Tracy Chapman Tracy Chapman

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Tracy Chapman Tracy Chapman
(1988) Elektra label. Original inner sleeve with lyrics. Purchased new at Tower Records Westwood.  A new kind of girl power began in 1988 in music.  Tracy Chapman, Shawn Colvin, Indigo Girls, Wilson Phillips.  This mushrooming of awkward girls with beautiful voices and much to say.  Heavy acoustic guitar, good storytelling.  I saw Tracy Chapman in 1988 for the Amnesty International Human Rights Now! concert tour at the LA Colosseum. She played with Sting, Peter Gabriel, Bruce Springsteen.  Great Show.

SIDE ONE

  1. Talkin’ Bout A Revolution  (2:38)
  2. Fast Car  (4:58)
  3. Across The Lines  (3:22)
  4. Behind The Wall  (1:46)
  5. Baby Can I Hold You  (3:16)

SIDE TWO

  1. Mountains O’ Things (4:37)
  2. She’s Got Her Ticket  (3:54)
  3. Why?  (2:01)
  4. For My Lover  (3:15)
  5. If Not Now  (2:55)
  6. For You  (3:09)

Behind The Wall is a chilling song about domestic abuse.  The song talks about hearing the screaming “behind the wall”.  I can relate to it.  In 1986 I moved to Gardena and shared an apartment with a very nice woman named Tori*.  I worked with a friend of hers and he told me she was looking for a roommate. The apartment was very cool: upstairs unit, two bedrooms with a separate entrance for Tori and one for me.  We hardly ever saw each other.  She was busy doing something (I cannot remember) and I was surfing, working, and goofing around. Tori had a boyfriend. I cannot remember his name.  I do remember he towered over her. This big, thick guy with fists the size of hams. The first night I heard the yelling I stayed in my room with the door shut and listened.  When I heard the smack and the crying I was paralyzed with fear. Then I heard her door slam and he was gone. I never got up to check on her.  I didn’t know what to do. So I did nothing. We weren’t friends.  We weren’t close.  We never did anything together– not even shopping or do laundry together or give each other a lift somewhere. Strictly business.  Somehow I felt it wasn’t my business to interfere.

The next time it happened, I did the same– stayed in my room until I heard his departing door slam.  This time she was crying really hard so I got up and knocked on her bedroom door.  She instantly stopped crying.

“Tori, are you ok?”  No answer.

“Tori, are you ok?”  No answer.

So I went back to my room and closed the door.  The next morning I saw her note on the refrigerator door apologizing for waking me up.  No further explanation. That’s how it would be.  I didn’t do anything further like call the police or confront him. When he hit her again (which he did a few more times), she didn’t do anything about it either.  It was pretty awful. I lived there for about 9 months then found another roommate and moved to North Hollywood.

*not her real name

 

Tracy Chapman Tracy Chapman

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