The Real Deal

For KK’s Flashback Track Friday prompt. This is my “proper” response.

The stakes were high,
We all were primed,
So much to gain or lose.

From long, hot days,
In captive grip,
We heard upon a muse.

She spread from one,
To two, to ten,
Her message loud and strong,

So clear to us,
The hungry youths,
Contained within her songs

I should explain. It is 1989. We are in Cardiff, UK, and I am in my final year of university.

I worked sixteen-hour days, mostly in a windowless library. I lived like a monk, not even seeing my then girlfriend for a month.

Because of this preparation, the exams went better than I expected. I began to socialise among student friends. One record was doing the rounds, the new addition to seemingly everybody’s collections.

An artist we had never before heard of. Her debut album. Every track with a message. We were willing recipients. Many tracks were covered, none came close.

I’m searching for the right words. “Breath of Fresh Air” does not do her justice, though that was precisely what she was. I don’t know whether it is simply because of my age (I was 21), because of my impressionability, or because of the direct link to me final exams, but there was never another album, before or since, which blew me away the same.

This is Tracy Chapman. I shall choose one track, but I recommend the entire album.


  1. Chapman is dear to me also, and your memory poem about passing her song around like a sort of anthem, equally lovely. Thanks so much for, again, elevating my prompt to art. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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