Tom Chapin and Friends: Live in Concert

Tom Chapin & friends

WVA Program 96

Tom Chapin and Friends Live In Concert
(CD, 16 selections)

Of course, this thoroughly entertaing, energy-packed album is superb. What else would you get from Tom Chapin? Performed live in concert, Tom Chapin and his friends make musical sparks fly as the energy between them and the audience charges the concert. Tom's intent with this album was to record some of the songs he does in concert but hadn’t recorded yet. And there’s always something extra when a performer is in front of an audience instead of making music in a studio. And so here it is, the master of fun having fun and causing fun to happen

Naturally he includes some already recorded classics. What concert by Tom would be complete without "Cats in the Cradle," or "Flowers Are Red," or "Circle," written by his brother, Harry Chapin? You can't wear out the extraordinary.

But this album also contains some other outstanding songs, like the striking love song, "Seven Daffodils" and the tribute to finding your own niche in life, "Music Made By Hand." Some of the songs are just good rollickin' fun, like "A Study's About To Begin," poking fun at the bureaucratic foot-draggin' that keeps things from getting done. "Happy Ending"' is a song that commemorates that eternal optimist in each of us who waits for the best outcome of things. Poignant lines in "Lost Boy in the Wilderness" ("I will be home when I make my getaway") grips your heart in sympathy for the lost boy trying to find his way.

Tom's 1996 song, "Join the Jubilee" is a portrait of a burnt out, depressed and used-up man who wonders about the struggle of life. At the end of the song, though, there is a ray of hope as he sees the faces of his children and believes it's worth the fight.

What an entertaining bonanza. If you're a Tom Chapin fan, or you want to be a Tom Chapin fan, this is a mandatory addition to your collection.

Gadfly Records, P.O. Box 5231, Burlington, VT 05402

In the Walnut Valley Festival list of artists: