Archive for the ‘ballads’ Tag

10/05/2021 Harry Chapin (The Minstrel) Remembered   Leave a comment

Well, I had a great night’s sleep last night for a change. It’s not often I get more than eight hours and it was glorious. Now I’m enjoying a quiet morning which gives me time to think and reflect on my eventful life. I have a number of people who I think of often and enjoy remembering on this blog and most of them stay with me because I have a personal connection of some type with them. Whether their entertainers, celebrities, or just plain folks.

For many years I made the drive from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Boston after visiting family. Part of that trip required me to be traveling southbound on Interstate 81 in Pennsylvania just outside of Scranton. I suddenly realized “It was just after dark when my car started down the hill that leads into Scranton Pennsylvania”. This quote is my interpretation of the lyrics from one of my favorite songs written and performed by one of my favorite singers, Harry Chapin. I wasn’t hauling 30,000 pounds of bananas but it felt like I should have been.

I’ve been a fan of Chapin’s since the late 1960’s, after attending two of his live performances while in college, and I’ve been listening to his music ever since. He was charismatic and had the ability to capture his audience’s attention completely. His songs were based on actual experiences as he traveled around the country and were poignant to the extreme. He was much like the minstrel’s of the Middle Ages, traveling from town to town, learning new stories, and putting them to song. His performances were an absolute pleasure for those of us lucky enough to attend them.

Harry Chapin died young, on July 16, 1981, near exit 40 on the Long Island Expressway. He lost control of his car, slid into the other lane, and was crushed by a tractor-trailer. He never had a chance. I’m old enough to have been around to experience the “Day the Music Died”, when Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Richie Valens were killed. As upset as I was on that day, Chapin’s death affected me even more. Anyone who ever was lucky enough to experience him in a live performance felt as though they’d made a new close friend. We fans mourned his loss deeply then and every day since.

His epitaph Is taken from his song ” I Wonder What Would Happen to This World”.

Oh if a man tried

To take his time on earth

andImproved before he died

What one man’s life could be worth

I wonder what would happen

To this world

And that’s how I spent a few hours a few days ago, listening to live recordings of some of his concerts and thinking about good old Harry. It’s always a wonderful interlude for me and I intend to repeat it as often as possible. If you have a opportunity to buy any of his music, do so, you won’t be sorry. My personal recommendation is the CD, “Greatest Stories Live”.

RIP HARRY

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