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I've been a big fan of Harry Chapin's since the 70s, when
"Balderdash" was just released. I always felt in my heart he was some sort
of prophet. I was privileged to see two Harry Chapin concerts. The first
was at Constitution Hall in D.C. -- I went with my mom. During
intermission, Harry did one of his sit on the stage and talk with people
things, gathering donations for Food Year(?) charity. After the show, we
were wandering around behind the theater looking for our car and there was
Harry walking straight for me! I was a very shy teenager and I did
something totally out of character - I stuck my hand out. He shook it.
Wasn't really paying attention to me, but I was struck at the time how
accessible he was. I can't think of another rock star/group that would
have happened with, then or now.
The second time was at my college in Florida. He and Tom were selling
kisses after the show for $5.00 for the Food Year. I went for both of 'em.
Best 10 bucks I ever spent.
Some people remember exactly what they were doing and how they felt on the
day Kennedy was shot. For me, it will always be the day I was watching the
news and heard Harry had died in the car crash. I even still remember the
pictures of his crumpled car.
I just try and remember what a terrific legacy he left behind.
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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!