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Top Customer Reviews
Harry was a special guy. Flawed like the rest of us and he knew it and accepted it. Idealistic but with an awareness of the cruelty of the world. Taught me that the greatest risk isn't looking foolish for trying something that I might not be good at...but that the greatest risk might be getting old and realizing that I never did what I really wanted.
I was 17 years old in 1978 when I saw Harry perform live. My uncle was a musician who had become a local celebrity in upstate NY and who had performed in the studio with a number of well known acts. He mentioned to me that he knew Harry and I should be sure to hang out after the concert because he would talk to each and every fan and loved to mix. Sure enough, after the show (which was amazing...I still remember the guy running up from the crowd, putting his arm around Harry so his friend could take a picture...Harry stopped singing and just started laughing and commenting "I wish I had what you must have smoked"), Harry came out to talk with everyone and sign autographs. Put his hand on my shoulder as he walked in and he stopped and talked to me for quite a while...and when I mentioned my uncle he just laughed out loud and said, "Hell yes, I know him, he was our first lead guitar player back in the days of the Chapin brothers...". What a moment for a 17 year old kid in front of a bunch of buddies.Read more ›
For those who feel for some unexplainable reason that they only need to have one Harry Chapin album in their CD collection, "Greatest Stories Live" would be my recommendation for that single disc. The man came alive while performing, so there is no better album for remembering Harry where he belongs, on stage, playing and singing his songs until his voice gave out. Given his tragic death, the blurred photograph of Harry on the album cover seems especially poignant. When first released on CD two of the three studio songs on the album, "Love Is Just Another Word" and "She Is Always Seventeen," were cut due to time restrictions. The latter is especially missed and will hopefully be included in the near future.
Chapin makes this comment after signalling his band to a halt during the intro to the opener "Dreams Go By", because of a banjo solo in that part, played vibrato mandolin style. A dead giveaway right from the start of how this live set is going to feature his often humorous approach to the material. This is also reflected later on in the set in this version of the song "30,000 Pounds Of Bananas", in which Chapin makes a departure just before the last verse, relating his trials and tribulations in coming up with that particular verse. But Chapin was always more than a comedian with a guitar--his material was mostly heartfelt and often as sentimental as anything the younger Billy Joel ever wrote. Quite at odds with the rules of pop music, Chapin came across more affable than charismatic. In that brief period of musical history, you didn't have to be a babe magnet to be a star. Today people think of the "Singer Songwriter Era" as an aberration. After all, pop music is supposed to be about sex or anger, right? Or if there's a "folkie" dimension to it as in the case of artists like Chapin, a sociology or poli-sci aspect. Or if you don't have any of that, you have to be like Joni Mitchell and be versatile in style and/ or one hell of a player. Harry wasn't any of those things. His guitar style was basic accompanist, his songs were more prosaic than poetic. Their arrangements were pretty much predictable. His voice was limited in range and tonal color (just like the man himself says of "Mr. Tanner", a song also present here). He didn't have the melodramatic, almost operatic delivery of Texan contemporary Shawn Phillips.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
His very best album. Ever. We lost a great musician when he was taken from us too young.Published 1 month ago by Melissa E. Collins
A great live recording, no doubt about that. But the CD runs two songs short of the original double album. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Tom E. DeShovelle
Harry Chapin was playing in Charlotte, NC in August of 1977---I wanted to go August 20--was pregnant ( and the 20th was my BDay ) and my Dad, a Doctor and my Husband did not want... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Henriette Hall