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Harry in Alabama
Okay, here it is (for whatever it's worth):
Harry came to Montgomery, AL in the late 70's. I was no more than 19. As
big fans my best friend and I bought tickets expecting the time of our
We show up at the Civic Center and out comes Harry onto the stage. Just
Harry. No band, no special effects, nothing. I remember thinking that the
performance wasn't going to live up to my expectations. Wrong. Harry, all
alone on the stage, gave the single finest performance I have ever
witnessed. He took a few thousand people and made all of us feel as though
we were his best friend, just over to the house for a few songs, a little
conversation and lots of laughs. It was truly amazing.
Afterwards, in the lobby, Harry himself, not a roady, was standing behind a
folding table selling T-shirts, books and other items to help raise money to
feed the hungry. I stepped up and bought Harry's book of poems. He shook
my hand, looked me in the eye and said, "thank you, brother." For that
split second Harry made me feel as though I were the only person there with
him. To me, that ability to connect with you was his greatest gift.
I'm 41 years old, now. That evening still ranks among the finest of my
life. I still listen to Harry, I still miss him and I still love him.
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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.
The Latest Release
Sniper & Other Love Songs
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
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!