Author Topic: The Chicago Discography  (Read 36970 times)

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Offline sueño

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Re: Chicago (1970)
« Reply #70 on: July 20, 2013, 05:43:15 PM »
I don't have this album (should I?, sueño ponders) but I will continue to say how much I enjoy your write ups.  I really appreciate the time you're taking,  I can tell it's a labor of love.

Too many thanks!   :hefdaddy
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Offline Orbert

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Re: Chicago III (1971)
« Reply #71 on: July 20, 2013, 05:46:57 PM »
If you're into classic prog, I did a whole series of these things last year.  Yes, Genesis, and Emerson Lake & Palmer.

Offline sueño

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Re: Chicago III (1971)
« Reply #72 on: July 20, 2013, 05:51:03 PM »
I can't say I'm "into" any of it...at least in a past tense.  The more I read of this board, tho...I'm getting into music I've never heard before and I am loving it!   ;D

Think I'll check the Genesis.  I heard "Supper's Ready" and flipped!  :tup   Must find more.
"We spend most of our lives convinced we’re the protagonist of the story, but we rarely realize that we’re just supporting characters in everybody else’s story. Nobody thinks about you as much as you do."

Offline Jaq

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Re: Chicago III (1971)
« Reply #73 on: July 21, 2013, 09:44:03 AM »
I agree 100% with the notion that the songs on this album that appeared on the live album worked better there; this album does have a bit of a rushed, sketchy feel compared to the first two Chicago albums, but the live versions of songs from this album absolutely smoke the studio versions. It's still a good album, but yeah, I tend to hit the Carnegie Hall album more than this.
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Offline Big Hath

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Re: Chicago III (1971)
« Reply #74 on: July 21, 2013, 11:02:20 AM »
I've read that the band was pretty scared heading into the studio for this one as they had run out of all their pre-written and extra material in making the first two albums.  So yeah, they were probably under the gun a little bit to write and record to get something out for the label.  But even then, I still love this album.
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Offline Orbert

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Re: Chicago III (1971)
« Reply #75 on: July 21, 2013, 02:59:50 PM »
It's not a horrible album or anything.  "Elegy" always rocks, and "An Hour in the Shower" is lots of fun.  There's a lot of strong material, but also a few that I regularly skip.  And I guess I just prefer the live versions of the stuff which is on the live album.  Of the original albums, this is the one I spin the least.

I've read about how they started with a pile of songs and eventually ran out, but never found out exactly when that supposedly happened.  If I had to guess I would've said sometime after Chicago V.  That album is like the first album in that it's all Lamm except for one or two songs, and Chicago VI is similar.  Chicago VII is when we really started seeing the other writers contributing more.  But Lamm was an insanely prolific writer.  I guess he really did write that much, at least in the early days.

Offline sueño

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Re: Chicago III (1971)
« Reply #76 on: July 21, 2013, 03:00:44 PM »
Maybe I'll just get the Live version referred to here...
"We spend most of our lives convinced we’re the protagonist of the story, but we rarely realize that we’re just supporting characters in everybody else’s story. Nobody thinks about you as much as you do."

Offline jammindude

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Re: Chicago III (1971)
« Reply #77 on: July 21, 2013, 06:16:21 PM »
This was the album that made me discover Chicago.

Over the years, I've collected *A LOT* of vinyl...and maybe some of you guys who are into it know what I'm talking about when I say that you can often go to a thrift store or a garage sale, come home with 20 records that you have every intention of listening to, and then listening to about 5 of them before you bring home the next haul.    As a result, things get lost in the shuffle and you end up with a TON of albums that you want to hear, but have never gotten around to.

In that time, I had slowly accumulated the albums that I mentioned in this thread. (I just double checked...I have 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 10 on vinyl and nothing on CD except for 4 which is in the mail and is due on Tuesday)   And one cold day just this last mid-December, I randomly chose III for no particular reason.    I remember that Sing a Mean Tune Kid really blew my doors off from the moment I dropped the needle in the groove.   I don't remember the rest of the songs by name (the album was going in the background while I was doing something else) but I remember that by the time I got to the end of side 2, I was saying to myself, "DAMN!  This is COOL!!!"

It inspired me to listen to 2 and 5 which I loved as well.   And personal drama (my house is a freakin circus of Osbourne proportions) often keeps me from digging into my music as much as I'd like, so I haven't had a chance to check out the rest, or relisten to any of this...but I think I'll check it out now while my wife is making dinner.   
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Offline sueño

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Re: Chicago III (1971)
« Reply #78 on: July 21, 2013, 09:29:58 PM »
Listening to "Mean Tune" now -- it is SO funkay!!!  :D

I love how lush Chicago is.  There music sounds more like orchestral arrangements than a pop band.  It's like a movie or TV show is coming on... but still so approachable.  It's a pleasure listening to real musicians.

