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As with most people, this was my first introduction to the critically acclaimed artist Tracy Chapman. In 1988, her single Fast Car stormed up the UK charts to number 6, and saw that the album would receive rave reviews from the media and eventually go to number 1 in the charts. This is an album that I re-discover every couple of years, and am rarely disappointed.
For those only familiar with the most famous single, it may surprise you to know that the album is more upbeat than you would expect. There are messages about slavery, spousal abuse, and apartheid, but mostly the lyrics are an uplifting take on each of their bespoke subjects, suggesting that Tracy has come out at the other end wiser from whatever ousted her to write the very honest and sometimes brutal words of the songs.
Talking About A Revolution
As with most of the tracks on the album, this is a well worn acoustic number. However, it is the lyrics and Tracy Chapman's ability to weild a melody from the simplest of chords that make it all the more engaging. "Dont you know, we're talking about a revolution" she opens with before working an appetite up in the belter of a chorus. "Dont you know you better run, run, run...". The song sets a precident for the album, with its message a positive take on poor people revolting against their situation.
2. Fast Car
On first listen, I found this song to be slightly repetitive and lengthy. However, stop and listen to the lyrics. It takes the listener on an amazing journey befitting of its title. It starts out with the hopes of a young woman who longs to escape the trappings of her small time life. The song tells us of abandonment, loneliness and the hopes that are frittered away as life takes its toll. The message is simple, and will no doubt speak to those listeners who can relate to it.
3. Across The Line
Whilst still leaning heavily on its guitar melody, this is a much meatier track than the previous two. Chapman sings of the seperation between white and black people, and refers to the riots as the divides clash. Although it refers to the dream of America, it's also clearly aimed at the divides that were ever present in South Africa, and her frustration at the divide there. Whilst nearly all the tracks on the album are autobiographical, this is probably the most obvious.
4. Behind The Wall
This is an interesting addition to the album. Just Tracy Chapman singing about the violence she can hear from a nearby apartment, and the incompetence of the authorities, something that must still resonate. What makes this song so different is that there is absolutely no musical accompaniement, which is quite brave. I'm not sure that it completely works, but its probably meant as a slight diversion from the constant acoustic guitar that plays throughout.
5. Baby Can I Hold You
Even before the Boyzone cover that killed the airwaves a decade later, this was one of the most famous songs from the album. What's so strange about that is that the song failed to make an impact on the charts back in 1988 when it was released as a single. It is probably the most poppy and radio friendly song on display here, as Tracy sings "But you can say baby, baby can I hold you tonight, Maybe if I told you the right words..."
6. Mountain O' Things
This song has a lot of percussion through it. Yet, for all its additional mod cons, I just dont like it. Lyrically, it embraces the longing for richer things in life, but it just isn't that appealing. It focuses in on the greed and opulance of the 80s, but doens't reveal a very attractive side of the decade. The song builds up its layers more than any other song on the album, and has that in its favour. I still hit skip though.
7. She's Got Her Ticket
Chapman is back on form for this song of a woman who wants to flea her trappings, a message that is constant throughout the lyrics of the album. This is quite an upbeat number that kinda makes me feel that I want to be lying on a beach in the Bahama's being served cocktails. That is the strength of Chapman's slight melodies and simple lyrics, it ably creates the image that it potrays in your head. Even the most unimaginative of listener's would be swept along with the songs.
Quite a dramatic acoustic number, this one essentially presents the questions of life. Covering such subjects as war, starvation, women's position of safety in society. The song is slightly preachy, but really just enhances the message that Chapman has already set up more slightly on the other tracks on display. Once again, it is the melody and Chapman's honest interpretation of her own lyrics that sell the song, given that its lyrically the weakest on display.
9. For My Lover
This is the darkest song on the album for me, but I absolutely love it. "Two weeks in a Virginia jail..." muses Chapman as she combats the critisisms aimed at her relationship with a man who is obviously not any good. This must be a message that every single person in a useless relationship can relate to, given that they probably find themselves defending a relationship that it is difficult to defend.
10. If Not Now
This is another favourite of mine. Returning the album to the very basic acoustic's of the earlier tracks, but adding the twinkling of a piano to add more to the bare bones of the melody. Once again, she questions her own patience as she waits for her lover to front up and do the right thing by her. "if not now, then when?.." she queries. There's no ready answer in the lyrics, and the lyrics aren't exactly groundbreaking.
11. For You
The album whimpers out rather than leaving with a bang, as this tedious acoustic number finishes things off. Fans of the album wont exactly be put off by this, but its an odd choice to finish off on. "Deep in my heart" she repeats over and over again, although doesn't really get to the point. I must confess I quite like the chorus, but mostly the song just doesn't go anywhere. I rarely let the album get this far.
This is a lovely album with a real sobriety and honesty to it. Whilst there is little that is revealing about Tracy Chapman herself, there is plenty to address her views on the political state of America and the social issues such as racism, poverty and war. Even in 2010, 22 years after its release, this debut album still holds up and addresses issues that are still valid.
Many have tried to emulate Tracy Chapman's sound, to varying degree's. However, I've heard few albums that use so little in terms of instruments, but manages to provide such a diverse collection of songs. I've never really been taken with Chapman's subsequent albums, and didn't even bother to buy any releases after 2000, but this one stands strong in my collection of favourites and probably in the collection of a million other buyers.
This album is available brand new from amazon for only £3.99 and is also available to download for the same price. I prefer to have the original physical copy of an album, and dont really go in for downloads that much, so for the same price I'd rather have the physical copy in my hands, and then add to itunes as I so feel. I'd definately recommend this classic album, especially at such as reasonable price.
