Harry Chapin – Verities & Balderdash

ARTIST: Harry Chapin         Harry_Chapin_-_Verities_&_Balderdash

TITLE:  Verities & Balderdash

YEAR RELEASED: 1974

CHART ACTION: #4

SINGLES: Cats in the Cradle (#1 US, #53 UK), I Wanna Learn a Love Song (#44 US)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: 30,000 Pounds of Bananas

LINEUP: Harry Chapin, John Tropea, Don Payne, Allan Schwartzberg, Don Grolnick, Ron Bacchiocchi

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A breakthrough to the mainstream, with a few pop-flavored and light songs, but there are still some preachy overwrought songs lurking about.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: With this batch of songs, Chapin’s producer Paul Leka decided that session musicians would be better than Chapin’s road band to convey the songs, and it was a good decision as “Cat’s in the Cradle” became the big hit, and the song most identified with Chapin.

While the message of that song is important and resonates to this day, it’s obvious that there was more to Chapin that just the stories songs about relationships, love and societal ills. Two tracks, “Six String Orchestra” and “30,000 Pounds of Bananas” showed Chapin’s sense of humor, which had been lacking in his other material.

A couple of cuts really get into the preachy mode, as his earnest liberalism, while admirable, can come off as heavy-handed. Also, while the session musicians made the sound more radio friendly, it also seemed sterile as compared with his first album. It’s worth a listen if you’re a Chapin fan, or a singer-songwriter fan.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The incident in “30,000 Pounds of Bananas” really happened, in 1965, in Scranton Penn-sylll-vania

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: B: The at-times sterile production and a few overwrought songs aside, this is his best since his debut.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s