YEAH, YEAH, YEAH!!!!    :metal
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Offline Orbert

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Re: Chicago III (1971)
« Reply #79 on: July 22, 2013, 02:17:36 PM »
The Confusing World of Chicago's Early Singles

I mentioned upthread that The Chicago Transit Authority made it to #17 on the U.S. album chart (#9 in the U.K.) without the benefit of a hit single.  This isn't quite true.  It didn't have a hit single initially, as the single from that album, "Questions 67 and 68", only made it to #71 on the singles chart.  Not bad, but not exactly a hit.  "Questions 67 and 68" later made it to #24, and The Chicago Transit Authority eventually peaked at #17 during its 171 weeks on the charts.  Yeah, math is hard, but that's over three years.  It was still on the charts when Chicago and Chicago III, came out, and they all helped support each other.  That's right; all three Chicago albums were in the charts at the same time.

Here's how it went:

April 28, 1969.  The Chicago Transit Authority is released.

July 1969.  The single was an edited version of "Questions 67 and 68".  The B side was "Listen".  The single made it to #71 on the singles charts.

January 26, 1970.  Chicago is released.

March 1970.  The first single from Chicago was an edited version of "Make Me Smile" -- the version without the horn intro, cutting out the guitar solo and jumping to "Now More Than Ever", then cutting out the horn outro (2:58 total time).  It made it to #9, their first Top Ten single and a hit by anyone's standards.  The B side was "Colour My World", but this was not a "Double A" situation.  "Colour My World" was just the B side of the single.  It didn't become a hit until later.

June 1970.  "25 or 6 to 4" is released and eventually makes it to #4, their biggest hit so far.  Yay!  Terry's guitar solo blew everyone's minds, and the horns were there, taking their breaks and working their way into the collective subconscious.

October 1970.  Manager/producer J.W. Guercio goes back to the first album and releases "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" without the free form piano intro.  Ah, but the horns are blowin' that sound.  It reaches #7.  Another hit.

January 11, 1971.  Chicago III is released.

February 1971.  The first single is "Free".  It makes it to #20.

April 1971.  "Lowdown" is the next single from Chicago III.  It peaks at #35.

June 1971.  JWG goes back to The Chicago Transit Authority again and releases "Beginnings" as a single, severely edited.  Both verses are intact, but everything after that is chopped and arranged into something like a refrain (2:47 total time).  "Colour My World" (from Chicago) is the B side.  This time, "Colour My World" catches on as well, and both songs become hits, each reaching #7 on the singles charts.

September 1971.  "Questions 67 and 68" is re-released and this time makes it to #24.  The B side is "I'm a Man".  It also starts getting some airplay, and also breaks the Top 100, peaking at #49.


As I mentioned upthread, Chicago III for a while outsold each of the first two albums, but my theory is that Chicago hits kept coming on the radio and people naturally assumed that they came from the most recent album, so that's the one they went and bought.

Now, in small print on most singles, it says the name of the album from which the song came:


(no higher resolution available)

People who bought the single had a way of finding out which album it came from.  Of course, Chicago was super hot at the time anyway, and all three albums were on the charts and selling, but it still strikes me as odd that the album with the fewest hits, and whose hits charted most poorly, originally sold the most copies.  And since sales of Chicago III have since been eclipsed by each of the first two albums, that indicates to me that, now that it's easier to tell which songs came from which albums, people are now buying the albums with the songs they recognize.

Again, there's nothing wrong with Chicago III.  I've mentioned that it's my least favorite of the original albums, but that's just because each of the first nine studio albums are so great, one of them has to be last, and when I feel like hearing stuff from this album, I tend to grab the live album instead.  There's no question that Chicago was still prolific and proggy during this time.  It's still a great album.

Offline Unlegit

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Re: Chicago III (1971)
« Reply #80 on: July 22, 2013, 08:40:56 PM »
Interesting. I had assumed that the singles were hits right after the albums were released, but I guess not.

Offline Orbert

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Re: Chicago III (1971)
« Reply #81 on: July 24, 2013, 09:10:27 PM »
Final thoughts on Chicago III:

The "Big C" song on this album is "Free".  It ends on a C, held on the piano as they segue into "Free Country".

For some silly reason, the situation with the title of this album reminds me of the Rambo movies.  The character of Rambo came from a movie called First Blood.  The sequel had the awkward title Rambo: First Blood Part II.  So when they made a third movie, they simplified things and just called it Rambo III.  See, that one actually made sense, as it was the third Rambo movie.  You'd think the fourth one would've been Rambo IV, but no, it was just Rambo.  It was a "self-titled" movie.

Obviously Chicago III makes sense here for the same reason: it's the third album by the band.  But it's only the second by the band after it became Chicago.  That's partly why it kinda bugs me when people refer to the second album as Chicago II.  I know why they do it, but I always prefer to use the original title.  I've even seen the first album listed as The Chicago Transit Authority I in an attempt to include the Roman I but also preserve the original title.  But that's just dumb.  Really.