** Tracy Chapman - Tracy Chapman **
The Tracy Chapman debut album was one of the very first CDs I owned and a very good choice it turned out to be too. The CD contains 11 songs most of which are excellent tracks. The arrangements are very simple and you rarely get more than an acoustic guitar a bass and drum kit with perhaps a few keyboard embellishments here and there but it works well.
Like the simple musical arrangements of the tracks Tracy's songwriting is also in most cases devastatingly simple and straightforward too. That is why many of the songs on Tracy Chapman's debut album are so effective.
She stays firmly on familiar ground and never attempts to embrace genres or complex musical concepts that would overstretch her. Despite its near folk like reputation this is almost a pop record. A sort of now that's what I call music album but done on an acoustic guitar!
Here lies Tracy Chapman's great strength and weakness. Almost all the songs are really catchy and draw listeners in with their excellent hooks. Conversely there isn't quite the songwriting depth here that you might at first be fooled into thinking exists. The songs are a little shallower than your average folk fan would like.
But these minor points aside and ignoring the occasional not so great track, and Tracy's non to subtle attempts to be 'down' with the politically correct and feminist crowd -and ignoring the slight anti male sentiment that runs through some of the tracks: this is a good album.
Fast Car is great to have playing when you're driving to/from a night out, Talkin' Bout a Revolution is a great bit of social commentary even though the lyrical depth runs a bit dry after a while.
Baby Can I Hold You and If Not Now remain 2 of my favourite tracks on the album. They are so beautiful and delicate.
** Track Listing **
Talkin' Bout a Revolution
Across the Lines
Behind the Wall
Baby Can I Hold You
Mountains o' Things
She's Got Her Ticket
For My Lover
If Not Now
** My verdict **
A great album to own, even though repeated listens reveal that it is a little more contrived and a little less deep than you'd first perceived it to be. Still a classic though.
I bought my Tracy Chapman album about 8 years ago and I still love to listen to the songs until now.
1. Talkin' Bout A Revolution (2.38)
2. Fast Car (4.58)
3. Across The Lines (3.22)
4. Behind The Wall (1.46
5. Baby Can I Hold You Tonight (3.16)
6. Mountains Of Things (4.37)
7. She's Got Her Ticket (3.54)
8. Why? (2.01)
9. For My Lover (3.15)
10. If Not Now? (2.55)
11. For You (3.08)
This album was released on 15 April 1988 with Elektra label. The total running time of the album is 36:06 with a Folk-Rock genre and produced by David Kershenbaum .
Tracy Chapman is one of my favorite singers of all time. She has that big and a bit of that masculine voice but still sounds so sexy to my ears. She has her own big 'voice identity' and she delivers her songs just like no other. She sings as if she's about to cry and that's what I think is the factor which adds soul to her songs.
Quality of the CD
This is a high-quality CD. I bought mine about 8 years ago. I play it often and it still plays without pausing and freezing. I can't tell you that it is scratch-free in regular use but mine doesn't have any scratch yet though the cover has been quite damaged
TRACY CHAPMAN album contains songs that you just can hear once in a while in radio programs. I'm glad I got this CD. I can listen to Tracy's awesome songs anytime I want. I really love 'Baby Can I hold You Tonight' and 'Fast Car' is just amazing!
Price: £ 7.18
Tracy Chapman the album is without doubt of the best album's which I have ever bought simply for its real beauty in inner song form. Tracy Chapman is you do not know is a singer and songwriter who began her career as a busker and really has taken herself to the next level, she has performed at many anti-poverty shows around the world. This album was released in 1988 and contains 11 absolutely beautifully written songs.
The album is very country folk and this becomes very clear throughout the album, the lyrics are quite simply umbelivable and they are just so powerful which is what I love about her and the album. She really does write straight from the heart and unlike many other artists you can be sure that Tracy Chapman is in the business for the music rather than money. She is an inspiration to many people and really is something special.
"Talkign bout a revolution" is one of my favourties and has a superb main guitar chord progression has a fantastic quality of lyrics that really are personal. I cannot tell you how good this song is and considering this album also contains "Fast car" that alone should be enough to persuade you to buy this album. "Fast car" has a slower tempo than other songs and has a beautiful guitar riff that features throughout the song. The thing about "Fast Car" is that the lyrics are umbelivable, they are just so beautiful it even makes you tearful. This song is one of my favourties and I really cannot recommend it enough, to be writing a song about trying to escape poverty by writingg music is just inspirational. It is so moving and I love the way the chorus is more upbeat and with a faster tempo which helps to chear you up effectivly.
Tracy Chapman writes lyrics like poetry and she is the best song writer that I have ever come across in music and she really should be recognised for it. She writes throughout her songs in this album story's about her life experiences and it is fascinating to listen to. She also has a very beautiful voice that really I feel accompanies the guitar very well indeed. "Across the lines" has another beautiful introduction which is a great start to this beautiful song. The song is again umbelivably beautiful and depicts how whites are sepreated from blacks in a culture where racial tension still exists. The lyris are just umbelivable and again it is very moving, the chord progression helps to emphaise the vocals and what is being said. The frequent repetition of particular lines helps to emphasise what is being said which I find to be inspirational.
With the album the booklet supplied comes with all of the lyrics printed which just shows that Tracy Chapman really cares about the music she writes and she is trying to gether message across. It allows you to sing along to the beautiful songs. "Behind the wall" features ' A cappela' which means that Tracy Chapman just sings with no backing, singing "Last night I heard the screaming". This song is describing another one of her life story's and how the police don't provide enough care and support. It is just beautifully written and I cannot tell you how moving it is, to have just the vocals really is effective and it is a true privilege to hear.
