Harry Chapin's fourth album, VERITIES & BALDERDASH, was his best studio effort and his most commercially successful, working its way up the US charts and eventually going gold. Its success is attributable, in part, to Chapin's excellent batch of tunes, which display his trademark narrative sensibility (Chapin's songs often unfold like short stories), literate wit, and knack for melody. VERITIES & BALDERDASH also works because its arrangements and production move away from the heavily orchestrated drama that mars some the artist's other studio work towards a cleaner sound that highlights the fine songwriting.
Chapin's best-known song, "Cat's in the Cradle," is here. Based on a poem by the artist's wife, the tune is a year-by-year account of a father-son relationship plagued by the father's too-busy schedule (his negligence comes back to haunt him when his grown son becomes too busy to spend time with him). The song is one of Chapin's most affecting and emotionally resonant. The songwriter's attention to character, anecdote, and emotional subtext is also evident in "I Wanna Learn a Love Song" and "What Made America Famous?" The sprightly story-song "30,000 Pounds of Bananas" provides welcome comic relief to this top-notch Chapin release.