ARTIST: Harry Chapin
TITLE: Short Stories
YEAR RELEASED: 1973
CHART ACTION: #61
SINGLES: WOLD (#36 US, #34 UK), Mr. Tanner
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Mail Order Annie
LINEUP: Harry Chapin, Bobby Carlin, Paul Leka, Ronald Palmer, Buddy Salzman, John Wallace, Tomi Lee Bradley, Jeanne French
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Third album returns Chapin to the Top 40, but drowns his work in strings and orchestral arrangements – for better or worse.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Chapin mines his now familiar territory of characters with flaws and disappointments, and unleashes a lot of his lyrical bite against the misplaced idealism of the 60’s that is now clashing with the reality of the 70’s.
This album, though, is really over-produced at times. Chapin’s songs work best with spare, sympathetic production – not strings, horns, choruses, and the like. I don’t know if Chapin was trying for another hit with this production style, but he got it in “WOLD”. No doubt, the plight of the itinerant and lonely radio DJ struck a chord with radio programmers, but it’s also a very effective story / song.
Some of the other songs work with the production, but some are hindered by it. Overall, it seems bloated even though the album’s songs are as strong as his debut.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: WOLD is an actual radio station. It’s at 102.5 on your FM dial with 440 powerful watts based in Marion, Virginia.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: B-: The songs are decent, and I’m keeping it but the production hinders more than helps.