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A compilation of Tracy Chapman's finest work show casing some of her best tracks. From the opening track, 'Fast Car' the album is guaranteed to lift any listener's spirits. The songs themselves are maybe not the happiest in terms of content, but they do lend themselves to a certain happier feeling.
In my opinion the clear winners of the best song of the album are Fast Car (who can fail to love that song?), Bang Bang Bang and Talkin' About A Revolution. They all have a quiet and unassuming quality and are brilliant to listen to while working being good music without being over stated and invasive. This music, unlike some, sounds just as good played quietly as it does played loud which is again good if you want to work while listening to music or if you would rather not annoy all the sleeping people in your building while working through the night
Over all, I would rate the album very highly and recommend it to anyone. So go on, get a copy put it on your music player and wander around with a strange feeling of calm and euphoria.
Collection by Tracy Chapman is a brilliant album that is a collection of all her hits. Im not sure if you have read my other Tracy Chapman reveiw about the album released in 1988 but I made it clear how much I loved it, so I just had to buy this! This album was released in October 2001 and contained all of the hits such as "Fast car" and "Telling stories". It really is a fantatsic album and I would really recommend it if you are a fan of Tracy Chapman.
The album itself contains 16 tracks and features all of her well know, very popular tracks. That is what I really liked about this album because that way all of her hits are on CD which makes it easier to listen to. Despite Tracy Chapman's music not being that varied I still found it very interesting to listen to because it has such beautiful and powrful lyrics. I think that the overall quality of this album is excellent and the songs featured make this well worth getting.
I bought this album for £10 from HMV in the sale and you can get it from Amazon for the same price. I'm so glad I bought this because being a big Tracy Chapman fan and this album containing all of her best songs, it really does go hand in hand. This would also make a great present for someone. The music I find so easy to listen to and very smoothing which is what I love about it, it really is a stress reliever! I hope this was useful and thank you very much for reading!
I've recently rediscovered Tracy Chapman. Her first album blew me away in 1988 and listened to it continuously for about six weeks. I especially loved her first hit "Fast Car" with its so very emotive lyrics. Anyway, having read a review about her online, I decided to search for my copies of her past albums. Found the second album on a cassette - no problem, but no such luck with the first album. After several futile searches, I found it - BUT problem still not solved - I had the vinyl version and we no longer have a plugged in turntable. Not being particularly handy with either a screwdriver, woofers or tweeters, I gave up and logged onto EBay instead. One week later I am the proud owner of a second hand (but perfectly formed) CD of Tracy's greatest hits - simply entitled "The Collection". After all the hassle I went to, the least I can do is try and write a review that tries to do it justice. So here goes.......
Tracy Chapman was born forty years ago in Cleveland, Ohio on 30th March 1964. Her mother raised her, as her father walked out of them before she was born. She began writing poetry and short stories at a very early age. Although she was born into a very poor family, her mother and sister scrimped and saved in order to buy her a guitar for her eighth birthday. She went on to win a scholarship to a high school in Connecticut and the school chaplain, Robert Tate, was so impressed by her singing and playing in the school chapel, that he organised a collection for a replacement guitar. She graduated high school and went on to study anthropology at Tufts University in Massachusetts, all the while singing and playing on the Boston folk circuit. In 1987 she won a record deal with Elektra and a year later her first album, simply entitled "Tracy Chapman" was released. At the time this album was original and different. The music scene of the late eighties was dominated by drum machines and synthesizers, so an album of simple songs with a superlative voice, often only accompanied by a guitar, was a refreshing change. The album was an instant success, eventually going platinum with 10 million copies sold.
1989 saw the release of her second album "Crossroads", which although going platinum, failed to match up to the success of her first one. Rather like George Michael and Prince, Tracy had many ongoing problems and disputes with her record company. This resulted in a delay of three years before the eventual release of her next album in 1992 - "Matters of the Heart". It failed to ignite much of a spark, as all but her most ardent fans had forgotten about her (including me). Three years is a long time in the fickle world of the music industry and the album sunk without much of a trace. Another three years passed before the 1995 release of "New Beginning", and then another five years before her fifth and latest album in 2000 "Telling Stories".
The overriding theme in all Chapman's songs is her observations on society and her emotional reaction to it. She has sung about all spectrums of social problems facing women (and men) over the years, from domestic abuse, racism and poverty to emotions such as love and hate. However, she has never wanted to be seen as a political activist, rather a singer/songwriter who uses her music to defend her beliefs and what she stands for. All the lyrics and music on the tracks detailed below were written by Tracy Chapman herself - and how many so-called "artistes" of today can make that claim?
Of all the songs on the album, the best known track is "Fast Car", released in 1987. Where can I start with this song? It really is the definitive Tracy Chapman track. It was her biggest selling single and is probably a song that everyone recognizes. It's got to be one of my all time favourite tracks. It tells a simple tale of hope for a better life and "being someone", but concludes with despair at what her life has become. Tracy is singing to her lover about getting away from their life of poverty and her hope that he doesn't turn into an alcoholic like her father - "We've got to make a decision, leave tonight, or live and die this way". It is not a happy song but it is sung with such emotion, it somehow manages to uplift you. It has an infectious repetitive acoustic guitar rhythm and chorus: "So remember when we're driving, driving in your car / The speed so fast felt like I was drunk / City lights lay out before us / And your arm felt nice wrapped round my shoulder / And I had a feeling that I belonged / And I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone". The song ends with the sad conclusion that her lover has turned into just the sort of man her father was, as he prefers to spend his time drinking rather than spending it with her and their children. She had such high hopes but now wishes he would leave them - "Take your fast car, and keep on driving".
