tis a Gift To Be Simple”?  Terry Mattingly says that definitely applies to the new Pope.
  • Yes the Easter story really happened in a real place, and if you want, you can even get the GPS coordinates.
  • And did they play that “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s a-Coming” video at your church this week? Here’s the text for all you aspiring preachers to give it your best shot.
  • And don’t miss this story about church pyrotechnics gone awry. This could have ended very badly.
  • Also at Parchment Pen: Did the author of the Gospel of Mark sleep in the nude?  The public wants to know.
  • Sandy Patti is headlining at Carnegie Hall with the Manhattan Pops Orchestra and the pianist formerly (and still) known simply as Dino.
  • For 32 years, Rick Warren said ‘no’ to the idea of doing a radio show. But then a year ago
  • A friend of ours, Rick Webster, pastor of The Third Space church in Peterborough has written Introducing Jesus — but he doesn’t use the word pastor, preferring Spiritual Wilderness Guide and Community Architect. We don’t normally do this here, but you can order the book online
  • From the artist who brought us the Reimagine song, a cover of Larry Norman’s UFO song.
  • Canadian author and blogger Sheila Wray-Gregoire says that if you are concerned for someone, you need to ask yourself three questions before you say anything.
  • Another Elevation Church high-tech year end summary. Does your church’s annual report look like this?
  • Maybe some cartoonists can illustrate complex issues, but Dave Walker finds himself somewhat lost for ideas in Uganda
  • Okay, Doug Wilson, curiosity was killing me when you wrote Good Friday and the Death of Same Sex Envy. (And then he also discusses pattern recognition, too.)
  • Shauna Niequist is the wife of a Christian musician and daughter of a world famous pastor. And a published author.  But she still deals with jealousy.
  • Money Where Your Mouth Is Department: Michael Kelley offers us two things we can learn from the Veronica Mars movie campaign on Kickstarter.
  • How about another 30-or-so links, all on the subject of apologetics? And don’t miss the first comment. 
  • Blog flashback — one year ago: James MacDonald’s holiness test.
  • The latest addition to our “lost song” collection at YouTube is this original version of God and Man at Table by Craig Smith. 
  • And I didn’t realize until today how much this song and this song sound alike. Guess some classic gospel music or CCM just flies under the copyright radar.

Top Bible Sales 2012

April 21, 2010

Wednesday Think Links

Here’s the list for Wednesday the 21st: That means spring is one-third gone already!   (Or autumn for all our mates down under.)

  • Gotta love the new style of church names, right?   Okay, maybe not all of them. The blog Out of Ur has put them all in this collection.
  • What’s the worst thing a Methodist preacher can do?   Re-baptize someone, according to this piece by Talbot Davis at The Heart of the Matter.   Mind you, I can think of worse things!
  • Cornerstone Church without Francis Chan?  Tell me he’s just testing his congregation again.  Here’s the 11-minute video at Resurgence.  Or listen to the message on 4/18 here.
  • David Kenney went to church on Good Friday and Easter, only Jesus never died at the one, and never rose again at the other.   In this piece, he suggests that it’s all about life.
  • Tom Datema sets the bar low enough on church “purpose statements” that any local church can attain, in this piece at Brain Twitch.
  • Can you handle one more Jennifer Knapp post.  “…Let’s assume that it is a sin.  Then my question is: Can a sinful person love Jesus?  Oh! We’ve got to be so careful how we answer that question.  To me, the answer is an obvious “yes”.  It is obvious to me because my own life testifies to it.  In every season of my life, I have struggled with different sins. But in all of those seasons I have still loved Jesus.”  Read in full at Upwrite.
  • All those progressive Christian radio stations can keep playing Owl City, now that Adam Young has hit the online pages of Christianity Today.
  • Colin at the blog simply titled Words has an analogy on the subject of “constructive reconstruction” of faith with the piece, My Brother the Bike Mechanic.
  • Jon Acuff from Stuff Christians Like finally gets around to doing a book promo video, but you might draw more from this CNN clip of a piece he appeared in.  (Canadian readers:  Does John Roberts hint at the end that he attends North Point?)
  • Allen Flemming, who claims an intimate knowledge of the family says that Canadian David DiSabatino’s DVD documentary on Larry Norman has got it all wrong, setting up a website refuting Fallen Angel called Failed Angle.
  • Pastor Craig Groeschel of Lifechurch.tv re-establishes his church’s purposes in The Code, a series of 13 statements spread out over three blog posts at Swerve.   You’ll have to click here and then head for April 14, 15 and 16 posts; but they’re good reading.  (Or see them all in the comments section here.)
  • Andrew Jones aka Tall Skinny Kiwi, has a balanced look at discernment ministries in 10 Ways to Keep Watchdogs from Barking.
  • Jason Wert is thankful for Anne Jackson drawing attention to the issue of human trafficking in Moldova, but suggests this event has been going on for a long while, even in the United States.
  • Adrienne at the blog, Contemplative Life, has a short post here introducing a piece by Ann Voskamp about Ann’s daughter’s baptism.   Start here, and then click the link to Ann’s piece.
  • Bill at the blog, A New Language for Christians, puts a more modern spin on the story of the good Samaritan.
  • This week’s cartoon is from Thom Tapp at Baptist Press:

