Kristi Y. from GILBERT, AZ Reviewed on 8/21/2009...
This live CD is the absolute BEST of Harry Chapin!!
If you only own one Harry Chapin album this would be the one
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 11/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There were not many things much better in this world than Harry Chapin in concert, and this 1976 album completely captures the feel good atmosphere of such events. Both of Harry's greatest epic story songs are here, "Taxi" and "A Better Place to Be," along with his two hit singles (because they were short enough for radio play), "Cats in the Cradle" and "W*O*L*D" (which is gleefully adapted to the local radio station). Big John Wallace adds his unique vocals not only to "Taxi" but also the exquisite "Mr. Tanner." As added treats both of Harry's brothers have their own songs, Tom's "Saturday Morning" and Stephen's "Let Time Go Lightly." The evening concludes with Harry's traditional finale "Circle" and then offers as an encore "30,000 Pounds of Bananas," with all of the various endings that Harry considered at one time or another while writing the song.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."
"Did I write that?" asks Harry Chapin
R. L. MILLER | FT LAUDERDALE FL USA | 04/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Christ, it sounds like the theme from Godfather II!"
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. Harry was basically The Man On The Street who had an uncanny ability despite his shortage of the stuff stars are made of to express himself in music. It has become a cliche to say that a musician "sings in a style you can relate to", but Chapin was one of very few artists about which that description is bang on target. Chapin did a later live set called "Legends Of The Lost And Found", which I see is no longer available. A shame, really--that set has a high percentage of material that was never released on any studio album. Anyway, if you're at all curious about any of Steve Earle's antecedents, look to Shawn Phillips and Harry Chapin."
What an album, one of the Great Live recordings!!!!!
Greg Zimmerman | VA | 01/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Harry Chapin was an artist that seemed to put out better live recordings, that had much more intensity then any of his studio work. I've listened to alot of his studio driven recordings but nothing will ever compete with this record. The album does have three studio songs pinned at the end but it doesn't disregard the magnitude of his songwriting.Many folk artists strive for a catchy three minute song with backbeat and sensibility. Chapin never followed that formula. At times, his songs could be long opuses with not much of a chorus to backup. His songs were painted with a very personal, intimate picture of life's dark and virtuous side. This record captures everything anybody needs to know about the man.The album captivates a very energetic side of exuberance with the opening track "Dreams Go By", but it also exhibits a beautiful portrait of bittersweet remembrance. Another classic, "Mr. Tanner" examines a singer's hopes and visions but with wishful sincerity towards confrontation of ability. The album wasn't just hippie influenced lyrics, but honesty to dreams deferred. Every track told stories of love lost, found and expectant. It seems like many live recordings fail to pickup on what an artist is trying to portray with thier music. This one nails it, seriously."