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"He's always the "Old Folkie." Singing for some hopeless cause. Shouting at the mountain top. The wind is his only applause."
   - Harry Chapin

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Home > Music > Six String Orchestra

Six String Orchestra
by Harry Chapin

The very day I purchased it,
I christened my guitar
as my monophonic symphony,
six string orchestra

In my room I'd practice late,
they'd leave me alone.
My mother said, "You're nothing yet,
to make the folks write home."

I'd play at all the talent nights,
I'd finish, they'd applaud.
Some called it muffled laughter,
I just figured they were awed.

So I went up for an encore,
but they screamed they'd had enough.
Or maybe I just need a group
to help me do my stuff.

Chorus:

And so I'd dream a bass will join me,
and fill the bottom in. And maybe now some lead guitar
so it would not sound so thin.
I need some drums to set the beat
and help me keep in time.
And way back in the distance,
some strings would sound so fine.

And we would play together,
like fine musicians should,
And it would sound like music,
and the music would sound good.
But in real life I'm stuck with
that same old formula,
me and my monophonic symphony,
six string orchestra.

Oh, I write love songs for my favorite girl
and sing them soft and slow.
But before I get to finish,
she says she has to go.
She's nice and says "Excuse me,
I've got to find a bar,
I think I need refreshment,
for I hear you play guitar."

Oh I sent a demo tape I made
to the record companies.
Two came back address unknown,
one came back C.O.D.

Of course I got form letters,
all saying pleasant things.
Like suggesting I should find a trade
where I would not have to sing.

Chorus

And so I'd dream a bass will join me,
and fill the bottom in.
And maybe now some lead guitar
so it would not sound so thin.
I need some drums to set the beat
and help me keep in time.
And way back in the distance,
some strings would sound so fine.
And it would sound like music,
and the music would sound good.
But in real life I'm stuck with
that same old formula,
me and my monophonic symphony,
six string orchestra.

I've been taking guitar lessons,
but my teacher just took leave.
It was something about a break down,
or needing a reprieve.

I know I found my future,
so I will persevere
and hold onto my dream of
making music to their ears.

Chorus.

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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.

 

 


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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!