Anyway, people talk about how Chicago has always used the Roman numerals, but Chicago III is actually the only one of the first four albums to have a Roman numeral.

Offline ZirconBlue

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Re: Chicago III (1971)
« Reply #82 on: July 25, 2013, 08:54:15 AM »
For some silly reason, the situation with the title of this album reminds me of the Rambo movies.  The character of Rambo came from a movie called First Blood.  The sequel had the awkward title Rambo: First Blood Part II.  So when they made a third movie, they simplified things and just called it Rambo III.  See, that one actually made sense, as it was the third Rambo movie.


It should have been Rambo II: First Blood Part III.   ;)


Offline Orbert

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Re: Chicago III (1971)
« Reply #83 on: July 25, 2013, 10:29:26 AM »
Ha ha, that would've been awesome! :lol

Offline Jaq

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Re: Chicago III (1971)
« Reply #84 on: July 25, 2013, 03:30:58 PM »
For some silly reason, the situation with the title of this album reminds me of the Rambo movies.  The character of Rambo came from a movie called First Blood.  The sequel had the awkward title Rambo: First Blood Part II.  So when they made a third movie, they simplified things and just called it Rambo III.  See, that one actually made sense, as it was the third Rambo movie.


It should have been Rambo II: First Blood Part III.   ;)

 :rollin

Ahh, Rambo. Based on a novel where the character of John Rambo dies. Sequel comes out, author of the novel writes the novelization of the movie that has his character survive his on page death, has to write a note explaining Rambo died in the book, which is the point in time where approximately 99% of the people who picked up the novelization said "Wait, Rambo dies in the book?!"

I did more in the 80s than get drunk and have romantic encounters that pair up nicely with songs Kev talks about in his threads!

...back to Chicago.  :lol
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Offline Orbert

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Chicago at Carnegie Hall (1971)
« Reply #85 on: July 25, 2013, 10:16:29 PM »
Chicago at Carnegie Hall (1971)



Peter Cetera - Bass, Vocals
Terry Kath - Guitar, Vocals
Robert Lamm - Keyboards, Vocals
Lee Loughnane - Trumpet, Percussion, Guitar, Background Vocals
James Pankow - Trombone, Percussion
Walt Parazaider - Saxophone, Flute, Percussion, Background Vocals
Danny Seraphine - Drums

----------

ORIGINAL 4-LP and 3-CD TRACK LISTING

In the Country  10:35
Fancy Colours  5:15
Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? (free form intro)  6:20
Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?  3:47
South California Purples  15:34
Questions 67 and 68  5:35
Sing a Mean Tune Kid  12:53
Beginnings  6:27
It Better End Soon  15:55
  1st Movement
  2nd Movement (Flute Solo)
  3nd Movement (Guitar Solo)
  4th Movement (Preach)
  5th Movement
Introduction  7:09
Mother  8:20
Lowdown  3:58
Flight 602  3:31
Motorboat to Mars  3:00
Free  5:15
Where Do We Go From Here  4:08
I Don't Want Your Money  5:23
Happy Cause I'm Going Home 7:56
Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon  15:25
  Make Me Smile
  So Much to Say, So Much to Give
  Anxiety's Moment
  West Virginia Fantasies
  Colour My World
  To Be Free
  Now More Than Ever
A Song for Richard and His Friends  6:58
25 or 6 to 4  6:35
I'm a Man  8:51

REMASTERED VERSION FOURTH DISC

Listen  4:16
Introduction*  6:37
South California Purples*  12:41
Loneliness is Just a Word  2:44
Free Form Intro (Naseltones)*  5:58
Sing a Mean Tune Kid*  10:51
An Hour in the Shower  6:00
  A Hard Risin' Morning Without Breakfast
  Off to Work
  Fallin' Out
  Dreamin' Home
  Morning Blues Again
25 or 6 to 4*  6:21

*Previously unissued alternate versions

----------

With most bands, after three or four albums, you release a live album.  A double album, because live versions often have extended solos and maybe some other things you want to include, and also to more closely represent an entire concert.  But Chicago is not most bands.  Chicago's first three albums were all double LPs, so their live album had to be on the same scale.  It was a four-LP box set, with each record in its own jacket, a book with large, color pictures of each member, two huge posters, and an insert with voting information for all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.  The 1972 election was approaching, after all, and it was time for the people to speak.

Chicago at Carnegie Hall is loved by many, but also derided by some, and often for the same reasons.  It is very long.  It is indulgent; we hear them tuning their instruments between songs, talking quietly to each other, joking around.  The audience is very quiet both during and between songs, not screaming the whole time as at a... well... a "normal" rock concert.  The question isn't whether any of this is good or bad, but whether you like it or not.  There are factors which divide audiences further.  Carnegie Hall was designed for classical music, not amplified music, and this presented challenges in recording.  After the second song, the bass is cut drastically because Peter Cetera's bass amp was overpowering everything else (this has been corrected in the remastered version).  The horns sound thin, "like kazoos" according to James Pankow (this has also been corrected in the remastered version).  Also, some say that the performances are too much like the studio versions, stale and lifeless.  I personally think people who say that are out of their minds.  With seven players and some very complex, tight arrangements, I think it's amazing how much they groove, how much freedom they take with the arrangements, and how much the original arrangements are embellished.

