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Sniper & Other Love Songs

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Album Review

Sniper & Other Love Songs never sold remotely as well as its predecessor, Heads & Tales, mostly because it never had a hit single like "Taxi" to help lift it high on the charts, but it is actually a bolder and better album and a much more balanced record; the lack of an elaborately produced number like "Taxi" may have hurt sales, but it meant that no one song dominated the proceedings. Chapin sings better here than on his first album, with improved range and a lot more confidence, which extends to his songwriting as well — "Sunday Morning Sunshine" is a fine folk-based number that opens the album in achingly beautiful, genial fashion, but it's on the second song, "Sniper," that Chapin shows his real range. A ten-minute conceptual work, the latter has all the complexity and drama of a screenplay and a movie soundtrack woven into one, and is brilliantly performed/acted by Chapin; listening to it, one gets the impression of a real-life, soft rock version of Noel Airman, the composer character from the novel Marjorie Morningstar, who was forever trying out and reworking material from the Broadway show that he was planning for years; even overlooking the fact that Chapin did, of course, get to Broadway, there's a sense of someone looking for a bigger canvas that records or singing songs on a concert stage can provide. The rest ranges from low-key, elegantly played, but unpretentious singer/songwriter material, built on beautiful melodies ("And the Baby Never Cries") to fairly hard-rocking electric numbers ("Burning Herself"). Some of it, like "Barefoot Lady," sounds a decade out of place in the 1970s, while other numbers, such as "Better Place to Be," are the kind of extended soft-rocking, poetic numbers that collegiate audiences (at least, humanities majors) used to devour in the early '70s. "Circle" is probably the most popular number ever to come off of the album, but it's merely the most obvious personal statement here, rather than representative of this engaging and still very rewarding album, which finally showed up on CD in 2002, in time for its 30th anniversary, from the Wounded Bird label.

Customer Reviews

One Of Harry's Best

The first time I saw Harry Chapin was my freshman year (1972) at SUC Oneonta, NY. I had heard his song 'Taxi', but that was about it. Well this album had just been release, so he played about every song from it. At that very time and moment, I became a HUGE Harry Chapin fan. The songs and his banter made it a concert I will never forget. I guess that is why I consider this one of my favorite albums of all time. Give it a listen!

I remember the day

Like all the poignant events that have happened in my life, I remember when I first heard that Harry had met his untimely death. "Circle" on this album has long been what I bring in my New Year with. It will also be my request that it be played when the time comes to celebrate all that I achieved in my life. A really great artist who left us way too soon.

"The Moon Rolls Through The Nighttime!"

.."Til The Daybreak Comes Around!"..Yes; More like a "Song-Painter" than a mere "Song Writer"; Harry Chapin had a sucessful run during all the Social & Political Awareness of the 1970's! Romantic, Heartbreaking; Moving & Passionate; "Happy Harry's" many "Story Songs" still live on; Thanks to the tireless efforts of his ever-loyal brother; Tom Chapin; The extended Chapin Family & the World Hunger Relief Foundation! {What a range of topics covered on just this LP alone: Alienation; Abuse; Death; Romance & Reconciliation-Whew!) In the hands of a lesser talent; It would not have gotten off the ground; But Harry Chapin had a way of bringing his characters to life; Even if their lives were not so great; He made you look! (And for "Circle" alone; We are eternally grateful!) Harry was to have several "Radio Hits"; But that was just a way to reach out to more audiences with his powerful & positive messages! There is always some other "Better Place To Be"; Just be happy now with what you have! {Harry; We Really Miss You!}-Truly a "Sensitive Seventies Set"; Man! Grimmbo.


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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Sniper & Other Love Songs, Harry Chapin
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