March 29, 2010

Stuff Christians Like: The Epic Novel

Back on January 17th, I promised I’d return to reviewing Stuff Christians Like once the book actually hit the shelves, which I realized on the weekend is now.   This puts me in a rather precarious situation, since my last book review here was Flanders’ Book of Faith. I promise my next review will be all 38 volumes of The Early Church Fathers.   Nonetheless…


“Christianity is in an ‘imitative’ mode.”

So said Larry Norman when we sat down together at midnight in a California recording studio.   He was thinking more about the arts 25 years ago when he noted that.   We tend to borrow forms and concepts from the world and then ‘Christianize’ them.

That was the original premise of the blog, Stuff Christians Like.   Author Jon Acuff — he goes by the more formal Jonathan on the cover — will tell you how the blog borrowed its title from Christian Landers’ Stuff White People Like and then went on for the past two years to become a Top 5 Christian blog listing all the other ways we Christianize things from the broader culture.

But the book version — Stuff Christians Like — is really so much more than that.   It’s the kind of book that comes around every generation or so that totally nails it when it comes to spoofing Christian living in general and church life in particular.   Unlike a number of other books that have recently taken on this challenge, Stuff Christians Like is written by someone within the Evangelical culture, although to my recollection, the book never actually uses that E-word.

Somewhere in our house is a copy of the book Games Christians Play by Judi Culbertson and Patti Bard, published by Harper & Row in either 1967 or 1973, depending on what online source you check.   It is a hilarious title and the time-specific references are overshadowed by the authors ability to get at the underlying motivation for why we do the things we do.  I’ve always wanted to see someone do a modern version of this title, and found it interesting that Harper & Row became HarperCollins which owns Zondervan which published Stuff Christians Like, which continues the tradition.

As I noted in January, the paperback version of SCL is considerably different from the blog, with much new material added, and themes contained on the blog mashed up in concise way.   But at over 200 pages, there is a lot of content to read here, something you don’t always get in books that are shelved among the ‘humor’ genre titles at the Christian bookstore, such as the Youth Specialties title from the 1980s, 101 Things To Do During a Dull Sermon by Tim Sims and Dan Pagoda, recently re-released.   Rather, SCL is funny, but in a ‘makes-you-think’ kind of way.

There are three strengths that Stuff Christians Like has that I want to mention.

Timing.   This book is hitting the stores as North America pulls out of a couple of years of recession, mortgage failures, job losses, etc.    We could use a laugh right now, and there’s never much in the way of competition in the ‘humor’ genre of Christian publishing.

Insight.   The book is partly autobiographical, and Jon Acuff is both a really funny guy and the son of a pastor.   He may attend a megachurch, but apparently it doesn’t stop him from being signed up — “voluntold” — to help with the dishes after a church banquet.  There’s an “everyman” quality to his writing so you might argue that anyone could have written this book, tough I doubt anyone could do it as well.