It opens with the ambient sounds of Carnegie Hall and the band coming out to warm up.  We hear the audience react.  There is applause, cheering, and something which sounds like "Hello!" being shouted by someone in the audience, to which the band replies "Hello!" and "Hello there!"  Then there is over three full minutes of warming up and tuning up.  If this were a classical music concert, it would not be unusual in the least.  The orchestra must tune, and they do this after they come out.  That's exactly what happens here, for this is Carnegie Hall, the Mecca of the classical world.  Chicago, however, is a rock band.  But they are not like other rock bands.  They were at the height of their first wave of popularity, and this is an incredible document of that time.  And you are there.

So "In the Country" is listed at 10:35, but that includes the band coming out and tuning up.  All of the track times include everything else that they chose to include.  The song itself isn't much different from the studio version, although the single pickup note by the horns at the very start of the song changes the feel of the intro, and the slightly slower tempo adds some gravitas.  They double the length of the buildup at the end, and one of my favorite additions is some adi-lib piano during the horn break leading up to it.  Overall, it's a heavier, more rocking version, where the studio version was more light and poppy.

Robert Lamm thanks the audience for the reception, explaining what it's like to be at Carnegie Hall and "we can feel you, as well as see you, and it's really great."  He then asks us to imagine a set of wind chimes on each side of our heads, as they start "Fancy Colours".

The one-minute free form intro to "Does Anybody Really Know What It Is?" has evolved into its own track.  It's now six minutes, and drummer Danny Seraphine joins in halfway through when things really get rocking.  Then we hear the familiar fanfare which starts the song, which is pretty straightforward, save for a little embellishment to the trombone cadenza at the end.

Terry Kath's two-bar cadenza at the end of "South California Purples" has somehow grown into a 10-minute solo.  It starts with Terry holding an E as the rest of the band stops, then he's eventually joined by the bass, keys, and drums building into a jam.  The horns come back for the closing chords, ending what is easily one of the highlights of the album.

A rousing version of "Questions 67 and 68" follows.  It's introduced by Terry as "our first boss, hit-bound single that never was a boss, hit-bound single."  It's the same as the studio arrangement, but somehow the horns pack more punch, and Terry is on fire, as always.

"Sing a Mean Tune Kid" is next, and we're treated to another extended guitar solo.  As with the studio version, it starts as a 3/4 variation of the main progression, then slowly mutates into another open jam by the main quartet (the horns take a break).  It's a bit slower than the studio version, adding a bit more funk to what is probably Chicago's funkiest tune.

"Beginnings" follows, and like "Questions 67 and 68" it pretty much follows the original arrangement but still adds more punch, especially during the trumpet and trombones solos and duet.  They don't do the percussion break at the end, but you don't really miss it.

"It Better End Soon" has expanded from four movements to five, with a guitar solo movement added after the flute solo, and both are great.  Interestingly, the "Preach" movement is completely different.  And as with the album Chicago, the only lyrics included in the album are the words to the "Preach".

The third LP of the original box set opened with "Introduction" which welcomes us back after the intermission.  It's stepped up a few beats from the original, and really cooks.  The syncopated horns breaks are stunning, and all the solos are inspired.

"Mother" is next, expanded a little.  The intro takes its time to build more and is probably more effective because of it.  The trombone duet during the 5/8 section is now a trombone solo, then the sax joins, making it a duet, then finally the trumpet, making it a trio.  As on Chicago III, "Lowdown", its thematic twin, follows.

The first three parts of the Travel Suite come next.  "Flight 602" (with Lee Loughnane on second guitar), "Motorboat to Mars", and "Free", which has been expanded to include a saxophone solo and a reprise of the chorus. 

"Where Do We Go From Here" is a touch slower than the original version, and I think it works better.  It's a contemplative song.  Lee Loughnane plays guitar on this one as well.

"I Don't Want Your Money" smokes, with Terry simply torturing his guitar.  James Pankow once said that Terry Kath was the only guy who can play lead guitar, rhythm guitar, and sing, all at the same time.  Here's an example.

"Happy 'Cause I'm Going Home" is somehow more laid back than the original, though it's at the same tempo.  I think the electric guitar rather than the driving 12-string acoustic is the difference.  Walt Parazaider's flute solo is amazing.

They close the concert with the "Ballet for a Girl in Buck-hannon".  All those ad-libbed lines by Terry on the studio version, he does them here as well.  Honestly, I've never been a fan of a lot of "Oh yeah" during songs, either live or studio.  But it's a great, high-energy version of the Ballet.

