The Raspberries – Power Pop

I saw The Raspberries at the campus center Oak Room at Fairfield University in 1975. I was on the WVOF-FM 88.5 as a Sunday morning disk jockey. The station manager Mick McCullough invited my wife and I to attend both the 8:00 and 10:00 p.m. concerts. Mick had booked the band for the Fairfield U. concert committee.

They were very on that night. They pulled out all the stops and I loved their collective energy. However the Fairfield U. crowd of just a couple of hundred people sat on their hands instead of showing their appreciation. We stood and gave them a much deserved standing ovation. But it just wasn’t enough to counterbalance the indifference that was sitting all around us.

I recall they had a British manager who ripped into the late show audience. He yelled at them saying, “Is that all you have for these guys? They tore their heart out for you”. Alas his urging was to no avail as the the audience remained complacent. The Raspberries manager pulled the plug on the encore and that’s how the concert ended. It wasn’t much later in the year that The Raspberries broke up.

I’m glad I caught them live before they disintegrated. They rocked.  The highlights that evening were three hits by The Raspberries, “Go All The Way“, “I Wanna Be With You” and “Overnite Sensation (Hit Record)”.

The band member who impressed me the most that night was Eric Carmen. He was superb on piano and lead vocals. He also sang his hit single for us, “All By Myself”.

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Harry Chapin – Short Stories – Daily Post 2011 #9

Short Stories (Harry Chapin album)
Image via Wikipedia

It’s such a comfort being back in touch with the musical spirit of Harry Chapin. I received his CD, Short Stories this past week. This was Harry’s third recording, following Heads & Tales and Sniper and other Love Songs. It was the first of four recordings produced by Paul Leka (Paul was Harry’s producer from 1974-1976) at Connecticut Recording Studios in Bridgeport. Connecticut.


Short Stories is just that, a collection of 10 short story songs written by master story-teller Harry Chapin. The recordings are backed up by Harry’s band at the time, Ron Palmer on guitar. John Wallace on bass and Michael Masters on cello. Paul Leka played all keyboards.  There are various other session musicians that were involved and they are listed here.

I played this album many times during my FM college days at WHNU-FM and WVOF-FM from 1974-1978.

My favorite tracks on Short Stories are W.O.L.D., naturally. I especially love the three songs in succession, “They Call Her Easy”, “Mr. Tanner” and “Mail Order Annie”. Theses tracks flow together with an effortless charm.

The first sentence in this stanza expresses how music will always feel to me. 🙂

But music was his life, it was not his livelihood,
and it made him feel so happy and it made him feel so good.
And he sang from his heart and he sang from his soul.
He did not know how well he sang; It just made him whole.

Mr. Tanner by Harry Chapin. Copyright 1973 by ChapinMusic.

“Old College Avenue” hearkens as my latest favorite as I wax nostalgic envisioning the imagery of walking around a campus university. There is just something about academia that fills my consciousness with dreams of youth and times gone by…

Expect more posts about Harry Chapin as the year progresses 😉

Sniper and other Love Songs – Harry Chapin – Daily Post 2011 #3

Harry Chapin after his concert at the Paramoun...
Image via Wikipedia

Harry Chapin is one of our favorite all-time singer-songwriters.  We were privileged to see him perform eight times from 1974 through 1979 . His concerts were a rich mixture of fun, provocative thoughts, and pinch of balderdash.

Harry was always personable and graciously accommodated my requests for interviews several times. I’ll never forget the night he did two back to back concerts for the World Hunger Year charity at Fairfield University and afterwards came back to the college radio station to do a 45 minute interview with me over the air live on WVOF-FM 88.5.  What made this interview significant was that this was the station where I conducted my “Sunday Morning Sunshine” radio show. Harry’s single was the song I used to open every show 🙂

Harry had a special quality about him, he treated you like an equal by honoring what you knew, then he would add to your collective consciousness with his unique perspectives about music and life.

His second album Sniper and other Love Songs was released in October 1972. It was a change in music direction with its added intensity and depth from Harry and his band. His Top 40 hit, “Taxi” from his first album, Heads and Tales was riding the charts in 1972, so Sniper and other Love Songs was quite the contrast.

Sniper and other Love Songs is a mixed bag of story songs, hit singles and folk classics. “Sniper” is a gripping song that puts you in the mind of Charles Whitman, the 1966 Texas  clock tower assassin. Harry’s portrayal of the sniper is eerily poetic as we find out why the sniper kills others. The voice in the sniper’s head that Harry sings about are the echoes of a mother ignoring and blaming her child for being born. The sniper’s last words, “I was, I am, and now I will be”, are an ironic triumph over a neglected life on earth which perhaps sheds the final insight into the psychology of the sniper, who is on a tortured quest for self-actualization.

Our other favorite two songs on this CD are “Better Place to Be“, which is a song that I urge you to listen to understand the aching of the human heart. “Circle” was a song Harry Chapin performed often as the encore at his concerts. We would join hands in the audience, chiming in with him and the band as their extended theater in the round.

I plan to write more about Harry Chapin on this blog, as I gather up my memories, so until that time 😉

Circle, Written By Harry Chapin, Lyrics copyright Harry Chapin Foundation

All my life’s a circle;
But I can’t tell you why;
Season’s spinning round again;
The years keep rollin’ by.

1. Sunday Morning Sunshine
2. Sniper
3. And The Baby Never Cries
4. Burning Herself
5. Barefoot Lady
6. Better Place To Be
7. Circle
8. Woman Child
9. Winter Song