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"More than any other entertainer in his generation, Harry was a citizen-artist."
- Ralph Nader & Mark Green
> Music >
by Harry Chapin
I was cramped into a coffee house pew
two dollar coke in my hand
listening to the music run
through and out of a drowning man.
Ten years ago I first heard him singing
to a screaming crazy crowd
now there's thirteen loyal people
trying to sound that loud.
And I wonder as I watch him now
why his songs don't turn me on.
He got me into music
where has the fragile magic gone?
And all the changes
keep on changing
and the good old days
they say they're gone.
Only wise men
and some new born fools
say they know what's going on.
But I sometimes think the difference is
just in how I think and see
and the only changes going on
are going on in me.
There was you and Fifth avenue
before there were lies
and all my hot blood schemes
and teenage dreams
flashed before my eyes.
I did not think I had a chance
you had to prove me wrong
it took a year and a half
of tears and laughs
before you moved along.
And now these long years later
when I see you once again
I wonder what you saw in me
when you loved me way back then.
There I was in you Air Force
Uncle Sam, you owned my brain.
I tried to see myself as a sex mad savior
sailing on a silver plane.
I started out to do my duty
ended up just doing time.
What is it about you
my mother of a country
that makes so many change our minds.
You had me on your honor roll
for your dream I would die
now I would not even cross the street
to help you live a lie.
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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!