Side Eight of the original set was the encores, starting with the only track not from a studio album, "A Song for Richard and His Friends".  Don't be fooled by the title and the lovely handwritten script that characterized every Chicago album from Chicago through Chicago IX; this is an angry, bitter song.  It calls for president Richard Nixon to quit, because of how poorly he's been handling the Viet Nam War.  Ironically, the Viet Nam War would end on President Nixon's watch (though much of the credit generally goes to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger for that), and President Nixon eventually did resign, the only U.S. President to do so, but it was in the fallout of the Watergate scandal and cover-up.  It had nothing to do with the war.

Then of course, "25 or 6 to 4" is the real closer.  And as you might expect, Terry's solo is absolutely blistering.  Cetera's vocals sound amazing; exhausted and emotionally drained, adding greatly to the feel of the song.  Coming as it does at the end of the night, their last night of a week at Carnegie Hall, I'm sure he really was exhausted and drained.

The crowd refuses to let them go, and the band, minus the horn section, come back for one more song.  Robert Lamm says "We're going to do something we haven't done for a while" but it's unclear whether he means doing a second encore, or the song itself, "I'm a Man" from the first album.  But it's the last single, the only one they haven't played, and one that they can get away with not having the horn section.

The four LPs were originally issued on a 3-CD set.  The Rhino remaster adds a fourth CD of four songs not included in the original release and four tracks taken from alternate nights.

"Listen" opens the bonus disc, appropriately enough.  This song is fine, and I like the message, but overall I've just never been a big fan of it.  They drop the tempo a hair, giving it more of a driving, heavier feel, but it just isn't that kind of song.  The horns sound great, though.

The alternate version of "Introduction" is great.  The solos are completely different, yet each is just as excellent as on the original live version.

"South California Purples" -- the song part -- isn't much different, although it's interesting how differently it starts.  The real gem here is Terry's solo, another ten-minute jam by him and rest of the quartet, built again from the ground up.

"Loneliness is Just a Word" is a nice addition, though not much different from the studio version.  It's a short song, but one of my favorites from Chicago III.

The oddly named "Free Form Intro (Naseltones)" is an alternate version of the piano solo intro to "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?"  It's similar yet different, in much the same way that Terry's guitar solos are similar to yet different from the versions on the original release.  It fades out when they start up the song, however, which is a strange move, since the song itself isn't very long.  After all, they included the entire tracks for "South California Purples" and "Sing a Mean Tune Kid" when obviously the point of inclusion was the guitar solo.  Why not include "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" when you've included the piano solo?  It's not like the fourth disc is completely full (it's only 55 minutes total time).

The alternate version of "Sing a Mean Tune Kid" is a bit tighter, a bit funkier, and has yet another great extended guitar solo by Terry Kath.

"An Hour in the Shower" is another interesting inclusion.  There's not much room for variation in the arrangement, so Terry has a little fun with the words here and there.  You just have to hear it to understand what I mean.

And again, "25 or 6 to 4" is the closer, and again, it features an absolutely amazing guitar solo.

----------

I was 12 years old.  At that time, my music collection consisted of a K-Tel mix tape and two 45 RPM singles.  My friend Dave asked me if I liked Chicago.  I'd heard of them, knew some of their songs.  Sure, they're pretty cool, I guess.  He said his sister had bought their live album, listened to the first side, and didn't really like it.  She kept the two posters (they were already on her walls), and had thrown away the voting information, but she sold me the rest of the box for five dollars.  So I got the records and the big picture book for five dollars.

Five dollars!  I took it home, put it on, and was in another world.  I had no idea.  I didn't know that you weren't supposed to include three minutes of the band coming out, tuning up, messing around on stage, all before the first song.  I didn't know that the audience isn't supposed to sit quietly and listen to the band tell stories which introduced the next song.  I didn't know that people would complain about the quality of the recording when clearly it was the performances that mattered.  I didn't know how different this live album was from pretty much all others before or since, because I had nothing to compare it to.  I did know that a four-record live album was pretty unusual, though.

To this day, Chicago at Carnegie Hall is one of my favorite albums.  Tomorrow, I'll be driving to Michigan to jam with my buddies from home and, as is tradition, I will listen to this album from start to finish during the trip.  And I'll be 12 years old again, just learning about music, with no idea what is possible, no preconceived notions of what a band "should" be or "should" sound like.

The alternate versions of "Sing a Mean Tune Kid" and "South California Purples" really opened my eyes.  Or ears, or something.  I had a co-worker who was a huge Grateful Dead fan.  Hey, they're cool, and I can appreciate bands that can just cut loose on stage, let the music change and evolve, make every performance a little different, a little special.  But I guess I didn't really understand it.  Hearing Terry's solos from some other night (it doesn't say which for any of them), it just reminds me that they played six nights there and recorded every night.  And I'm sure every solo, every night, was amazing.  I want to hear the other nights!  I want to hear all the solos.  I didn't realize.  I had no idea.

