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Greatest Stories - Live

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Album Review

Recorded in November 1975, Greatest Stories Live showcases the legendary live performance styles of acoustic troubadour and noted activist Harry Chapin. Recorded over three nights on-stage in California, the double-LP set features all the hits as well as a few notable album cuts that put the musician's musical and personal skills out on the line for all to see. There are the obvious inclusions of touching hits, like "W*O*L*D," "Taxi," and of course the father-son anthem "Cats in the Cradle." "Mr. Tanner" and the heartfelt "I Wanna Learn a Love Song" also come across great in the live environment, a setting that was clearly the singer/songwriter's forte. Chapin has a fantastic rapport with the audience throughout the set, and it comes through with incredible results on his humorous banter before and during the rousing and set-highlighting "30,000 Pounds of Bananas," a great track about Scranton, PA, and a runaway fruit truck. Sure it may sound a little hokey, but Chapin is a true showman and the fun he has on-stage transfers directly into the joy of listening to the record. A fine musician and individual, Chapin's Greatest Stories Live comes close to living up to its name and is a fitting document of a man whose boundless joy and insight shined through in his music. ~ Peter J. D'Angelo, Rovi

Customer Reviews

You young squirts don't know what a protest song is so I'll tell you what it isn't:

rap chanting, mumbling and the weak warbling that passes for modern talent. Songs like these won't come again because we don't value heroes, we encourage the wrong behavior, and wallow in victimization rather that know that we can change the world. Harry told simple sad stories that made you think. This was before games zombied a generation with electronic beeps while sitting next all the junk that made us broke. There was a time when ideas were important and empty headed people were not on magazine covers. Business was run by people with a conscience. Freedom and personal choice was something were were getting more of by our own actions. Now these are being taken away from us by bad government, debt and the socializing risk and privitetizing profit which is the behavior that pirates invented. China will hop over us and these songs help to understand why we deserve it.

How many family roadtrips did I hear this album on?

From about 1979-1990 I heard this album at least 3 times a year, and now it seems like not enough! When my kid is old enough I know he will love "30,000 Pound Of Bananas" as much as my little brother and I did. When we were fighting to keep "our side of the car" free from the other we would stop when that song came on. "Cat's In The Cradle" is a novel song when you're 10, but when you're 30 it really means something. Ironically(?) enough we were on a family road trip when we heard that Harry Chapin had passed. My mom pretty much played this album all the way from Minnesota to Montana, and that's no short trip! I will enjoy this music for my whole life!

First Live Album

This was one of my first albums. Cats In The Cradle and W.O.L.D. were getting heavy rotation on Los Angeles AM radio in the early 70's. I would listen to this live recording constantly on the old "Stereophonic" record player with headphones so I wouldn't disturb the rest of the family. Before Bruce Springsteen, Harry was my storyteller. There is not a bad track among these 14 songs and the way Harry interacts with the audience is wonderful. I got to see him at a Savannah, GA benefit show in '79 (just him and his guitar). A really fun and intimate show. Saw him once more in L.A. in 1981 with the whole band. Another great show. Four months later he was gone, died in a head on car collision back East. He left us some great music. Enjoy!


Born: December 7, 1942 in New York, NY

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '70s, '80s

Harry Chapin's career as a popular singer/songwriter was cut short by an auto accident in 1981, yet he left behind a series of recordings that his fans continue to treasure decades after his death. Chapin was never a critically acclaimed singer/songwriter. Critics accused him of over-sentimentalizing his subjects and attaching heavy-handed morals to his socially aware story-songs; the heavily orchestrated arrangements that accompanied many of his songs didn't help his case with the critics, either....
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Greatest Stories - Live, Harry Chapin
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