"Baby can I hold you" has had countless remakes made but Tracy Chapman was the person who originaly wrote it. This is a beautiful love song that without doubt is describing one of her many life experiences. The chorus is very catchy and I generally found this album song to be more upbeat and happy as it were than many other songs featured in the album. "Mountains O' things" is a very catchy song with an excellent introduction. It is a life describing all of life's stuggles and having dreams to get you through. It really is a beautifally written song that is very catchy, I like how it is more upbeat. Whilst the album is at many points sad to listen to there is an intangable respect that people have for the music and its quality. There is also many more upbeat and postive songs that are within the album which gives the album a real sense of vareity and diversity, effectivly adding to the interest.
"She's got her ticket" has some great lyrics together with a very postivie rhythm and some very cool guitar riffs. This time the lyrics tell the story of a girl moving away and Tracy Chapman says how nobody should stop her from going because she is mature enough to make her own decisions. It also depicts how there is too much corruption and greed and I think this girl is a personification of Tracy Chapman wanting to leave from her home to a better place and "Fly, Fly, Fly away.....". The guitar licks throughout the song make it really enjoyable to listen to together with the upbeat rhythm featured. "Why?" has such a good introduction and guitar riff I cannot tell you, it is just so catchy! Tracy Chapman here asks the questions about many of the things in her life that she is not happy about such as war and famine. The vocals are superb and together with a fantastic guitar riff this is one of my favourtie tracks. Imbetween the chorus the verses have a slower tempo with some fantatsic broken chords which really add effect and give a real emphasis to the music.
"For my lover" has another fantastic introdution which leads me to believe that Tracy Chapman is very good at creating effective introdcution to set the scene for the songs. I love the lyrics in this song and how they depict all of the sacrifices and everything that she does for her lover as it were such as "Climb a mountain if I have to". It really is poetry in music and I just cannot fault it, without doubt is this one of my favourite albums the general production and quality of the songs is just fantatsic. I love how half way between the album you have a contrast between the more sorrowful songs and the more upbeat, songs in the second half of the album. "If not now" is a very acoustic song with another excellent intoduction with a piano to aid the introduction. I love how it gradually builds up and uses the vocal and piano to aid the image and message that is trying to be depicted to the listner. The song is very catchy indeed, especially the chorus with some fantastic melodies specially by the piano and vocals. "If not now" asks the question of 'When?' as apposed to the song "Why?" which is a nice contrast and cliche. It also regularly makes references to the power of promises which adds power to the song in general.
"For you" is the last song of the album and like "If not now" it has a slow tempo acoustic melody played before the beautiful voice of Tracy Chapman comes in with her romantic lyrics. It gave me the impression that the album overall has a clear distinction between being a romantic album and portraying her true feelings about the world which I think is a really nice contrast to make in an album. "For you" is a song about how Tracy Chapman is trying to tell her partner everything from deep inside her heart and what strong feelings she has. She feels she is loosing control of her emotions "No longer the master of my emosions". This is a great line and really adds to the beauty of the song. I love how the guitar suddenly picks up along with the vocals and the song is taken forward.
As I have said previously, I absolutely love this album and could not recommend it more. The lyrics are like none other and contain hidden beauty just like poetry does and yet it is contained within a song. I found it easy to listen to and above all to understand that this artist loves to write music and nothing else. The album features some umbelivably powerful songs including "Fast Car" and "Baby can I hold you" which really add to the quality of the album as a whole. For £5 I see no reason why you should not buy this, it really is something ground breaking and I'm so thankful for it. Tracy Chapman has I'm sure aquired a lot of respect from producing this album and it is easy to see why. I think it is important to support an artist who plays at anti-war and poverty concerts out of the goodness of her heart and is not interetsed in the money but the music. Full Digitial recording really have excelled by helping Tracy Chapman produce this album and I only hope that you too can have the enjoyment that I have had from this. It is an absolute pleasure for me to write about an artist and album that I am so fond of and I really hope that you find it of use. Thank you so much for reading this and I really would greatly appreciate any comments that you may have.
I also have this review featured on my CIAO page because I spent so much time writing it. It is completely my own work and I really hope you enjoy reading it.
Tracy Chapman is an American singer and songwriter from Ohio who has been around in the music industry since 1988. Music has been a huge part of her life, she started playing guitar and song writing at the age of 11! She is probably most recognised for her singles 'Fast Car' and 'Talkin' Bout A Revolution'. These days she is not as well known which is a shame because she is hugely talented. It was actually my parents who introduced me to this new soulful style of music and I have been a fan of Tracy Chapman ever since. All of her albums, this one included have a great mixture of folk, blues, rock and soul. So far she has released an outstanding 9 albums:
Tracy Chapman (1988)
Matters Of The Heart (1992)
New Beginning (1995)
Telling Stories (2000)
Let It Rain (2002)
Where You Live (2005)
Our Bright Future (2008)
1. Talkin' Bout A Revolution (2:38)
2. Fast Car (4:58)
3. Across The Lines (3:22)
4. Behind The Wall (1:46)
5. Baby Can I Hold You (3:16)
6. Mountains O' Things (4:37)
7. She's Got Her Ticket (3:54)
8. Why? (2:01)
9. For My Lover (3:15)
10. If Not Now... (2:55)
11. For You (3:09)
**MY FAVOURITE TRACKS**
**2. Fast Car**
This is probably the most well known Tracy Chapman song out of everything that she has released. It starts off with a very soft guitar riff which is followed by an amazing soulful voice that's not too powerful but not too soft and full of raw emotion, you know from the way that she sings that this song is meant, there's a passion there that is hard to find in more modern artists. The chorus picks up the pace a bit with some catchy lyrics that'll definitely have you singing along. This artists style is very unique which is a great thing. It's not a song that's likely to cheer you up if you're down and not a party song but one that is more relaxing and contemplative, perfect for sunbathing in the garden I think! My favourite lyrics from this track are: "Starting from zero got nothing to lose, maybe we'll make something, but me myself I got nothing to prove, you got a fast car and I got a plan to get us out of here" I would rate this song 9/10.
