This Rhino-issued box set features five of the late great singer/songwriter's best albums in their entireties, including Heads and Tales (1972), Sniper and Other Love Songs (1972), Short Stories (1973), Verities & Balderdash (1974), and On the Road to Kingdom Come (1976).
This is yet another Harry Chapin anthology, which, like the others, is a fine representation of his career. All the hits are here, "Taxi," "Cat's in the Cradle," "W.O.L.D.," "Mr. Tanner," and the like, which are detailed well in the liner notes. This set may be a better choice for the casual fan as opposed to Story of a Life: The Harry Chapin Box Set, as it is more concise. There are also some interesting snipets taken from various interviews and events, which offer a window into Chapin's strong ideals and also his sense of humor.
On the Road to Kingdom Come sounded more like a rock album than anything Harry Chapin had done to date. In the hands of sympathetic producer/arranger Stephen Chapin, Harry's songs are infused with clever and often humorous bits of musical commentary – horns, electric guitars, keyboards, backing vocals, and various sound effects pop up at opportune times throughout – that makes much of the material instantly ingratiating.
Originally released in 2002 on the Northern Blues label, Wise & Otherwise is not only one of Harry’s best albums; it’s one of the best blues discs in recent years. Fans of the Mohan Veena will be charmed with this offering. The exotic instrument is the centre of the traditional song “Death Have Mercy”, as well as the perennial favourite ballad “Coat Of Mail”. Wise & Otherwise also features Harry’s unique version of The Thrill is Gone” where Manx successfully combines the classic blues track with a traditional Indian raga. Harry Manx on vocals, six string lap slide guitar, mohan veena, banjo and harmonica.