“Baby Can I Hold You” by Tracy Chapman
This was the very first “real” song I learned on the guitar. This song was released in 1988, while I was a junior at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. For my Christmas present that year, my middle brother had traded in an old classical guitar that had sat around our house our entire childhood, for the Yamaha acoustic guitar (and probably lots of extra cash) that I still play. The guitar he bought me is nothing fancy, not a world class instrument by any means, but a piece of wood and metal and strings that I have fallen in love with over the years. I will be indebted to him forever for the foresight in buying me an instrument that although will never be used in a professional environment (thankfully!), really changed my life in an indescribable way.
I remember sitting in my dorm room trying to figure out the chords to this song, at the time barely knowing how to hold the guitar in the correct position and the tips of my uncalloused fingers burning from trying to hold down chords. Of course, 1988 was long before we were able to go onto the internet and search for the chords to a song, which are now readily available. So I listened to the cassette tape (yes, cassette tape, I’m that old!) and picked and strummed and picked and strummed until I figured out what I thought were the correct chords. Honestly I still don’t know if they are the correct chords and I figure at this point, it doesn’t really matter.
Look, I’ll never be a professional musician, I accepted that long ago. But I do believe that learning an instrument and being musically inclined is a “hobby” that is more important and can provide a more profound, lifelong impact than many others, including sports. Both of my kids are currently involved in music programs and I hope they will continue.
So… if you’ve ever considered picking up a guitar, banjo, mandolin, flute, clarinet, saxophone…
Well, what’s stopping you?
So, here’s my version of “Baby Can I Hold You”. Okay, it’s tough to compete with the amazing voice of Tracy Chapman… whatever…