Other tracks that are instantly recognizable are "Baby Can I Hold You"...though possibly because it was covered by Boyzone in 1997. Tracy's version is a slow romantic ballard, a simpler song of love and forgiveness in relationships. Sadly, this track is now more likely to be associated with Boyzone than Tracy, which is a shame as the original is not the corny cheesefest song that Boyzone turned it into.
And then there are the songs that demonstrate her strongly developed social conscience and her sadness at the way some people are forced to live their lives. In "Subcity" she sings of how the poor and downtrodden are often forgotten and not heard. It's not all doom and groom though, there are a series of upbeat notes from a series of harmonicas throughout this song, which lifts it up to an upbeat and faintly optimistic song about life getting better through hard work. "Bang Bang Bang" has hard hitting lyrics touching on gun violence and the hypocrisy surrounding the arms industry. She sings of how black crime is largely ignored by mainstream society until it encroaches into their lives. "Talkin' Bout A Revolution" was written by Tracy when she was only 18. It sounds off about social injustices but it's still an upbeat song in which she passionately (and perhaps naively) espouses her belief that things can only get better.
There a nice selection of love songs on the album too. "The Promise" is a heartfelt love song picked out against an acoustic guitar backing. "Smoke and Ashes" is a beautiful song which is both soulful and sensual. This song is beautifully written, played and sung, especially the plaintive guitar notes in the chorus. "Open Arms" is another gentle love song, this time accompanied by Bobby Womack playing guitar. Strong and catchy notes dominate the chorus and it's a great showcase for Tracy's superlative voice. Worth a particular mention is "Wedding Song", a truly lovely song with outstanding vocals from Tracy.
Some of the songs do tend to drift a bit towards "Happy Clappy" land, and to be honest they're not really my cup of tea. "I'm Ready" has a strong spiritual theme and sings about redemption and being "ready to let the rivers wash over me". This song does not really appeal to me lyrically, but the track does demonstrate her superb vocal range extremely well, even if it's a little too gospel and hallelujah for my tastes. Another low point to the album, other than the hallelujah section are "Give Me One Reason", which has a very strong Blues theme to it, and in my opinion, doesn't sit well with the other tracks on the album. However, if you are a fan of the Blues you cannot fail to appreciate the wailing vocal and guitar riffs.
All I can do is admit to being ashamed for forgetting about Tracy Chapman. She is a superb singer and songwriter and deserves far more recognition for all she has achieved in the last twenty years. I'm not a huge fan of folk music (which must be the sort of "category" that her music falls into), but I really enjoy listening to all her songs. This is a superb collection of music and contains something for everyone. My only criticism of her collection, is that I think it may have been better to have put the songs on the CD in chronological order, so that you can hear her development as a singer/song writer over the years, as well as the expansion of the different themes she touches on. The songs are full of angst and life's tragedies, but to be fair you cannot sing about society's problems without tending towards despondent lyrics. Tracy Chapman sings it like it is in her world and most importantly, she sings it from her heart.
Full track listing:-
 Fast Car - 1987 (From 1st album "Tracy Chapman")
 Subcity - 1989 (From 2nd album "Crossroads")
 Baby Can I Hold You - 1982 (From 1st album "Tracy Chapman")
 The Promise - 1984 (From 4th album "New Beginning")
 I'm Ready - 1994 (From 4th album "New Beginning")
 Crossroads - 1989 (From 2nd album "Crossroads")
 Bang Bang Bang - (From 3rd album "Matters of the Heart")
 Telling Stories - (From 5th album "Telling Stories")
 Smoke & Ashes - (From 4th album "New Beginning")
 Speak the Word - 1999 (From 5th album "Telling Stories")
 Wedding Song - 1999 (From 5th album "Telling Stories")
 Open Arms - 1992 (From 3rd album "Matters of the Heart")
 Give Me One Reason - 1986 (From 4th album "New Beginning")
 Talkin' Bout A Revolution - 1982 (From 1st album "Tracy Chapman")
 She's Got Her Ticket - 1986 (From 1st album "Tracy Chapman")
 All That You Have Is Your Soul - 1989 (From 2nd album "Crossroads")
The album was released by Elekra in September 2001. As this album is not a new release you can pick it up quite cheaply nowadays:
www.cd-wow.com £8.75 inclusive of postage and packing
www.101cd.com £8.95 plus £1.00 postage and packing
www.amazon.co.uk £7.97 plus postage and packing or Amazon Marketplace from £3.00 plus postage and packing
Further information on Tracy Chapman can be found at:
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Fast Car
3 Baby Can I Hold You
4 The Promise
5 I'm Ready
7 Bang Bang Bang
8 Telling Stories
9 Smoke and Ashes
10 Speak the Word
11 Wedding Song
12 Open Arms
13 Give Me One Reason
14 Talkin' Bout A Revolution
15 She's Got Her Ticket
16 All That You Have Is Your Soul