The closing chapter in the Small Town Romance Blog ‘Michael Chapman’s Celebration‘ is here, and brings us to date, to the cause of this celebration.
It took me three days to write these posts, but it was worth it. I have so much music around me, that I sometimes forget to go back to listen to the stuff I loved in the past, and just looking for the next new thing. I’m a ‘Y’ generation guy.
So sitting with all these classic Chapman records was a real fun time for me, discovering new facts (not all of them I included – buy the cd’s and read the liner notes!), and getting a different perspective altogether on Chapman’s career, just by visiting one album by the other, chronologically.
So today, we have the release of the new Tompkins Square compilation of Chapman’s guitar tunes, and we’d like to wish Mr. Chapman a happy birthday for his 70’s and thank him for endless good music and inspiration as a guitarist.
The new album Trainsong: Guitar Compositions 1967-2010 is a celebration indeed. This double album contains 26 tunes that Chapman re-recorded for this compilation, from his many albums he recorded in over forty years. It has it all, the naked ladies, the ragtime (acoustic and electric), the jazz, the boogie, the Davey Graham, the John Fahey – but most of all, the fine precise touch of Chapman the guitarist and the composer.
You’ll find 12 strings guitars, resonators, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, carefully picked with his killer right hand, from strumming to finger picking, all of them shows that Chapman’s in great shape and can play the guitar like no other. The cd contains liner notes by Chapman himself on each and every tune, and reading these little, sometime funny stories, is a quick glance to a diary of a journeyman.
He’s sarcastic and witty, humble and passionate, not a man to make a fuss about anything, just sitting there watching time passing, and occasional adds his remark to each and every year that goes by. This guy had been through all the phases an artist can wish, with the good sides and bad sides in life, but always kept an amazing authenticity and left a significant trademark in his playing and compositions.
You’ll also find a list of the guitars played in the record and a detailed guitar tuning list, detailed liner notes by long time fan Charles Shaar Murray (who, according to the liner notes, has been a Chapman fan since the age of 18 when he first heard Rainmaker). The overall vibe is warm and welcoming, the design is beautiful and the whole listening experience is just fabulous.
If there’s a way to summarize Chapman’s career up to this moment – a guitar compilation is the best way. True, Chapman’s lyrics are fantastic, and his vocal delivery of the lyrics is second to none, but above all, to me, Chapman was always a composer first, guitar player second, and a singer third. So, to conclude this long journey of mine with Chapman’s albums, I must say that I learned so much about him by listening to the old records again, and fell completely in love with him again.
You don’t get that lucky, falling in love with your wife after so many years together, but this new compilation, does just that. It will give you a splendid Chapman time, some magic moments, will go through several moods for you and will make you take a look in the old albums and photographs.
It worked out brilliantly man, it really worked out. Happy birthday.
[Here’s what we’ve been through so far]
- Fully Qualified Survivor
- Wrecked Again
- Millstone Grit
- Deal Gone Done
- Savage Amusement
- The Man Who Hated Mornings
- The Live Albums
- Americana 1+2
- Time Passed and Time Passing
- Trainsong: Guitar Compositions 1967-2010