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on 5 November 2011
not has good of album i thought it would have been there was nothing wrong with the cd meaning scratches it was perfect just the song are not very good bar one, sorry but won^t buy another tracy chapman cd
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I have a terrible confession to make about this album; I discovered it because of Boyzone. I know, horrible isn't it? Back in 1997, I was in my Father-in-law's car and, as usual, he had some dreary middle-of-the-road radio station on and I suddenly became aware of this fantastic song a group I knew I absolutely despised were singing. Knowing that it must have been a cover version, as it was too good to be a song written for those talentless twits, I went into the local HMV and asked the members of staff if they knew who did the original of "Baby Can I Hold You" and one of the more knowledgeable members of staff both informed me that it was a very wonderful Tracy Chapman song from the very wonderful "Tracy Chapman" album and expressed her utter disdain for the Boyzone version. Impressed by the sales assistant's endorsement, I bought this album the same day. When I got home and played it, I realised that I already knew and liked a couple of the other songs, the catchy "Fast Car" with that lovely, memorable guitar line and the fantastic moment when the powerful snare drum crashes in, the country-tinted "For My Lover" and the quietly optimistic "Talking 'bout a Revolution" from the radio, years ago.

I was, and remain, blown away by the strength of the songwriting and the heartfelt delivery of the whole of the album. It's surely one of the greatest, most remarkable début albums ever made. "Baby Can I Hold You" is still my very favourite song and often causes excess moistness in my eyes when I listen to it, but there are so many excellent songs on her début, so many songs that hit home, emotionally, that it is truly excellent as a whole. The social and political commentary is just as relevant today as it was 25 years ago and it is all the more effective delivered by that beautiful, deep, soulful voice. "Behind The Wall", especially, is hard-hitting and powerful, sung simply, starkly and without any backing. "Talking 'bout a Revolution" particularly hits home, talking about "welfare and unemployment lines" and could easily have been written today, about people's lives in our difficult, present economic climate.

This wonderful lyrical mixture of love, anger, feminism and racial issues (the superb "Across The Lines") works so well because it is so convincingly conveyed with such dignity, passion and, certainly, a very emotionally honest way. It's an album that I come back to time and time again and it retains a timeless feel to it, thanks to the largely acoustic instrumentation and unfussy production. I haven't heard every subsequent Tracy Chapman album, but I would find it difficult to believe that she has ever equalled such a tremendous piece of work. However, she is obviously a genuine talent and has had a long recording career, so perhaps I'm doing her a disservice by saying that. One thing is for certain, this is an essential part of any decent record collection.
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on 13 June 2014
Tracy Chapman’s self-titled first album, released in the spring of 1988, helped revive interest in folk-influenced singer-songwriters, a genre that fell out of favour after the first half of the 1970s. The best examples are concentrated and detailed, but also very melodic and accessible. Take “Baby Can I Hold You” which, appropriately for a song about the failure of words, uses its own very economically. The three verses are tightly structured around three phrases that the unnamed subject of the song “can’t say”. They are “sorry”, “forgive me” and “I love you”. The six words that can be said – “Baby can I hold you tonight” – are placed in the chorus and suggest that there are ways of expressing emotion that go beyond the verbal. However, they may not be enough, or may even be the wrong words. The song slips into the past tense to reveal that this relationship failed. “Maybe if I’d told you the right words/At the right time/You’d be mine”. And we hear that the problem is an ongoing one, on both sides: “Years gone by and still/Words don’t come easily”. That’s about it – the sum total of all the words used.

