Sniper and other Love Songs – Harry Chapin – Daily Post 2011 #3

Harry Chapin after his concert at the Paramoun...
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Harry Chapin is one of our favorite all-time singer-songwriters.  We were privileged to see him perform eight times from 1974 through 1979 . His concerts were a rich mixture of fun, provocative thoughts, and pinch of balderdash.

Harry was always personable and graciously accommodated my requests for interviews several times. I’ll never forget the night he did two back to back concerts for the World Hunger Year charity at Fairfield University and afterwards came back to the college radio station to do a 45 minute interview with me over the air live on WVOF-FM 88.5.  What made this interview significant was that this was the station where I conducted my “Sunday Morning Sunshine” radio show. Harry’s single was the song I used to open every show 🙂

Harry had a special quality about him, he treated you like an equal by honoring what you knew, then he would add to your collective consciousness with his unique perspectives about music and life.

His second album Sniper and other Love Songs was released in October 1972. It was a change in music direction with its added intensity and depth from Harry and his band. His Top 40 hit, “Taxi” from his first album, Heads and Tales was riding the charts in 1972, so Sniper and other Love Songs was quite the contrast.

Sniper and other Love Songs is a mixed bag of story songs, hit singles and folk classics. “Sniper” is a gripping song that puts you in the mind of Charles Whitman, the 1966 Texas  clock tower assassin. Harry’s portrayal of the sniper is eerily poetic as we find out why the sniper kills others. The voice in the sniper’s head that Harry sings about are the echoes of a mother ignoring and blaming her child for being born. The sniper’s last words, “I was, I am, and now I will be”, are an ironic triumph over a neglected life on earth which perhaps sheds the final insight into the psychology of the sniper, who is on a tortured quest for self-actualization.

Our other favorite two songs on this CD are “Better Place to Be“, which is a song that I urge you to listen to understand the aching of the human heart. “Circle” was a song Harry Chapin performed often as the encore at his concerts. We would join hands in the audience, chiming in with him and the band as their extended theater in the round.

I plan to write more about Harry Chapin on this blog, as I gather up my memories, so until that time 😉

Circle, Written By Harry Chapin, Lyrics copyright Harry Chapin Foundation

All my life’s a circle;
But I can’t tell you why;
Season’s spinning round again;
The years keep rollin’ by.

1. Sunday Morning Sunshine
2. Sniper
3. And The Baby Never Cries
4. Burning Herself
5. Barefoot Lady
6. Better Place To Be
7. Circle
8. Woman Child
9. Winter Song
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