“It’s no exaggeration to say that when we began the monumental task of properly archiving the hundreds of Bottom Line concert recordings in the vault last year, we really didn’t have any idea just how much stuff we had” begin producer Gregg Bendian’s liner notes for Harry Chapin: Live at the Bottom Line. “There were piles and piles of ¼ inch tape reels, DATs, cassettes, VHS tapes, CDRs and myriad digital formats that practically no one remembers. It was a beautiful mess.”
Thankfully, Bendian and company were able to find and salvage a treasure trove of Chapin performances from the legendary Greenwich Village venue. On June 29, Live at the Bottom Line will allow fans to appreciate a wealth of never-before-released material. In addition to new takes on Chapin classics like “Flowers Are Red,” we’ll be treated to a rousing version of his most enduring song, “Cat’s in the Cradle.” Right from the downright spirited count-in, we can tell that Chapin is giving his all, working through the poignant lyrics with a lovely combination of gravel and honey in his voice.
The crowd is rightly enamored and enthralled. “No matter the size of the audience, Harry made us feel like we were in his living room,” writes radio host/philanthropist/friend Bill Ayres in the liner notes. Fittingly, Live at the Bottom Line comes complete with Chapin’s onstage banter and the hum of the crowd, successfully conveying the galvanized atmosphere of the room on these few incredible nights in January 1981.
Listen to “Cat’s in the Cradle below and look for Live at the Bottom Line on June 29.