"Anyone looking at this selection is probably already familiar with Harry's work. He was the god of the story song. He held nothing back and was afraid of no subject. Sometimes cynical, sometimes dramatic, but always real. The title track is Harry at his cynical and political best, set to a bouncy, optimistic tune that seems contrary to the lyrics. It's full of adult references I didn't understand when I first became a fan of this album at the age of 12. 'The Mayor of Candor Lied' and 'Corey's Coming' are absolute 5-star masterpieces of story telling, possibly the best of all of his work. It's only the relative weakness and forgettableness of the last three tracks on the album (in comparison to his standard work) that prevents me from giving this album the full 5-stars, but still a must-have."
Jim Kelsey | 08/10/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Harry was, (is) my favorite artist. I listen to his cd's all of the time, and my kids (age 9,6,and 2)love the stories! "The Mayor of Candor Lied" is fast paced and just classic Harry. I don't want to ruin the ending, but the relationship between the two in this story is amazing!I miss him, and look forward to seeing again in concert up in heaven. I can't imagine all of the stories he has to tell from up there!"
A Very Influential Album
Jim Kelsey | 06/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was introduced to Harry Chapin through my father when I was in high school. Dad owned 3-4 of his albums and shared them with us (my brothers and I) when we were boys. Back then, I didn't (couldn't) understand the depth of his lyrics; age and experience has greatly assisted in this and I find myself enjoying his songs more the older I get.
Harry's music is not for the "passer-by listener." Chapin tackled everything from politics to religion - and didn't hold anything back! It's not easy-going pop, but folk tunes that cover gammut of humanity. As a lyricist, he is extremely creative, utilizing allegories and metaphors to illustrate his points. Musically speaking, this album is fantastic. The melodies are well-designed and will stick in your head after a few times of listening. His brother, Stephen, masterfully arranged the strings and brass for each song, giving each work a unique character of it's own.
The best tune on the album is "The Mayor of Candor Lied." It's not your typical rock tune, in that the music follows the lyrics. Accents, tempo changes, percussion are all added at the appropriate times. Lyrically, you have to listen to the music and the words at the same time - don't cheat by finding the lyrics on the internet. BUY THE ALBUM!
Other tunes worthy of merit are "The Parade's Still Passing By," dedicated to the late singer/songwriter Phil Ochs. "Corey's Coming" and "Caroline" are two ballads with phenomenal melodies and beautifully scored orchestration.
Listening to Harry Chapin is not a daily event for me. It's like listening to Bartok - I appreciate his music more for its integrity and can only digest so much at one time. With that said, I hope I haven't discouraged you from trying this album. If you're to pick one of his albums to try, either this or his live album would be a great place to start. "
Harry delivers with true Chapin style!
Erica A. Bardan | Massachusetts | 10/12/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I believe Harry Chapin to be the most gifted musical storytellers ever, and this CD illustrates this point yet again, with two tracks in particular. (The Mayor of Candor Lied, Corey's Coming) It's worth buying the CD for these two songs alone. While Harry is my all time favorite artist, there are a few of his songs (all ballads) that I don't like, and two of them are on this CD (if my mary were here, and caroline) which is why i only gave four stars. But the rest of the songs more than make up for it!"