Harry Chapin Gets Elektra Albums Box Set

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Harry Chapin’s 1970s studio and live recordings for the Elektra label are being released as a 6-CD collection, Harry Chapin: Story Book: The Elektra Albums 1972-1978. The box set arrives March 25, 2022 in the U.K. and April 2 in the U.S. via Cherry Red Records’ Strawberry imprint.

The set spans the late singer-songwriter’s output for the label beginning with 1972’s Heads & Tails and ’73’s Short Stories, both certified Gold in the U.S., through 1974’s Verities & Balderdash and 1976’s Greatest Stories Live, both of which achieved double Platinum sales.

That era includes Chapin’s #1 single, “Cat’s in the Cradle,” as well as such favorites as “Taxi” and “W.O.L.D.” The announcement notes that the recordings have been remastered.

Related: Chapin’s inspiration for “Taxi”

The collection features color reproductions of album sleeves, picture sleeve singles, ephemera, trade ads and promotional photographs. It includes a 4,000-word essay, placing Chapin’s career in context by Record Collector contributor, Charles Donovan.

Chapin, born in New York on Dec. 7, 1942, was a pioneer of the elaborate story-song, a style whose roots lay in folk and country music. He explored the very limits of the genre, with songs often breaching the ten-minute mark. After working in documentary film-making, Chapin signed with Elektra just before turning 30. He earned immediate success with his first single, “Taxi.”

As he grew in popularity, he began using his enlarged platform to campaign for an end to world hunger, founding several charities and increasingly spurning payment for his performances so that the proceeds could go towards his favored causes.

Chapin died tragically in a car accident on July 16, 1981. He was just 38 years old.

The track listing is below the links.

Disc One

Heads & Tails
1 Could You Put Your Light On, Please
2 Greyhound
3 Everybody’s Lonely
4 Sometime, Somewhere Wife
5 Empty
6 Taxi
7 Any Old Kind Of Day
8 Dogtown
9 Same Sad Singer

Sniper And Other Love Songs
10 Sunday Morning Sunshine
11 Sniper
12 And The Baby Never Cries
13 Burning Herself
14 Barefoot Boy
15 Better Place To Be

Disc Two

1 Circle
2 Woman Child
3 Winter Song

Short Stories
4 Short Stories
6 Song For Myself
7 Song Man
8 Changes
9 They Call Her Easy
10 Mr Tanner
11 Mail Order Annie
12 There’s A Lot Of Lonely People Tonight
13 Old College Avenue

Verities And Balderdash
14 Cat’s In The Cradle
15 I Wanna Learn A love Song
16 Shooting Star
17 30,000 Pounds Of Bananas
18 She Sings Songs Without Words

Disc Three

1 What Made America Famous?
2 Vacancy
3 Halfway To Heaven
4 Six String Orchestra

Portrait Gallery
5 Dreams Go By
6 Tangled Up Puppet
7 Star Tripper
8 Babysitter
9 Someone Keeps Calling My Name
10 The Rock
11 Sandy
12 Dirt Gets Under The Fingernails
13 Bummer
14 Stop Singing These Sad Songs

Greatest Stories Live
15 Dreams Go By

Disc Four

1 Saturday Morning
2 I Wanna Learn A Love Song
3 Mr Tanner
4 A Better Place To Be 5 Let Time Go Lightly
6 Cat’s In The Cradle
7 Taxi
8 Circle
9 30,000 Pounds Of Bananas
10 She Is Always Seventeen
11 Love Is Just Another Word
12 The Shortest Story

On The Road To Kingdom Come
13 On The Road To Kingdom Come
14 The Parade’s Still Passing By

Disc Five

1 The Mayor Of Candor Lied
2 Laugh Man
3 Corey’s Coming
4 If My Mary Were Here
5 Fall In Love With Him
6 Caroline
7 Roll Down The River

Dance Band On The Titanic
8 Dance Band On The Titanic
9 Why Should People Stay The Same
10 My Old Lady
11 We Grew Up A Little Bit
12 Bluesman
13 Country Dreams
14 I Do It For You, Jane
15 I Wonder What Happened To Him

Disc Six

1 Paint A Picture Of Yourself (Michael)
2 Mismatch
3 Mercenaries
4 Manhood
5 One Light In A Dark Alley (An Imitation Spiritual)
6 There Was Only One Choice

Living Room Suite
7 Dancin’ Boy
8 If You Want To Feel
9 Poor Damned Fool
10 I Wonder What Would Happen To This World
11 Jenny
12 It Seems You Only Love Me When It Rains
13 Why Do Little Girls
14 Flowers Are Red
15 Somebody Said

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4 Comments so far

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  1. Rob66
    #1 Rob66 27 January, 2022, 17:44

    Why isn’t his last Elektra album, 1979’s ‘LEGENDS OF THE LOST AND FOUND”, included in this collection ? It’s his only Elektra album not included and it was released in the 70’s. Also, it would have been nice if they had used all 16 tracks from the “Sniper” lp, as the 2004 Elektra import re-issue did. This looks like a nice collection and I’m sure that the sound quality will be great as it’s on the Cherry Red record label. Being the 50th anniversary of Harry’s first album, I guess I was hoping for something more complete.

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  2. Lorelei
    #2 Lorelei 28 January, 2022, 02:26

    I can look up from my computer and see a photo of Harry with his arm around me. I worked at Elektra during that time and this was backstage after a concert in L.A. I was so excited to get to meet him, not just because of his wonderful music, but because he was such a good man. He was always doing concerts, etc., for charities and helping to raise money for people in need. I had so much respect for him and he was absolutely the kindest man that you could ever want to meet. I was devastated when he died in that car accident. Of all people! It was heartbreaking! And as grateful as I am that we still have his music, the world would be a much better place if we still had the man.

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  3. Mark
    #3 Mark 28 January, 2022, 04:53

    Too bad Harry isn’t around to see this. It sounds good.

    Reply this comment
  4. 122intheshade
    #4 122intheshade 29 January, 2022, 22:01

    “Dance Band on the Titanic” is worth the price alone. “Women and children . . . and preachers first!”

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