Get this album.  It's a little expensive, yeah, I know.  But it's worth it.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2015, 10:51:03 AM by Orbert »

Offline Big Hath

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Re: Chicago at Carnegie Hall (1971)
« Reply #86 on: July 25, 2013, 10:31:12 PM »
awesome, awesome concert and experience.  Proud to say I have performed on that very same stage, and this recording was in the back of my mind the entire time.
Winger would be better!

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Offline Jaq

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Re: Chicago at Carnegie Hall (1971)
« Reply #87 on: July 26, 2013, 10:27:25 AM »
As I said more than once, Orbert singing this album's praises is how I got into Chicago's early work, and Carnegie Hall has quickly propelled itself into my top five of 70s live albums, the order of which tends to change fairly often, but to give you the comparison, the others are Seconds Out by Genesis, Live And Dangerous by Thin Lizzy, At Fillmore East by the Allman Brothers, and Made In Japan by Deep Purple, and that's some pretty high level competition right there. Orbert praises it far better than me (and says largely the same things I would have about the same songs  :lol) so let me just repeat this one part: get this. It's awe inspiring.
The bones of beasts and the bones of kings become dust in the wake of the hymn.
Mighty kingdoms rise, but they all will fall, no more than a breath on the wind.

Offline sueño

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Re: Chicago at Carnegie Hall (1971)
« Reply #88 on: July 26, 2013, 10:43:16 AM »
...just....wow.....

I am riveted...thanks again for your hard work, Orbert!
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Offline ytserush

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Re: Chicago at Carnegie Hall (1971)
« Reply #89 on: July 29, 2013, 07:34:20 PM »
Blissful.....

Offline Orbert

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Re: Chicago at Carnegie Hall (1971)
« Reply #90 on: July 29, 2013, 09:27:25 PM »
I still remember the issue of Contemporary Keyboard magazine with the Robert Lamm interview.  Actually, I think I still have it somewhere.  One of the questions was whether Chicago had ever recorded a song that he really didn't like.  I hated that question.  If he picks one of his own songs, he's probably safe.  He's just admitting that a song he wrote wasn't really ready or up to standards.  But he answered honestly, and said "Lowdown".  That's why I don't like the question.  Many artists are quite self-deprecating and have no problem thinking of a song they'd written that, upon reflection, they really didn't like.  But there's a chance that he'll name a song by someone else in the band, and that's going to be printed.  Why do that?  Why invite someone to slam one of their bandmates like that?  And let's be honest; Peter Cetera wrote some weak songs, especially in the early days.  I don't hate "Lowdown", but Robert really didn't like the country edge that Peter brought to the band.  But they had a policy that anybody could write songs, and they'd at least try them.  Anyway, Robert did go on to say that the song was much better live.  "Better" presumably meaning that he didn't hate it so much when they played it live.  I always think of that when I hear the live version of "Lowdown".

The notes in the Rhino remaster come right out and say that the bonus tracks were picked because of Terry Kath's work.  There were the four songs which weren't on the original release, so they pretty much had to be included, but the versions of "Sing a Mean Tune Kid", "South California Purples" and "25 or 6 to 4" were worth including just because of the solos.  And almost like throwing a dog a bone (though they don't say so), an alternate version of Robert's piano solo intro to "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" is included, but as I mentioned, they actually cut out the song itself.  That's such a strange move.  There's plenty of room on the disc, and the song isn't that long anyway.

As time went on and my friends and I bought more albums, I think I was already becoming a prog snob.  On the live albums from Led Zeppelin, Rush, KISS, REO Speedwagon, whatever we were listening to back then, the audiences were always screaming.  Screaming between songs, and often during the songs.  I thought that was so stupid.  How can you hear the music if you're screaming like an idiot the whole time?  Sit down and shut the hell up.  Chicago at Carnegie Hall really did spoil me as far as what to expect from a live album.  They don't come out and play hit after hit, though they already had enough hits to where they could have.  They came out and played a damned good concert.  A rock band playing Carnegie Hall was a huge deal, and the audiences I'm sure were actually intimidated.  Some I'm sure had been there before, but for classical or perhaps even opera.  But something about the very building meant that you remained respectfully quiet during the concert.  To this day, it's how I prefer live albums to be, even though almost none are.

Offline jammindude

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Re: Chicago at Carnegie Hall (1971)
« Reply #91 on: July 29, 2013, 09:37:05 PM »
I got my copy in the mail last Tuesday, and I've been listening to it several times.    But it's *SO* much that it's still sinking in.

The performances are amazing, and I love the laid back feel between the songs.   It feels more like a professional concert as opposed to a "rock concert" (as Orbert has alluded).

Please don't stop writing these Orbert.  I'm really enjoying every word, and I'm looking forward to Chicago V.

