Norman Greenbaum Spirit in the Sky [Varese]
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- Released: June 5, 2001
- Originally Released: 2001
- Label: Varese Fontana
Record Collector (magazine) - p.903 stars out of 5 -- "Norman mined the same sly groove as Creedence Clearwater Revival and Canned Heat, getting down and dirty on 'Lucille Got STealed' and trying his hand at horn-laden Stax-like soul on 'Junior Cadillac.'"
- 1.Junior Cadillac
- 2.Spirit in the Sky
- 5.Alice Bodine
- 6.Tars of India
- 7.The Power
- 8.Good Lookin' Woman
- 9.Milk Cow
- 11.School for Sweet Talk - (bonus track)
- 12.Children of Paradise - (bonus track)
- 13.Canned Ham - (bonus track)
- 14.Save Me for a Rainy Day - (previously unreleased, demo, bonus track)
- 15.Chocolate Milk - (previously unreleased, demo, bonus track)
- 16.Spirit in the Sky - (previously unreleased, demo, bonus track)
- 17.Norman Greenbaum Radio Promo - (bonus track)
Personnel includes: Norman Greenbaum (vocals); Norman Mayell, Douglas Killmer, Robbie Robinson, Russell Dashiell, Dan Patiris, John Coppola, Chuck Peterson, Bill Sabatini, William Truckaway.
Includes liner notes by Wayne Jancik.
Personnel: Norman Greenbaum (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Russell DaShiell, Robbie Robinson (guitar); William Truckaway (synthesizer); Norman Mayell (drums).
Audio Remasterer: Daniel Hersch.
Liner Note Author: Wayne Jancik.
Photographer: Norman Greenbaum.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Dan Padiris; Bill Sabatini; Charles Peterson ; John Coppola .
Norman Greenbaum was much stranger than his big hit "Spirit in the Sky" would suggest. Then again, that tune -- a confident, fuzz-toned paean to God, that sprit in the sky -- is hardly the most conventional of '70s AM anthems, so perhaps it isn't surprising that the album bearing the same title is all over the map, with sub-War low-riding anthems ("Junior Cadillac"), singer/songwriter introspection, eerie post-psychedelic pop (the genuinely unsettling "Marcy"), and utter oddities ("Canned Ham"). That, of course, means that it's far more fascinating than many soft rock curiosities of the early '70s, and the near-schizophrenic cavalcade of material means that the record doesn't hold together, but that's part of what makes it worth hearing. And while Greenbaum wasn't exactly a consistent songwriter, he did hit the mark several times ("Skyline," "Canned Ham," "Jubilee," and "Junior Cadillac" are all strong), and even the misfires are interesting and well-crafted, at least in terms of its early-'70s peers. This doesn't mean that it's a lost gem, but for listeners who want to dig into early '70s AM pop and soft rock, it's certainly worth hearing. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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