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About The Chapin Brothers

The Chapin Brothers are primarily known as the group with which Harry Chapin performed and recorded before establishing a solo career. Harry and brothers Tom Chapin and Steve Chapin began performing in the New York area as a Kingston Trio-styled folk threesome in the late '50s. By 1966, their father, Jim Chapin, was added on drums, and they attracted some record-company interest. The label they went with, however, could have hardly been more low-profile. Music Minus One was a company specializing in play-along records missing an instrument, on which novices could accompany the music. They put the Chapin Brothers on a division they were creating for pop music, Rock-Land, and their rare LP Chapin Music! appeared at the end of 1966.

Although it's sometimes assumed that the album is a folk or folk-rock record owing to the brothers' background, in fact it's a fairly diverse if callow rock record. Harry Chapin wrote just four of the songs, which tend to be among the more folk-rockish of the numbers. Other tracks tend toward straight if slightly crudely produced pop/rock, occasionally even slanting toward garage pop, though folky vocal harmonies can usually be heard. There's also an acoustic Kingston Trio-styled track and another that's reminiscent of smooth, jazzy late-'50s pop vocal groups. It almost sounds as if some of the material was recorded during different eras, and in late 1966, it sounded a little outdated even for the folk-rock style, though not as anachronistic as the acoustic folk revival.

Although the Chapin Brothers had some television exposure around this time on The Merv Griffin Show and Canada's Let's Sing Out, the album was heard by few and is quite rare today. The chronology is vague, but the Chapin Brothers drifted apart soon after that, though actually they released a couple non-LP singles as well. Tom Chapin and Steve Chapin formed the Beautiful People afterward, in which Harry Chapin played bass. In the late '60s, Tom and Steve formed the Chapins, who had a rare single on Epic; but Harry was not an official part of the Chapins, although he wrote material for them. ~ Richie Unterberger

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