251. Something New Under the Son – Larry Norman
SOMETHING NEW UNDER THE SON (1981)
Though recorded in 1976 this classic album sis not really see the light of day until 1981. By then Solid rock has pretty much folded and this “Solid Rock” release introduced Phydeaux Records, though the album retains a Solid Rock release number. At the time of the release Norman was the only artists remaining on Solid Rock.
Recorded and released amidst a time of turmoil, this album is considered by many to be one of Norman’s most auto-biographical, even though Norman disagreed with that assertion. Suffice it so say, the album does remain one of the great blues albums not only of Norman’s illustrative career but in the history of CCM. Gritty, street, and rough and tough, the album sparked controversy as a result of everything from the album cover tot he last note. It also sparked creative juices of artists all over Christendom.
The album starts with “Hard Luck and Bad News,” a groovin’ blues tune about a despondent crooner whose life is falling apart at the seams. Great Jon Linn guitar work punctuates the tune with an uncommon ferocity within the genre. Throughout Norman’s career there have been constant comparisons to The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. Here and on the rest of the record, those comparisons take on a whole new relevance.
Feelin’ So Bad follows a “stalking lover” who discovers his true love has found a new man. Jesus. “I Feel Like Dying,” one of the “heaviest” Norman compositions add The Doors and psychedelia to the above comparisons. Born to Be Unlucky shows the Norman’s great grasp of blues and the lyrical flow it demands.
The centerpiece of the concept album is “Watch What You’re Doing,” which more than any other song shows Norman’s dry wit and caustic humor. Finding humor amidst the turmoil of a difficult life, Norman details the foibles of several characters whose sin and worries consume them. There is a great guitar and harmonic work on this one.
Nightmare #97 introduces Phydeaux in its opening line and shows Norman to be the great storyteller he was. The album closes with “Let the Tape Keep Rolling,” the most clearly and admitted auto-biographical song on the album.The retelling of the early recording and the birth of Norman’s musical career became a huge live song with extended versions recorded and released. It’s also the most commercially viable song on the record and a total Rolling Stone rip!
In the long run the album may remain one of Norman’s most consistent works and a true classic.