**3. Across The Lines**
This is a very raw song about racism, a pretty daring thing to write about at that time but it's such an emotional song that it's hard not to get drawn into the lyrics, it's very powerful. It's obviously not an up beat song due to the subject its quite soft but not too slow. My favourite lyrics from this track are: "Across the lines, who would dare to go, under the bridge, over the tracks that separate whites from blacks, choose sides or run for your life, tonight the riots begin, on the back streets of America, they kill the dream of America". 10/10.
**4. Behind The Wall**
This track is probably the most powerful on the whole album. The lyrics are very strong with lots of emotion behind them. It is about domestic violence. I don't know whether it was written based on personal experience or domestic violence in general, but you can tell that she means every word that she sings as she belts her way through the short verses without any instrumental backing, a very daring move but her voice is so soulful that there is no need for any backing music. My favourite lyrics from this track are: "Last night I heard the screaming, then a silence that chilled my soul, I prayed that I was dreaming when I saw the ambulance in the road". again, 10/10.
**9. For My Lover**
Again there is another catchy acoustic intro to hook you into wanting to hear more of this song. It's more up beat than a lot of songs on the album and a bit more positive. Apparently this song is about a gay relationship, I'm not sure on the accuracy of this but it would fit in with the lyrics. It is a very powerful song almost filled with determination. I love it. My favourite lyrics from this track are: " Everyday I'm psychoanalyzed for my lover, for my lover, they dope me up and I tell them lies, for my lover, for my lover, I follow my heart and leave my head to ponder, deep in this love no man can shake". 10/10.
**MY OVERALL OPINION**
This has got to be one of the most powerful, emotional albums that I have ever heard. I love Tracy's rawness and her talent for being able to turn the most upsetting subjects into something amazing, musically. She is a hugely talented writer and singer, I think that it's a shame that more people don't listen to her music because it is brilliant. I would definitely recommend this album to everyone, at least to give it a try because there is such a mixture of different styles that I think everyone should be able to enjoy at least one or two tracks. Overall I would rate this album 10/10.
Thanks for reading!
Tracy chapman releases this album in 1988 to critical acclaim.
This was to eb her defining moment in music and would be regarded as her best album while picking up fans for the rest of her career since.
This album is mainly a acoustic affair in style with some dark and real lyrics sung in a simple and real tone.
This album contains the classic Fast car and the ballad Baby can i hold you, as well as talkin about a revolution.
Years on from this album both fast car and baby can i hold you have become classics . the latter being covered by many a artist and band.
This album however is not a commercial affair, the stories and tales are harsh full of real life stuggle desperation and trouble.
The tracks hit home and speak with a realness that not many artists can deliver only the likes of springsteem, dylan, cash have managed the same.
This is a classic album by a gifted songwritter that would appeal to those fans of the more subtle styles of music and acoustic arrangments.
An iconic album!! One of the best albums of the eighties without a shadow of a doubt! Tracy has the most soulful, haunting and melodic of voices, her lyrics show an acute awareness of social issues which are sadly as relevant now as they were twenty years ago....
i first saw her performing live on BandAid and have been an avid fan ever since,she brought to life the issues of the day. I have purchased every single one of her albums and love every single one of them equally but i believe that i am now biased!!
My other half also loves this album, although he is nowhere near as keen on her subsequent productions..strange but true!!
Buy it today and the likelyhood is that you will be rushing to buy her others as soon as you have the funds, a spectacular timeless album from a truly incredible talent..you won't be disappointed!!
ABIT ABOUT TRACY CHAPMAN
Tracy Chapman was born in Cleveland, Ohio on the 30th March 1964. She went onto go to university and Majored in Anthropology and African Studies in 1986.
She recorded her first demo while at university at the university radio station, and was heard by a fellow student, who recommended her to his father. Who introduced her to Elektra Records, where she linked up with her Manager Elliot Roberts.
This is her Debut album which was released in 1988. She did go on to release another 7 albums besides this one, although i think this was her best.
ABIT ABOUT THE ALBUM
This to me is a great album and i liked every single song on it. Which is unusual for me. I will now tell you abit about the songs:
1) Talking About A Revolution (2.38) - This song as in the title is all about a revolution, that is just waiting to happen, and what will happen when it does. The song is very well song, with only light music in the background.
2) Fast Car (4.58) - This song seems very heartful and meaningful, about a bad upbringing, by her father who had a drink problem, and just wanting to escape it all. By driving off somewhere new. This song is another good one by tracy, still not alot of music in the background, but she has a good enough voice that sound better without a big beat.
3) Across The Lines (3.22) - This song is also good, and is about Rasism and the results that happens between the two different cultures. This song to me is very true to life, about what happens and the aftermath.
4) Behind The Wall (1.46) - This is only a short song but yet another good one, there is no music to this song at all, but still it sounds great. Its another song that is meaningful, about a woman that gets abused by her Husband, and about how long it takes for domestics to be sorted out.
5) Baby Can I Hold You Tonight (3.16) - This is a classic that has also been rereleased by Boyzone, this one again has pretty light music on and is sung well, and is another true to life lyrics, about not been able to speak your feelings and not been able to say what you really want to say.