Fearless.   A lot of Jon’s blog readers are younger; in their teens, twenties or thirties and therefore a lot of them are single.    I thought at one point single readers might wince at the section on ‘the gift of singleness,’ but as an author, Jon isn’t afraid to take risks, or say what everybody else is thinking but afraid to say.

But there’s one giant feature about this book I saved for last.   It’s not overt, in fact it’s buried in a phrase about two-thirds of the way through, where he mentions, “I’m the token Christian at work.”

Think about it…  Given the number of Christian books out there published by theologians, seminary professors, pastors and John Maxwell, it isn’t all that often that you come across a book by someone whose nine-to-five gig is the same of yours; who is living out life in a cubicle, or on the shop floor or behind the cash register just like you are.

To this reader, that’s Stuff Christians Like‘s main asset.   It’s a book about you and me written by someone who is so eerily similar to you and me that it resonates fully.  The book’s major sections deal with God, the Bible, prayer, family life, church, witnessing, etc., but also a section called “My Bad” which is an honest, transparent look at ways we mess up.   The theme in “My Bad” returns with five or six short articles at the end of the book that indicate there’s a lot more depth to this author;  I really hope it’s a clue to what future Jon Acuff books might contain.

Buy this book.   Jon’s wife and two daughters need to eat more than just Skittles.  If you’re not a reader of the SCL blog, click here and bookmark the site, which is updated daily.

February 21, 2010

It’s Almost Blogtime

Filed under: parenting, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:45 am

Traffic here on the blog was down considerably yesterday, in the 400 page-view range.   It always goes down on weekends.   But not for everyone.   Yesterday, about 1,200 people went to the site It’s Almost Naptime to read a story about goldfish, despite my attempts at hard-hitting journalism here at Thinking Out Loud.     Maybe I should write about the fish our son brought home several years ago.

He and his brother were attending an AWANA club, and we were waiting to pick them up when I saw the first kid emerging with a plastic bag oozing water and fish and I thought, “I hope our kid didn’t win one of those.’

He did.  So on the way home we made a quick stop at a 24-hour store that sells pet supplies, the upscale La Mart de Wal, and bought a relatively inexpensive aquarium, complete with all the fixings.

“Goldie” — who I assure you was not named after Ms. Hawn, even though I enjoyed the films she did with Chevy Chase — was predicted to last several weeks before the inevitable burial at flush sea.  Instead it lasted four years.

That’s four years of food.   Four years of whatever electricity the filter used.   Four years of arranging for the person who was coming in to feed the cats to also remember to feed the fish.    Goldie set some kind of record I’m sure among the common household varieties of its species, especially when you consider it did not get to enjoy the company of a friend (and the fact we bought the extra-small fish residence that night at La Mart de Wal).   Whatever God said about it not being good for fish to be alone was apparently somewhat lost on us.   At least we can take heart in the fact that we were obviously good overseers in terms of food and water changes, and whatever directive God gave humankind in terms of caring for animals.   We passed with flying colors.

So there’s my goldfish story.    It worked for Missy and Walker and the kids at It’s Almost Naptime, so I expect the same results here.   At least a thousand hits today.    Or maybe, at the very least, Missy will share her stat secret!

Related post on this blog — July 28/09 — Naptime and Blog Stats


For my Canadian readers, you’ll notice a new button on the sidebar regarding Larry Norman CDs.    We’ve picked up a bunch of these on a last-chance deal and are offering them first to Thinking Out Loud readers in this country at their former Canadian list price with a $5 flat rate shipping deal.   Or you can simply click here.


Weekend readers:
Come back on Wednesdays and check out the link lists.   Connect to a variety of websites and blogs of Christian interest.   And feel free to suggest any recent links we might not know about.

February 1, 2010

Christian Musician Tom Howard

Filed under: music, worship — Tags: , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:29 pm

First the Solid Rock community lost Mark Heard.  Then there was the more recent death of Larry Norman.   This weekend we learned of the passing of pianist, composer and arranger Tom Howard at age 59, while hiking with his wife.