But please don't be in a *huge* hurry...because I'm still absorbing this live album tastiness.
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Offline Orbert

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Re: Chicago at Carnegie Hall (1971)
« Reply #92 on: July 29, 2013, 11:00:40 PM »
I'm taking off for another long weekend starting Thursday, so I may or may not get the Chicago V writeup done by then.  If not, y'all get a break.

In the meantime, I'm glad you're digging the live album.  Yeah, there's a lot there.

Offline sueño

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Re: Chicago at Carnegie Hall (1971)
« Reply #93 on: July 30, 2013, 04:36:14 PM »
I've got Carnegie Hall in the shopping cart.  $24 -- may have to wait a bit.  But echoing in with, PLEASE keep on with your reviews! 

But enjoy your long weekend!    :hat
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Chicago V (1972)
« Reply #94 on: August 07, 2013, 10:44:38 PM »
Chicago V (1972)



Peter Cetera - Bass, Vocals
Terry Kath - Guitar, Vocals
Robert Lamm - Keyboards, Vocals
Lee Loughnane - Trumpet, Background Vocals, Percussion
James Pankow - Trombone, Percussion
Walt Parazaider - Woodwinds, Percussion
Danny Seraphine - Drums, Percussion

----------

A Hit by Varèse
All Is Well
Now That You've Gone
Dialogue
  Part One
  Part Two
While the City Sleeps
Saturday in the Park
State of the Union
Goodbye
Alma Mater

----------

Every one of the early Chicago albums is incredible in its own way, and Chicago V is no exception.  The first studio album which was not a double LP, it instead provides 45 minutes of concentrated awesomeness.  The multi-part suites are gone; instead we have nine songs (seven by keyboardist and de facto leader Robert Lamm) in the four-to-seven minute range.  The horns are as tight as ever, the jazzy side is allowed to run free on numerous occassions, and there are of course a couple of hit singles.  Chicago V was Chicago's first album to reach #1, going Gold within two weeks of release and eventually going Double Platinum.

The cover continues the mystique of Chicago as a "faceless band".  The famous Chicago logo, designed by Columbia Records Art Director John Berg, is rendered by artist Nick Fasciano this time as a woodcut.  It's been five albums now, and so far no pictures of the band or anyone in the band have graced a cover.  Instead, the idea is that the Chicago logo itself would represent the band.  Even though it was a single LP, the original jacket was a two-pocket gatefold.  One side held the record itself, and the other side held two posters.

"A Hit by Varèse" opens the album.  A fast-paced tune in 3/4, it implores the listener (or some unknown third party) to please play something new and different, to "move me, remove me, and groove me".  The break features jazz solos by all three horn players, eventually combining into a trio which builds to manic proportions before returning for the third verse.  Edgar Varèse is a composer known for his atonal harmonies and unconventional structures, and we do get a taste of them here.  Then it all ends suddenly.

"All Is Well" changes the mood completely.  A mellow piece in D-flat with major ninths, it drifts along in 6/4, assuring us that all is well again.  It switches to 4/4 for the bridge, briefly back to 6/4, then 4/4 for the horn break.  It again goes through a number of shifts before returning to 6/4 for the second (and final) verse.

"Now That You've Gone" is James Pankow's sole contribution this time around, but it's a good one.  Another frantic, uptempo piece in 3/4, it's a bit contradictory, singing happily about the fact that "you've gone away", but that's okay, the horn break (first in 5/4, then 3/4) is what counts here.

"Dialogue (Parts One and Two)" is one of the two hit singles from the album (peaking at #24).  In Part One, Terry Kath sings the part of the questioning, uncertain citizen, not sure of what the future holds, whether the president knows what he's doing, how long the war will drag on.  Peter Cetera sings the part of the carefree college student, unconcerned with the future, confident that the powers that be will do what's best for everyone.  In Part Two, we get another Robert Lamm call to action.  "We can make it happen, we can change the world now, we can save the children, we can make it happen."

Side Two opens with the dark, pessimistic "While the City Sleeps".  The main attraction here is Terry Kath's guitar solo, with the horns playing a supporting figure throughout.

"Saturday in the Park" is of course the other hit, topping out at #3 on the Billboard Singles chart.  Robert Lamm is the sole member of Chicago not born in Chicago; he's actually from New York and the park is New York's famous Central Park, not Chicago's Grant Park as many have assumed over the years, but the message is the same.  Go to the park, enjoy a day off, check out the statues of men on horseback ("slow-motion riders") and other figures ("a bronze man still can tell stories his own way"), have some ice cream, connect with people.  And it ends with a "big C" held out by the piano.

"State of the Union" is yet another Robert Lamm protest song, his last really blatant one.  It points out some of the things wrong with the system today (actually in the 70's, although a surprisingly large number of things haven't really changed) and how we should try to fix them, but through peaceful means.  Ironically, the singer himself calls for peaceful change, but in doing so, calls attention to himself and is arrested.  For the break, we're treated to another Terry Kath guitar solo with the horns backing him up.

