Monday, November 28, 2005

Tracy Chapman brings it on home.



I was first introduced to the singer,Tracy Chapman, by the teenager who grew up , also as an only child, in the house I was also raised in, years earlier. My parents had built a retirement home when I finished grad school and this girl was the daughter of a boy who was about six years behind me in school. She had dropped over to see my parents and invited me over to see my old home. Her room had been my father's. Mine had been across the hall. She dragged out tapes and one was Tracy Chapman.

When my father was dying in 1986, I had made several trips to Pageland, my hometown. He was on oxygen in a hospital bed at home, with Hospice helping. It was Christmas and we knew he was close. The teenager invited my cousins and me to come walk through the house again if we liked. I remember walking up the stairs and seeing the bathroom on the landing with the old fixtures where I'd so many times seen my father shave, when I was a child. We walked on back towards the pond. An old board hung on a rusted nail in the trunk of the Chinaberry tree along the way. It was the last remnant of the 'ladder' that led up to my treehouse where I spent some warm afternoons reading. Then...the woods, the pines where I ran many autumn afternoons , the only sound being the swish of my feet on the pine needles underneath.

Back home again, my father had gone into a state between awake and coma. He was talking nonstop to people I couldn't see. He did that all of Christmas day and drew his last breath as I stood beside his bed the following day. It may sound crazy but I felt....well special to be with him as he died. I wanted to be there with him all the way.

I hear Tracy Chapman and I not only hear a singer I admire. I hear my memories.

This is the Amazon Linkto that first music of hers I heard. I still think it's her best.

This is a Lyrics Page from that album. Well worth a looksee.

Pris

8 comments:

Brian Campbell said...

That's my favourite Tracy too. So often the case that a first album is the best. Frequently it's a "selected hits" accumulated over years; then the singer/songwriter is under pressure to produce another one just as good in a year or two, with all the distractions of touring and showbiz glitz. Not an easy order to fill.

Pris said...

I agree with you. The pressure on her must've been tremendous and she was still so young. Maria McKee's another one. Her first album 'You Gotta Sin To Get Saved' was dynamite and I've not heard anything to match it after.

Michael Parker said...

Hi Pris.
Tracy Chapman's first album was exceptional. I can still listen to hear voice and lyrics. This is a fine post. Thanks for sharing the memory.

Pris said...

Thank YOU and welcome back!

Berenice said...

I like Tracy Chapman also. Thank you so much for sharing this memory...I know it can be tough. If I was going to put a song to the time around when my father died...it has to be Ruby Tuesday on this page http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/store/artist/album/0,,156068,00.html

Pris said...

I love Ruby Tuesday, too!

Shane said...

Tracy Chapman: saw her in concert in 1989. reminds me of my first unsuccessful lawschool stint. Maybe my car was too fast back then.

Pris said...

You're funny:-) And you saw her sing?? I envy you!