A Wikipedia article about him lists his many albums, plus a much, much longer list of projects to which he contributed; but it’s the early albums that have stuck in the minds and hearts of those who were actively involved in the early days of what was then termed “Jesus Music,” now called Contemporary Christian Music.

  • View from the Bridge, 1977, Solid Rock Records
  • Danger in Loving You, 1981, NewPax Records
  • One by One, Tom Howard & Billy Batstone, 1985, A&S Records/Maranatha! Music
  • The Harvest, (Colours Series), 1985 Maranatha! Music (reissued in 2001 on Maranatha!’s Sanctuary series under the title Reflection)Commentary: This solo album is one of the most delightful solo piano albums I have ever heard, and it has provided a great deal of enjoyment and inspiration to me over the years. To my knowledge, it is no longer in distribution, but it should be. I have yet to meet anyone else who knows Tom Howard’s music, but they should.
  • The Hidden Passage, Tom Howard Ensemble, 1986, Maranatha! Music (reissued on Maranatha!’s Sanctuary series under the title Shelter)
  • Solo Piano, 1987, Horizon/Maranatha! Music (reissued in 2000 on Maranatha!’s Sanctuary series under the title Serenity)
  • Bamboo in Winter, 1991, Myrrh Records
  • Beyond the Barriers, 1992, Word Records/Epic Records
  • Breathe, 2006, Vineyard Music
  • Tom Howard – Piano Christmas: Fifteen Classic Piano Carols, 2009, Kingsway Music

The article also goes on to mention the two projects Tom did for painter Thomas Kinkade.

Blogger Ray Fowler is one of the few to mention Tom’s death online.    I want to thank Ray for the two pictures above, but mostly I want to thank him for posting two of the finest songs that Tom Howard contributed to the CCM genre.

I taught “All Through The Day” to my kids,

All through the day
All through the night
Dwell in his promises
Walk in His light

Darkness will flee
At His command
All through the day and night
We’re in His hands.

And “One More Reason” will always be my all time favorite worship song  — even though it predates the modern worship genre — because of the raw honesty of its expression of gratitude back to God:

The blue Pacific on a summer’s day
Rushing in to meet the yellow sand
The view’s terrific I see Monterrey
Lookin’ mighty fine from where I stand
The water dances in the sun’s reflection
A thousand silver birds fly in my direction
Now isn’t it beauty, isn’t it sweet perfection?

And it’s one more reason to praise Your name
One more reason to love You, Father
The sky is singing and the earth proclaims
Always one more reason to praise Your name.

Click here to listen to both songs.   Tom will be missed.

March 11, 2009

Larry Norman Documentary Premieres in San Jose

fallen-allenCanadian David Di Sabatino, the man who brought us a unique glimpse into the early days of the Jesus movement through his documentary of hippie preacher Lonnie Frisbee, is back again, this time with Fallen Angel, an honest look at the life of Jesus Music pioneer Larry Norman.

As a documentary film-maker, Di Sabatino doesn’t act under a strict mandate to paint a rosy picture of Norman, citing examples from the Bible of people who God used in unusual circumstances and despite unusual personalities, in this interview with blogger Michael Newnham who blogs as Phoenix Preacher:

I think that if you or I met the prophet Ezekiel or Hosea brought his whore wife over for dinner or John the Baptist sat at your table and demanded to be fed locusts and honey, we’d call the cops never mind anathematize them. I always ask people when they start parsing the life of Elvis or Bono or some lesser mortals and whether they are heaven bound what their reaction would be if the Apostle Paul showed up a few years after his conversion to speak in your hometown church, and he had been responsible for killing your parents. Not likely you’d be dropping a bundle in the offering that night.

God uses some of the most screwed up people to do his bidding. I think that story is sometimes tough to deal with. I sure don’t like it at times, but nobody left me in charge.