6) Mountains O' Things (4.37) - This was not one of her best songs, but however still good. Once again very light music, and sang very well. This is about the type of life that people want basically everything they cant afford, and how people want to be the envy of everyone else.
7) Shes Got Her Ticket (3.56) - This song is ok, but not one of my favorites, dont get me wrong it is sang well, but i did not really understand what the lyrics were about, seems to be about someone leaving as they were hated and corrupt and were greedy.
8) Why? (2.01) - This is a great song, with a more upbeat sound but still low in the background, and once again sang well. This is a song with good lyrics about all the bad things that happen in the world, like starving countries, and war.
9) For My Lover (3.15) - This is another good song and sang very well, about what you will do for the ones that you love and how far you would go, and that you need to follow your heart.
10) If Not Now (2.55) - This song is another good one, that is sang well, but the lyrics are abit confusing, and i dont really seem to understand the point of the song, that maybe just me though lol.
11) For You (3.09) - This is not one of her best songs, i am not that keen on this one. it just seems boring and bland. Its about your feelings and how strong you feel about someone and just how deep love goes.
The cover has a picture of Tracy with her name displayed down the Left hand side. The booklet has the lyrics inside and it is actually shown in 5 different languages. The writing could have done with been a little bit bigger though in the booklet.
MY PERSONAL VIEWS
I just loved this album, as i love Acoustic songs, but maybe if you like the music to be louder on the tracks and more upbeat music, then this really would not be the album for you. As all her songs are sang with very little music behind her, but she has got the type of voice, that still makes it an enjoyable album. She really has got a fantasic voice, which does not need music to go with it, take for example "Behind The Wall", there is no music what so ever on this track, but yet she still sounds great and has a tune in this song.
I would highly recommend this album, as i have had it for years and still listen to it even now.
To start of, this is one of the greatest albums of all time. I just hope that this review does it justice. This self-entitled CD was released in 1988 and reached number 1 in the album chart. Surprisingly it only had one top 40 single, no points for guessing that would be the delightful ' Fast Car', which reached number 5. I was absolutely stunned when researching for this review that none of the other singles made the top 40, this is so surprising when you listen to the CD, as the whole duration of the album is just first class. The album has so much depth, with the main selling point being some of the simplest yet majestic lyrics. The soothing and poetic vocals of Chapman deliver these splendid lyrics on controversial issues such as world outlooks, domestic violence and politics. Don't let this put you off, as all of the songs are easily accessible and there are also great love ballads such as ' Baby Can I Hold You'. All of the songs on this album are great in their own ways, but as a collective the honest and heart felt lyrics make for one of the most touching and atmospheric records that I have ever heard. The songs include: 1: Talkin' Bout A Revolution (2.38) 5/5 The album starts with the post powerful acoustic guitar that just leaves you brimming with energy. The vocals of Chapman are so powerful and emotional. The song is so simple and easy on the ear, the drum beat and guitar riff carry you through the whole tune. The song tells of everyday life and the struggle for equality against racism and other issues, and off the hope that things will turn out well with a bright future. A great uplifting song that sets the tone nicely for a great album. You will be singing along in no time! 2: Fast Car (4.58) 5/5 (Best Track) The biggest hit of the album without doubt. Again simple acoustic guitar riffs set the tempo. The vocals of Chapman are again top drawer as she just breezes through the t
ale of a couple struggling to make ends meat. The lyrics are so deep, simple and heartfelt, they describe in detail the life of Chapman, and how she has been forced to deal with one hell of a lot of problems. Failed relationship, alcoholic father etc. The chorus is an absolute stunner and will leave you hooked and wanting to listen to the track over and over. Towards the end of the song the chorus picks up and is belted out by Chapman, this adds to the depth and atmosphere of the whole tune. A great song and one that tells of struggle in life but still has a positive outcome that leaves you with hope. 3: Across The Lines (3.22) 4/5 This song carries on the same theme of acoustic guitars with a mid tempo beat. The lyrics contained in this song are so thought provoking and controversial. They tell of racism and social issues involved in certain areas of America. The title tells of the divide between the whites and the blacks and how the blacks are perceived to running the American dream. The song is so emotional and the vocals sum up the whole expression of this. Again great lyrics throughout the song, just great to listen to. 4: Behind The Wall (1.46) 5/5 A Capella track is just stunning. The vocals of Chapman are so powerful, tender and innocent. They send a chill down my spine every time I listen to this track. The song is so emotional that it will pull away on your heart and leave you almost in tears. The song tells of domestic violence and the lyrics are so detailed and thought provoking. The track may be short but is an absolute gem and would bless any album. 5: Baby Can I Hold You Tonight (3.16) 5/5 Another big hit of the album, and without doubt the best love ballad on the album. The track again has the presence of acoustic guitars, but more emphasis is put on the drumbeat. There is also a hint of violin in there to listen out for. This adds to the musical depth of the track. The lyrics and vocals are again
top notch, as you have come to expect from the first tracks of the album. Boyzone also covered the song, but while their version was good, it is not in the same league as the original. 6: Mountains Of Things (4.37) 4/5 This track is a little different form one has gone before. There is a heavy influence of pipe percussion instruments and also the glock. This musically blends into a kind of tribe music, if you get my drift. The lyrics are again so simple and not concerned with finding simple cheesy rhymes. The song is about the feel of unfairness about the different standards of living. And how the rich do not give the poor chance to prosper, and are very cutthroat and possession orientated. The song I feel is a political gesture to the stance on third world debt; at least that is what I take from the song. Again, the song ends on a high note with the feel of hope and a brighter future. 7: She's Got Her Ticket (3.54) 4/5 The vocals of Chapman tale centre stage on this track and they are very powerful. The music combines the early acoustic guitars and drums, with a mix of the feel from 'Mountains...', this results in a kind of Caribbean feel. The lyrics are as expected top drawer, and for me tell of a woman/girl being very focused and determined to get away from her current situation and move onto better things. There is also some electric guitar to look out for which again highlights the depth of this record. 8: Why? (2.01) 5/5 This is quite an upbeat affair and almost rocky track. The title of the track sums up the whole lyrically content of the song perfectly. It is just about asking question and question about various topics in life, domestic violence, romance, politics, global threats and third world poverty just to name a few! I think that last sentence describes the whole album so well, it gives you an idea of how much depth and variation there is on the record. The song has a kind of pace
