April 25, 2009

Harry Chapin and Jack

In a different time and place I would have been one of those singer/songwriters, a bard, a traveling minstrel. I would have been some sort of court jester who traveled around the world. A collector of tales and epic adventures I'd pay my way by the use of my incredible talent to sing and tell stories.

But as I said, that dream takes place in a different time and space. I am not that Jack, but sometimes I wish that I were. I can't sing worth a damn, at least not with the sort of sound that people would pay to listen to. Perhas I could be paid not to sing, but that defeats part of the dream now doesn't it.

I like to think that I am a decent storyteller, not great, but decent. The good news is that it is a skill that can be practiced and improved upon. With some time and effort I am confident that I can improve. In a different post I might address the areas that I want to focus on, but not now.

Instead I want to share two more thoughts with you.

Earlier this week I found myself listening to one of my Harry Chapin CDs, The Gold Medal Collection. Two songs in particular really grabbed me, Cats In The Cradle and W*O*L*D*.

They caught me because there are so many elements in them that make me stop and say that could be my life. Now there is nothing profound in that, there is a reason why they were so popular. I am just one of many who feel this way about them, but they are part of the reason why I have this dream of being able to write songs like these.

For those of you are unfamiliar with the lyrics of these two songs let me share two excerpts that I appreciate:
"Sometimes I get this crazy dream
That I just drive off in my car
But you can travel on ten thousand miles and still say where you are
I've been thinking that I should quit disk jockeying
And start that record store
Maybe I could settle down
if you'ld take me back once more"

"Well I've long since retired my son's moved away.
I called him up just the other day.
I said, I'd like to see you if you don't mind.
He said, I'd love to, dad, if I could find the time.
You see my new job's a hassle, and the kid's got the flu,
But it's sure nice talking to you, dad.
It's been sure nice talking to you.
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me,
He'd grown up just like me.
My boy was just like me."
Cats In The Cradle


Soccer Dad said...

I always loved WOLD. I think on his Greatest Stories Live album Harry Chapin said that it made to the top 40 for about 15 minutes.

I know that Cats in the Cradle was his most popular song by far, but I always preferred WOLD and Taxi.

Jack said...

Taxi is really good too. It is another good example of a song that tells a story, but WOLD just really does it for me.

Linda said...

WOLD wouldn't have been the same without the voice of Big John Wallace... nice to know that other people remember Harry too. He was a local boy and I saw him perform many times. He is sorely missed.

Jack said...

We lost him far too soon.