Musically, the song is just as tight, relying mostly on the three most common chords – D major (the tonic) G major (the subdominant) and A major (the dominant). But simple means can be used to great effect. Chapman always uses the song’s main “wild card” chord – the supertonic (E minor with the hint of a ninth) – on the recurring two lines that express the most uncertainty (“can’t say” and “don’t come easily”), where it has the effect of delaying the inevitable resolution to the strong dominant and tonic chords. The first time the supertonic is used as a weaker alternative to the subdominant and leads straight to the dominant (albeit one with a suspended fourth, a further delaying tactic). The second time it’s used, the supertonic is diverted to the subdominant before it gets to the dominant (as the “unsayable” phrases of each verse are repeated twice), only then resolving onto the tonic. In a way this is all too obvious to need explanation, and takes longer to read than to listen to. But I think it is worth spelling out, as in the end it has a lot to do with why the song feels so satisfactory.
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on 13 February 2002
Put simply, Tracy Chapman is the most unsung hero of soul music in history. Forget the likes of Dido, Chapman did emotive music best. Much of the album is melancholy and at times shocking (the highly effective "Behind The Wall" for example). "Fast Car" has an instantly memorable acoustic lilt and for a time in the late 80s Chapman was hot property. Sadly she faded into relative obscurity. This debut album from 1988 was well ahead of its time; if anyone remembers the mid to late 80s there was an incredible amount of dross being churned out. This is excellent, and one of those albums that anyone could listen to and love.
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on 28 December 2001
This album is excellent. Not just because Tracey Chapman has one of the most unique voices of her generation or because her songs are wonderfully created but because unlike the mainstream music of this generation they all tell stories about things that really matter. The music is lilting and it's impossible to refrain from singing along but more than that they stay in your mind and challenge with their themes, more powerful than the Westlife's of today.
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on 3 July 2001
It's not often that you hear an artist quite as unique as Tracy Chapman. The soothing voice mixed with the very topical issues works perfectly. This is typified in "Behind the Wall" - a soothing acapella song about domesic abuse. "Baby can I hold you" was so cruelly ripped off by Boyzone, that it emerges as one of the best tracks on this LP. "Across the Lines" is a poignant testament to race violence, and "Why?" is simply beautiful. It's an album worth having - if only for the uplifting "Talkin' bout a revolution".
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on 25 September 2001
This album is among the best i have ever heard. From the easy listening introduction of ' Talkin bout a revolution ' to the peaceful and soothing 'if not now ' and 'for you', it really takes your breath away. A realy soothing and easy listening album. Tracy Chapman is one of my favourite female artists of all time with a strong character to her voice. Recommended to anyone, well worth the money.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 11 January 2017
Tracy Chapman's self-titled, chart-topping debut studio album has lost none of it's magic since it's 1988 release, and remains my favourite piece of work that she has completed to date.

An American songwriter in the same vain as Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell, with a somewhat unique, very deep voice, Tracy's songs tell a real story, which 'flavour-of-the-month' pop records can't even come close to. A female Bob Dylan, she has influenced many aspiring musicians.

All eleven tracks on this album are very pleasing on my ear, but especially good are what is probably the most famous track, the highly acclaimed, internationally successful single 'Fast Car', the opening 'Talkin' Bout A Revolution', romantic 'Baby Can I Hold You', which BoyZone would later cover, 'Across the Lines', which deals with racism, the catchy 'For My Lover', which finds her singing about how we feel towards the one we love, and would do anything for them, and the tale of domestic abuse, 'Behind the Wall', which is performed acapella, making it all the more haunting.

Although Tracy's vocals are the main attraction, the simple instrumentation, usually acoustic guitars, is very relaxing, and contributes to the five star quality of the whole record. Tracy Chapman remains quite an unfairly overlooked artist, but her debut album has been rightly acclaimed so much over the years, that it remains on the lists of truly essential releases from the eighties. Sit back, and relax to this timeless, soulful, and touching music, which you'll find yourself turning to again and again.
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on 16 April 2001
I owe owning this album to Spice Girl Melanie B, who, on a local radio show, played Fast Car, saying it was her favourite song. On hearing it, I bought the album. *TALKIN' BOUT A REVOLUTION opens the album in fine style; organs, guitars, impeccable vocals all make the track, but it's timeless lyrics propel this track into the league of 'standout track.' *FAST CAR is another standout - its simple instrumentation over which Tracy laments her tragic life makes this a classic. *ACROSS THE LINES deals with racism intelligently and fairly. One of the most evocative tracks on the album. *BEHIND THE WALL - a chilling, atmospheric acapella discussing domestic violence. *BABY CAN I HOLD YOU, which Boyzone covered in 1997, is another melodic lament of love, like Fast Car. *MOUNTAINS O' THINGS is one of the more different tracks on the CD - afro-caribbean instrumentation backs this story of materialism. *SHE'S GOT HER TICKET is the only song that blens both reggae and country influences. Funnily, its hook is the least appealing part of the song. *WHY? is possibly the weakest track on Tracy Chapman's debut, melodically at least, as it does deal with some important social issues. *FOR MY LOVER is another standout. A killer chorus, verse, melody and story make this track. *IF NOT NOW... sees Tracy change her mood from the previous two tracks, another love lament, which, again, has a stronger verse than chorus. *FOR YOU is a perfect album closer backed solely by an acoustic guitar. This album is full of quality music and deserves to be as highly regarded as many other albums of the time, but unfortunately, is criminally under-rated
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on 1 July 2004
I never knew who Tracy Chapman was until my boyfriend introduced me to her music. Now I am totally addicted, this lady has a superb voice with real emotion in it that you can all relate to!
She sings about real issues in the world which most artists don't do anymore!
All I can say is well done for bringing this music into my life, it is amazing!
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