that will just whirl around and leave you wondering what just happened, as it passes you by very quickly. 9: For My Lover (3.15) 5/5 A heavy drumbeat sets the tone for this very moody affair. The lyrics tell of relationship that involves the woman doing anything to protect her partner. Including spending two weeks in a Virginia jail. This is a great indication of the power of love and the fact the people will do anything to save their loved ones. The lyrics provide some great imagery, which is perfectly backed up by the music. The vocals are again superb and so emotional and heartfelt; this track is very easy on the ear. 10: If Not Now? (2.55) 4/5 This is a very soothing track that just floats along. It is a kind of bluesy track to start with piano talking the centre of attraction. At times the beat picks up with the introduction of the drum, this just emphasises and drives home certain parts of the song. This works well, and like the rest of the album it is very well produced. The song tells of a relationship, being based on broken promises and how eventually it will break down and not work. But you still stay with someone in the hope that they will change. 11: For You (3.08) 4/5 The album closes on a very slow love song. The emotions run very high on this track, with the acoustic guitar barely being noticeable, as it is over powered by the splendid vocals of Chapman. The lyrics really are immense on this track. The imagery created by the pen of Chapman is so sublime and captures the feeling that when you love some one so much you cannot describe the feeling and how you are not in control of your emotions anymore. A great song, and the perfect way to finish, and unbelievably good album. This I feel is one of the greatest albums of all time and if you want to try something new this should be it. I cannot recommend it enough. This debut album was definitely the best album produced by Tracy Chapman, a
nd she does not get the recognition she deserves. So go spread the word. Also look out for her greatest hits album, which was released earlier this year, and would be a good place to start, if you want to get into her music. It is called 'Collection'. Then you can go and buy her whole catalogue like I have! You can pick them up for £6 each now as well! So go on you will not disappointed. Released: 15 April 1988 Label: Elektra Number Of Tracks: 11 Play Time: 36.06 Genre: Folk Rock/Singer-Songwriter/Adult Alt Produced By: David Kershenbaum
Tracy Chapman's debut album was released in 1988 to high critical aclaim. The album is a powerful, emotive album which draws you in slowly till you are finally singing along with her. The album clearly shows that this is one woman who believes passionately in what she is singing about.Her political beliefs are undiluted as she looks at life for the have nots in the great American dream, but before you think you're just going to have left wing dogma thrown in your face this is far from the case, it's done very subtely! Chapman draws on her experiences of growing up in a working class black neighbourhood in Clevland Ohio and the day to day struggles her mother had raising two children alone. The production focuses on Chapmans lilting but powerful voice and her accoustic guitar, drawing in on her folk singer background I can remember the first time I came across Tracy Chapman. I was watching the 70th Birthday party celebrations for the still imprisoned Nelson Mandala on TV. It was the usual round of big names singing along with mega loads of equipement and you got the impression that some were there not to celebrate the birthday of Mandala but to celebrate a few more record sales! Suddenly a small diminitive black woman came on stage sat on a stool with her guitar and sang her heart out. You just got the impression this woman was here to play for Mandala and not for personal gain! Her performance was electricfying.I along with 12,000 others went out and bought her album due to this performance! Within weeks the album topped the UK charts " Talkin' bout a Revolution" - the opening track draws you in. With Chapmans powerful but soft and lilting voice you instantly warm to this woman. This is track telling you that you are not going to be listeining to some nice easy album! With lyrics like "Poor people are gonna rise up. And get their share. Poor people are gonna rise up rise up. And take whats theirs" you
soon realise that this is a woman on a mission! I get images of the 60's equal rights marches when I hear this track. But even for a political song it doesn't sound like one! Maybe I've been listeining to too much Billy Bragg! "Fast car" - this is prehaps the best known of the track on this album as it was released as a single. It reached the top 10 soon after it's release. Fast car tell the story of a couple looking to escape the life they have of semi poverty and find the so called American dream. Catchy but by know means the best track on this album! "Across the lines" - this tell of the social divide between blacks and white in America in certain neighbourhoods. A bitter look at how the media always manages to scapegoat the poor. But as I said previously Chapman has a way of drawing you in with her soft but powerful voice that unless you really listein hard to the lyrics you wouldn't really believe this was a so called political song. "Behind the wall" - this is a very powerful look at domestic violence form the point of view of someone experiencing someone else pain hence the title "Behind the wall". It also explores the police's attitude to case of domestic violence with the poignant line's " the police always come late if they come at all" and " They say they can't interfere with domestic affairs. Between a man and a wife" a powerful song that even now sends shivers up my spine. "Baby can I hold you?" - this has to be one of my favourite tracks on this album a poignant look at a woman who afer years of being in a relationship just wants a little bit of commitment from her man. You can't help smiling as you listein to the lyrics! The other two "love songs" on the album again play on the commitment idea in "If not now" Chapman asks "if not now when?" "For you" is another p
owerful song about being in love you can't not be touched by this womans need for some commitment! These are not your typical pop loves songs, they are far deeper it's as if Chapman wants you to explore the relationship you have with others "Mountains o'things" - this tells the tale of someone wanting just a little bit more than what she's got well a whole mountain of things! Her desire for them is in the belief that this will protect her from the harsh realities of life. A subtle look at the haves and have nots in society. You can't help but smile when you hear of this womans desire to own a fur coat "... drag my furs on the ground" just like some film star! "Why?" - this is prehaps one of the best tracks on this album. Chapman cleverly manages to explore some basic concepts in this very simple but cleverly done song. It is a very simplistic look at society but still gives you food for thought with lines like " why are the missiles called peacekeepers when they're aimed to kill?" "For my lover" - with a title like this you would expect to find some sweet love song. This is a scary song, looking at love from the point of being obessional and as if it was a crime. You get the impression this is a woman on the brink. On first listeining you get the impression that this woman's lover is the one imprisoned but then you realise it is the woman that is imprisoned both physically and mentally for the love of her man! Should I ever get round to writing a top 10 album review then this album would definetly have a place in it. Hopefully I have done justice to what is truely a brilliant album.