Much of what’s online right now is from people who, like me, haven’t seen the finished production.    Blogger Jon Reid tries to get the heart of the issue in this post where he begins, “Was Larry Norman a messenger of God, or was he a dick?”    Okay…  (UPDATE: In fairness, Jon’s full review — a little less provocative — is now available here, and well worth reading.) But the San Jose Mercury News was at the premiere and by reporter Shay Quillen’s account, the event drew a rather unique audience:

When Cinequest premiered “Fallen Angel: The Outlaw Larry Norman” Sunday at the San Jose Repertory Theatre, the conversations afterward were as fascinating as the riveting documentary on the screen. Norman, widely regarded as the father of Christian rock, got his first taste of fame in the late 1960s as a member of the San Jose band People, which scored a big hit with “I Love You.” So he’s got a lot of friends and fans in the area, as well as a lot of people who came to have serious differences with him. (As the movie made clear, many people fall in all three categories.) And a lot of ‘em came out for the premiere.

Sitting directly in front of me was Randy Stonehill, the San Jose-raised Christian rock pioneer who was led to Jesus and given his start in the music business by Norman, and who sat for hours of interviews for the movie. Also present was Norman’s first wife, Pamela, as well as Jennifer Wallace and Daniel Robinson, the Australian mother and son battling for recognition that Norman was the boy’s father. Denny Fridkin and Gene Mason from People were there, as well as lots of movers and shakers from the Christian music industry. And the filmmaker, David DiSabatino, was on hand to answer questions about a movie that is sure to be controversial among those who care about Norman and his music…

…continue reading more of that report here.

On the webpage for MetroActive, also in San Jose, reporter Richard Von Busack seems to see an inherent challenge as Di Sabatino, the fan, must become Di Sabatino, the journalist:

…Unfortunately, the preponderance of the evidence is that Norman was no more moral than any other easily tempted, world-famous musician…

…This is bad news for Di Sabatino to deliver, because he is a fan…

…The devout Di Sabatino worked very hard on this documentary, just as he did on his fascinating Frisbee: The Life and Death of a Hippie Preacher. He must be considered an expert on the Jesus Freak epoch, and this warts-and-all study of Norman must be considered definitive…

You can read that one in its original form here, complete with the 411 on the moral temptations being referred to.

BTW, the last two items surfaced in a Google News search for both Norman and the documentary title; if you use a regular Google search, you actually find over a thousand matches.   Already.

My own contact with Larry was on and off during those days.   One day, while staying at the home of Alex MacDougall (Daniel Amos) Larry arrived at noon to do about six full loads of laundry.   I’m not sure if he had been on tour or had simply got behind on his laundry the way he had gotten behind on his sleep:  booking overnight sessions at Costa Mesa’s Whitefield Studios when the rates were lower.   Anyway, Larry set his alarm clock to go off every half hour so he could take laundry from the washer to the dryer, and then would fall back asleep.   (Note:  This is not healthy.)

My other Larry story stems from a night we had worked on a concert in St. Catharines, Ontario.   The promoter took us all out for a healthy dinner (french fries, hamburgers, french fries, coke and french fries) at the only place he knew to be open at midnight in that town:  a bowling alley.   I think either Randy Stonehill or Tom Howard was with us that night; and each time the musical guests from Saturday Night Live showed up on the television, Larry ran frantically toward the screen; such was his desire to keep up with new bands and new sounds.

larry-norman-in-another-land-25th-frontOf all Larry’s “product” output, my favorite is In Another Land, often called “the Sargent Pepper of Christian music.”    I use the word “product” that way because for me, the exhaustive notes accompanying the album were as meaningful and valuable to me as the recording itself.   I always felt Larry should have done a book or two, and I told him so several times.   The notes in his documentary of faith themes in secular music, the album Streams of White Light Into Corners of Darkness, are equally illuminating.  (Pun on title intended.)

David DiSabatino’s Lonnie Frisbee project has been linked on this blog for awhile now.   This week we’ll be adding the link to Fallen Angel.    I hope to see the film soon, and may get back to you again when and if I do.

Graphics:  Documentary cover and one of the many covers of Larry Norman’s landmark album.   Search it out online and notice the many different versions, though the images are actually a mix of vinyl and CD product.

Related post on this blog – Frisbee – documentary review – July 7, ’08

Related post on this blog – Remembering Larry Norman – February 25, ’08

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