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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Harry Chapin

Some More Stories: Live At Radio Bremen 1977

Review by Gary Hill

It might be obvious, but I’ve been a fan of the song “Cat’s Cradle” since I first heard it. I really hadn’t paid attention to a lot of Harry Chapin’s other work, though. I have to say that I was surprised by this set. It rocks out a lot more than I thought it would. I was expecting all of it to be just Chapin and his guitar. Instead we get full band arrangements that often get very theatrical. This isn’t all my kind of thing, but it’s all well done.

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Track by Track Review
Shooting Star
I love the acoustic guitar melody at the heart of this tune. The number is a strong folk ballad. The song gets intensified further down the road as other instruments are added to the mix. This really is a compelling number and a great choice for opener. It has a melancholy slice of life vibe to it.
This is not so much a folk song as it is a mainstream rocker. There are bits (like the doo wop vocals) that even make me think of Frank Zappa just a bit. This is a Harry Chapin concert, but it is very much a band effort.
Harry Chapin Introducing the Band
This cut is literally what it says it is. There is some music in the background. This is about three-minutes long.
Blues Man
This tune is a blues-based number, but you probably get that from the title, right? It’s done with a theatrical style. It really grows and evolves. The multi-part vocal arrangement is cool, and there is some killer electric guitar in the mix, too.
Corey's Coming
Coming in more folk based, the vocal performance is really powerful even in the early sections of the track. As one expects from Chapin, the lyrics tell a real slice-of-life story. The arrangement builds out to more of a rock number. Lots of layers of instrumentation add to the magic. It’s a powerful tune and a potent performance.
Dance Band on the Titanic
While there is a bit of country rock sound built into this, the hard rocking edges work really well. I love the guitar soloing on the piece, and the whole thing has plenty of cool and energy. It’s actually one of the highlights here as far as I’m concerned.
Mr. Tanner
This has more of an adult contemporary vibe. I like the multi-layered vocal arrangement and some of the instrumental stuff, but this isn’t one of my favorites here.
Taxi / Six-String Orchestra
Starting with a more pure folk music approach, this cut grows outward from there as it evolves. There is an almost proggy element to it in some ways. This isn’t one of my favorites of the set, but it has its charms.
Dirty Old Man
This is a blues number that Chapin plays as an example of the bad songs he used to write. It’s a short one.
If My Mary Were Here
Gentle, folk based and pretty, this is another slice-of-life tune.
Dreams Go By
A bouncy kind of number, this has a lot of energy and some catchy hooks. It’s a fun song. 
Mail Order Annie
There is a long introduction for this song, explaining the story behind it. This is a folk based number that has a lush arrangement. It’s a slow moving ballad.
Let Time Go Lightly
This song was written by Harry Chapin’s brother Steve and features him. It’s a strong ballad that has a lot going for it. I think it’s actually one of my favorites of the whole show.
30.000 Pounds of Bananas
Folk and country sounds are on display here. This is a playful number that’s fun, but not really my kind of thing. According to the introduction, it was written for Johnny Cash, but he didn’t do it. This gets quite theatrical. A couple of the fast-paced sections later feature some tasty country guitar, and the audience claps along at times. This is a bit odd, but it works pretty well.

Cat's in the Cradle
This is the highlight for me. It is a safe bet you know this song. They put in a great live performance here. They really capture the magic you’d expect. The lyrics to this are so poignant. This makes a great closing for the show.
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