Tracy Chapman's eponymous debut album caused a sensation on its release in 1988. 13 years later, it is still a masterpiece, with its hearfelt simplicity and raw emotion. Chapman's career had been pretty much limited to a minor cult following in the USA until the 'Free Nelson Mandela' concert. One act had withdrawn at the last minute, and so her set was increased. Singing acoustically, this relative unknown became an overnight sensation due to her deep, but subtle voice and her politically charged songs which seemed to sum up the event perfectly. All of the songs on the album were self-written, and some of the copyrights date back to 1982, and so this really was the cream of her recordings up to that point. The demand for her album became huge, and reached it managed to reach #1 soon afterwards. Very short (35 minutes, 11 tracks), it is as basic as an album can be, but this contributes to the powerfulness of the message that she wants to put across. Singles wise, Chapman has had only 1 Top 40 single in the UK in her entire career. This was 'Fast Car', a song about trying to escape from your desparate surroundings, only to find the same problems elsewhere. This is a contrast to the optimistic album opener 'Talking 'Bout A Revolution', which failed to make the Top 40 on its release. Still, it is one of her most famous songs, and can still be heard on 'VH1 classics' occassionally, complete with the footage from the Nelson Mandela concert. The next track is 'Across The Lines', all about racial tensions. Never afraid to beat around the bush, her poignant songs about important issues seem timeless even now. This is also shown in the a cappela 'Behind The Wall', a song about domestic violence and the failure of the authorities to do anything about it. The middle tracks of the album, such as 'For My Lover' consider relationships rather than politics, a
nd contain substantial impact in their lyrical simplicity. Another of these is her finest moment, 'Baby Can I Hold You Tonight', one of the most tender songs that I have ever heard. I can still remember my disgust when I heard Boyzone's 'Oirish' interpretation of it, but it did have the benefit of increasing the public's awareness of the song. The final two tracks, 'If Not Now' and 'For You' follow in much the same vein, and their rawness make the emotions portrayed much more sincere than in the over-produced songs of today. Sadly, Chapman didn't go on to produce an album that was anywhere near as successful again, although this album did return to the Top 20 this year when it was discounted by a major retailer. One of those recordings that most people seem to have and love, I have never seen a bad review for it. Perhaps this is because it's absolutely faultless and distinctive, and really is a must purchase for any music fan.
Expecting the same kind of derisory comments from my son as if I had played the Teletubbies album, I pressed a button on the car CD and selected Tracy Chapman, the 1988 classic album by.. guess who? His girlfriend said “great” and announced that she too had the album that was released when she was still in nappies! My daughters already knew “Baby Can I Hold You”, a perfectly crafted track that had been copied (quite badly) by one of the conveyor-belt boy bands. What is it that makes this album such a classic, with such staying power and appeal across the generations? Tracy Chapman was one of the singer-songwriters who helped to put the genre into the forefront of popular culture during the 1980’s, along with other artists, such as Joan Armatrading. Not only is Chapman an accomplished musician, her lyrics are confessional, assertive, and heart-rending – “Across the Lines” describing the struggle of African-Americans, and “Behind the Wall”, a voice solo with no backing track, which is a recital on the plight of women in violent relationships. These two tracks contrast brilliantly with the love songs, such as “Baby Can I Hold You” and “For My Lover”. This multi-platinum debut album crept up on the music scene from nowhere and is here to stay. As a black working class woman from Cleveland, Ohio, Tracy Chapman played the guitar as a child, and followed a successful education, ending up at Tufts University, reading anthropology and African studies. It was here that she started to perform her own songs, eventually recording a few tracks for the college radio station. Elliot Roberts, who had a track record with Neil Young and Joni Mitchell became her manager and helped to sign with Elektra records in 1987. “Tracy Chapman” was released in the spring of 1988, and such was the interest and appreciation of her debu
t album, she was invited to play at Nelson Mandela's Seventieth Birthday Party which was televised world-wide. Her performance was so successful that the single from the album, "Fast Car", climbed the charts, and, within a few months the album had gone multi-platinum. In 1989 Tracy Chapman won four Grammys, including Best New Artist. Unfortunately, if your first album is this brilliant, it is difficult to improve, and her subsequent releases, although warmly received by the critics, have not had the same commercial success. The album “Tracy Chapman” is a definite classic, and could almost be described as a cult record, such is its following. Her acoustic guitar playing is gifted, and her voice full of character and emotion; every track on the album stands well on its own, and makes a classic set when played end to end. If you haven’t heard the album, now is the time to get hold of a copy, broaden your musical horizons, and find out what you have been missing for all these years.
