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"There's been a lot of talk about 'How can we fill Harry's shoes?' The answer to that is that the challenge of Harry's life was NOT one of 'following in his footsteps' or 'filling his shoes.' The challenge is in filling our OWN shoes: We carry on Harry's work not just because we loved and admired him. We do so because it is the proper work of us all ..."
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Home > Music > Mercenaries

Mercenaries
by Harry Chapin

It's a slow motion night
In the hot city lights
Past time when the good folks
Are snoring in bed
On a loose-jointed cruise
To recolor your blues
With illegal notions alive,
Alive in your head

You are back from some war
That you've been fighting for
Some old blue blood bastard
In a dark pinstripe suit
and the word from your loins
Has your mind in your groin
And your back pocket burning with blood
Blood money loot

So, you walk past the glow
Of the flicker-picture shows
Where the raincoat men wait
For a child to come by
And the women in doorways
Who have nothing to say
'Cause your money is talking
To the ones that you would try

She owns the block
With the dead pawnshop clock
She's the answer to dreams
That you pay to come true
She's got no heart of gold
But that's not what she's sold
She just sees herself doing what she
What she has to do

And she's all that you're hoping
As her coat falls open
Give her bread she leads you
To a bed on the floor
Where for ten million years
And through ten billion tears
The armies of bootmen have marched
Back from their wars

She's in that state of grace
Before time finds her face
With a mind of old wisdoms
And a body still young
And she tastes as sweet
As a child's chocolate
Before the butts and the whiskey
Had wasted the taste of your tongue

Play the music again
Of the grey-stubble men
That groaning blue symphony
Moans evermore
And you watch as she fakes it
And of course you just take it
She's better than others
You never paid money for

You've used up your booty
The girl's done her duty
The turnstile has turned
And you learn you are done
You're back on the street
Joining fresh marching feet
You see more soldiers coming
And your girl chooses one

And the medic has brought
Shots for what you have caught
Your leave is all over
You're back on the line
And the joke in the trenches
Of the hot blooded wenches
And the next thing that you'll do
When they next give you the tim.

And you're back in your army
Back shedding red blood
And you dream of the girl
As you sleep in the mud
And you know you'd swap with her
If the deal could be made
'Cause you'd rather be working at love
Love as your trade

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"Oh, if a man tried to take his time on earth and prove before he died what one man's life could be worth, I wonder what would happen to this world?" -- Harry Chapin, 1942-1981.

 

 


Harry's Music
Bottom Line Encore Collection
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Chapin Music
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Cotton Patch Gospel
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Dance Band On The Titanic*
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Essentials
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Gold Medal Collection
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Greatest Stories Live*
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Harry Chapin Tribute
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Heads & Tales
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Last Protest Singer
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Legends Of Lost & Found*
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Living Room Suite
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On The Road To Kingdom Come
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Portrait Gallery
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Sequel
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Short Stories
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Sniper & Other Love Songs
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Songwriter
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Story of a Life
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Verities & Balderdash
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* = Highly Recommended

The Latest Release

Sniper & Other Love Songs

 
[iTunes]

In 1972, Harry released Sniper & Other Love Songs. Thirty years would pass before the album would ever reach the CD format. Sniper was finally re-released in June, 2002.

Originally given a working title of Sweet City Suite, the album tells the story of various characters one might run into in a city. The album features the original studio versions of Chapin classics "A Better Place to Be" and "Circle." But perhaps more importantly (as those songs are already well-distributed on compilation CDs), the album features seemingly lost Chapin stories, including "And the Baby Never Cries," "Burning Herself," "Barefoot Boy," and "Woman Child."

Sniper is for the seasoned Chapin fan. New fans would do better to check out Greatest Stories Live. But for Chapin fans who have reached the level of the Dance Band on the Titanic album, this is the next step. Slightly over-produced and having a little of the "forced" feel that some of Harry's studio albums possess, this album does not capture the powerfully live Harry Chapin. Nonetheless, it captures Harry's great iconoclastic songwriting--Harry takes the story song to new heights here. But the album works best for those ready for it; don't buy it until you are ready to appreciate it!