Baby Can I Hold You

“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…


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16 responses to “Baby Can I Hold You

  1. Laura

    Steve, that is absolutely beautiful. 🙂

  2. Gorgeous. Truly. My husband plays guitar, but not enough. Not like when we were young. Meanwhile, my nephews both taught themselves how to play the banjo and the guitar and the bass. When we get together, there is much singing. And goofing. I wanted to get video this year, but they wouldn’t let me. We actually sounded good.

    I’m so glad your girls are still playing. You model what they become. I believe that. I wish my husband played his guitar more so my son would want to play. He played piano for 4 years and then quit. I miss the sound of his fingers on the keys.

    • I empathize with your husband, really! It’s hard to find the time to play with everything us adults have going on. I don’t play nearly as much as I used to either, but I still do use it as a stress reliever, a way to get away from everything, to just sit alone and pick at the guitar. It’s soothing and relaxing to me. I hope your son picks something up, there’s a lifelong benefit! I’d love to know how to play the piano, even a little bit. I bought my wife (and me) an electric piano a few years ago for Christmas… so far it has pretty much sat with out any one banging on its keys.

      You need to hold a “hootenanny!” When I was younger (college age and later), my Mom used to hold a huge party at our house every summer called a hootenanny. All the pseudo-musicians in our family (plus lots of other guests) would bring our instruments and sit around and play whatever… just an excuse to sit around and play and sing! Good times!

  3. A Dog With Fleas

    You did a great job and are very talented!!

  4. Tracy Chapman is one of my all time favorites. (The Promise)
    Your rendition of Baby Can I Hold You is great. Never stop singing, Steve.

  5. Cheryl

    That was wonderful! It’s a shame that schools are cutting music programs out of their curriculums. I learned to play a couple of instruments in school, but I regret never having learned to play the piano. Unfortunately, my children never had an interest in learning an instrument, but my daughter took voice lessons for several years.

  6. Wow, Steve,that was simply beautiful. I have chills.

    You know I play piano and I swear, playing piano has brought me so much happiness and is really a source of therapy for me. It’s so relaxing. I really REALLY need to get back to practicing more regularly again.

    I tried to learn guitar in college (two of my brothers play very well) but it seemed way too hard on my fingers. I do know how to strum basic chords (I can play Smoke on the Water like nobody’s bidnezz…)

  7. I’ll be honest, it still hurts my fingers after awhile, even after all these years. Yes I know you play the piano and I’m sure it is great therapy! You know I’m still waiting for that video of you playing 🙂

  8. How lovely, and, you do a great job. Boy does this song bring back memories. Thank you for sharing.

  9. I love your cover. Love it. In fact, I was trying to listen to it on the runway before heading off to Canada and they made me turn off my phone. I just got back to it. To me there is nothing like the sound of an acoustic guitar and a singer who loves what he is singing. Thanks for sharing, steve!

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