Tracy Chapman is an artist associated with some extremely powerful work and this is no exception. Her voice is complemented superbly by the instrumental music behind her to create a superb lyrical album depicting the human rights issues of the time. 1. TALK ABOUT A REVOLUTION: This song is possibly her most famous (along with Fast Car). It contains some very powerful lyrics such as: 'while they're standing in the welfare lines crying at the doorsteps of the armies of salvation wasting time in the unemployment lines sitting around waiting for a promotion' As the lyrics suggest the song is about poverty and a recession of goverment leading to a hard life in which the majority suffer. Sung with a deep tone this one really causes you to think. 2. FAST CAR: Aimed at demeaning the successful in the world of business, mocking the corrupt, this song creates a hidden meaning behind the words. You need to look a little further into it to find the real meaning. Once again the guitar backing adds to the atmosphere of the song. 3. ACROSS THE LINES: A superb song in itself, this was later sampled for another song in her future album. 4. BEHIND THE WALL: With reality comes a question of morals as Chapman points out our moral stance without action philosophy. It's a very hard point which leaves the listener thinking. It describes a domestic abuse in which she calls against the police for lack of action saying 'always coming late, if they come at all', then sitting in silence listeing to the screaming, 'behind the wall'. 5. BABY CAN I HOLD YOU: Covered recently by Boyzone this song is far more powerful when sung with a guitar backing. Chapmans slightly quivering yet steady voice show her resolve against the odds and add a new dimension to this well known song. 6. MOUNTAINS OF THINGS: The weakest of the songs on the album but by n
o means a let-down. It's worth a listen once even if you never play it again. 7. SHES GOT HER TICKET: A song about escapism, and the authoritarian dictation that prevents it yet also causes it to evolve inside the people. 8. WHY?: I need not explain this song once I have written the lyrics, powerful and questioning in true Tracy Chapman style: 'Why do the babies starve When there's enough food to feed the world Why when there's so many of us Are people still alone Why are the missiles called peace keepers When they're aimed to kill Why is a woman still not safe When shes in her home' 9. FOR MY LOVER: This describes the power and stupidity of lovers, desperate to save their own blood and love. It describes a lover who sits in jail for their lover aswell as covering a twenty thousand dollar bail. It's the first sign of personal compassion as oppose to oppression in the album as Chapman explains how much she loves her lover. 10. IF NOT NOW: This questions the 'tomorrow' idea, where promises are made but never carried out. Targeted at preventing those around her from leaving it too late for love, it follows in the mould of track 9. 11. FOR YOU: A final farewell to the album with a love song sung with as much hope and breath as revolution. I wouldn't pass this up as a finale although the other songs are more powerful, this was a personal note from her to her lover. Overall Tracy Chapman creates an amazing sound thats powerful to the ears and with lyrics to match. The guitar backing allows us to enter into a sense of singular depression, away from the heavy rock of modern electric instruments and into the realms of tear jerking emotion. Not one for the light hearted this album depicts some gruelling images and has meaning hidden within the words. Openyl speaking of the personal oppression suffered by the masses
in her first few songs she eventually flows through to love. A lesson to us all. Buy it now.
This album is nothing but true class. From the first track 'talkin' bout a revolution' to 'if not now'. It is probably the most melodic album I have ever heard and has a real mix of styles. Most people will know the track 'fast car' but this is album is about more than one great track. It's a whole series of them put together. The guitar work is exceptional in parts and great use is made of her stunning vocals to really emphasise the meaningful and thought provoking lyrics. Which incidently are quite sad at times. 'Talkin' Bout a Revolution' is a great rock track and talks about the problem of unemployment. 'Fast Car' is more than just a great melody; you can totally picture yourself escaping life by taking a drive with a loved one, forgetting the troubles of the day and just enjoying the experience. 'Across the Lines' tells the story of how racial hatred is tearing the world apart. 'Baby Can I Hold You' sorrowfully covers the 'guy takes advantage of the girl' relationship and was recently covered by Boyzone (badly I might add). 'Behind the Wall' paints a vivid picture of domestic violence and what it was like before it was taken seriously as a crime. 'Mountains O' Things' which is a parable set to music concerning the way we enslave ourselves to material objects and obsession with what we think to be success. I also have all of Tracy Chapman's other albums and apart from maybe 'crossroads' none of the others come close. Tracy Chapman deserves far more success than she achieves. This album is one I listen to time and again and certainly makes my top 10 album list.
'Tracy Chapman' by Tracy Chapman is my all time favourite album of all times. Although I only purchased it on CD recently - it is the most played Cd in my collection. Tracy Chapman is one of those artists we rarely hear of these days - but in my eyes we shoulf hear a lot more of her - her voice is second to none - deep and very thought provoking. This album contains some of Tracy's better known song such as Fast Car, Bbay can i hold you - a full list of tracks on the album are as follows : 1Each of these tracks will send you into a though provoking spin - the lyrics are all related to real life - one talks about domestic abuse and is in my eyes a really sad and distrubing song - but brilliantly written and sung. Although this album was released in 1988 - it is one of those timeless classics.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Talkin' 'bout A Revolution
2 Fast Car
3 Across The Lines
4 Behind The Wall
5 Baby Can I Hold You
6 Mountain O' Things
7 She's Got Her Ticket
9 For My Lover
10 If Not Now...
11 For You