Friday, April 5, 2013

tracy chapman

Tracy Chapman defied expectations and ushered in the return of the singer/songwriter with the stirring socially conscious acoustic folk of her audacious and emotional eponymous debut.  Chapman had begun writing songs as a child in Cleveland, Ohio when her mother gave her a ukulele.  She continued her music as a college student at Tufts University, playing at coffee houses and subways around Cambridge, Massachusetts.  She caught the attention of a fellow student, who brought a demo tape to his father Charles Koppelman who owned SBK Publishing.  After graduation, she signed with Elektra Records.  Chapman reveals the first producer did not work out:    "My first record was almost not my first record...He put me in the middle of the room. They were all around me, everybody was playing wildly because he gave them very little direction ... And the music was horrible. Bombastic.  So I called the production company after a few days saying, 'This doesn't sound good.' And they were like, 'We think it's all right, just stick it out.'...It was like, you're young, you're inexperienced, you're a woman even, what do you know about any of this?'"

She was eventually allowed to work with another producer, David Kershenbaum, who had an appreciation of the simplified sound that she was seeking.  'Tracy Chapman' was recorded in eight weeks at Powertrax, Kershenbaum's Hollywood studio with Tracy Chapman on acoustic guitar, percussion, rhythm guitar, and vocals; Ed Black on steel guitar; Paulinho Da Costa on percussion; Denny Fongheiser on percussion and drums; Jack Holder on organ, dulcimer, dobro, piano, electric guitar, Hammond organ, and sitar; Steve Kaplan on harmonica and keyboard; Larry Klein on bass; David LaFlamme on electric violin; and Bob Marlette on keyboard.  

'Tracy Chapman' was an international smash, going to twenty-eight in Belgium; twenty-seven in France; two in Australia, Norway, and Sweden; and number one in Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, the UK, and the US.  The album was nominated for six Grammys, winning awards for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance (for 'Fast Car'), Best Contemporary Folk Album, and Best New Artist.

"Fast Car" was a top five hit around the world, going to number one in Canada and Ireland.

'Tracy Chapman'
full album:

Tracy Chapman from Tracy Chapman on Myspace.

1. Talkin' 'bout a Revolution 0:00
2, Fast Car 2:46
3. Across the Lines 7:51
4. Behind the Wall 11:23
5. Baby Can I Hold You 13:21
6. Mountains o' Things 16:42
7. She's Got Her Ticket 21:29
8. Why? 25:35
9. For My Lover 27:46
10. If Not Now... 31:08
11. For You 34:15 

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