"Goodbye" is one of the highlights of the album.  It starts in 3/4, but the verses and trumpet solo are in 7/4, the horn break and bridge are in 4/4, then things change up a few times and end in 3/4.  It's barely over six minutes in length, but somehow feels like an epic because of how it unfolds and all the changes.

"Alma Mater" closes the album.  It's a quiet song by Terry Kath, perhaps meant to summarize what Chicago itself has been through so far.  "Looking back a few short years, when we made our plans and played our cards the way they fell."  It speaks of not being complacent, but setting new goals, as though they knew that changes were in the wind.

----------

Chicago V is my favorite Chicago album.  Sure, the first two are both masterpieces, with the third not far from the mark, but here is where they took the jazzy, semi-proggy rock and distilled it down to songs which still packed a considerable punch, but didn't overwhelm the listener or overstay their welcome.  It reminds me of Kansas' Leftoverture, where they shed the really extended pieces and focused on killer songs with tight arrangements, but still with all the hallmarks of the band's sound.  You have to set aside time to listen to any of the first three, and certainly for the live album, but Chicago V is a regular album that just happens to kick a lot of ass.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2015, 10:52:07 AM by Orbert »

Offline sueño

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Re: Chicago V (1972)
« Reply #95 on: August 07, 2013, 10:56:46 PM »
Beautiful.   And beautifully written.

Thanks for that (another CD in the cart)!   :tup
"We spend most of our lives convinced we’re the protagonist of the story, but we rarely realize that we’re just supporting characters in everybody else’s story. Nobody thinks about you as much as you do."

Offline Laich21DT

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Re: Chicago V (1972)
« Reply #96 on: August 08, 2013, 12:49:11 PM »
Another wonderful write-up.  :tup

I have to admit, I'm only familiar with Dialogue and Saturday in the Park on this one. I've never been to Central Park, or New York for that matter, but if I ever do, I'll be blasting Saturday in the Park. I need to check out the rest of the album sometime soon.

One thing though, I'm pretty sure that in Dialogue, Cetera is the one questioning the President. The line: "Well I hope the President knows what he's into I don't know, ooh I just don't know!", pretty sure that's Peter. Then Terry follows with: "Don't you see starvation, in the city where you live". Also, sounds like I hear Lamm at 1:57 singing, "No the campus here is very, very free".

I was just listening to Dialogue on Spotify to confirm what I wrote above, and I was thinking that Chicago really does a great job gradually bringing the instruments into the song one by one. I'm A Man and Dialogue are the main ones that come to mind. South California Purples (why isn't it called Southern?) and So Much To Give, So Much To Say do this a little bit as well.

I've got a plan, it involves pulling up our bootstraps, oiling up a couple of asses, and doing a little plowing of our own...... not gay sex. -Mac, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Offline Unlegit

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Re: Chicago V (1972)
« Reply #97 on: August 08, 2013, 01:10:01 PM »
Great write up!  :tup

I'm honestly not sure what my favorite album by Chicago is, but this is definitely one of the contenders.

Offline Orbert

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Re: Chicago V (1972)
« Reply #98 on: August 08, 2013, 01:29:21 PM »
Another wonderful write-up.  :tup

Thanks!  And you too, Unlegit!

I'm pretty sure that in Dialogue, Cetera is the one questioning the President. The line: "Well I hope the President knows what he's into I don't know, ooh I just don't know!", pretty sure that's Peter. Then Terry follows with: "Don't you see starvation, in the city where you live".

It's all about the context.  Peter's line is in response to Terry's.

Terry: Don't it make you angry, the way war is dragging on?
Peter: Well, I hope the president knows what he's into; I don't know.

Peter isn't questioning the president.  He has no idea, and just hopes the president knows what he's doing.  Terry wonders why he's not more angry about it.  In 1972 it was Viet Nam.  Today it's the Middle East.

The entire conversation is meant to paint Peter as blissfully ignorant, with Terry asking all the questions.  It's Terry who says "When it's time to function as a feeling human being, will your Bachelor of Arts help you get by?"  That's a much more cynical statement than it appears.  Robert (the writer) is literally wondering what good a B.A. is.  How does that even help you function in the real world?  Meanwhile, Peter sees himself as just a student, still separate from the world, not needing to worry about anything (yet, if ever).


Terry: Are you optimistic 'bout the way that things are going?
Peter: No, I never ever think of it at all.

Terry: Don't you ever worry when you see what's going down?
Peter: Well, I try to mind my business.  That is, no business at all.

Terry: When it's time to function as a feeling human being, will your Bachelor of Arts help you get by?
Peter: I hope to study further, a few more years or so. I also hope to keep a steady high.

Terry: Will you try to change things, use the power that you have; the power of a million new ideas?
Peter: What is this power you speak of and this need for things to change? I always thought that everything was fine.

Terry: Don't you feel repression just closing in around?
Peter: No, the campus here is very, very free.

Terry: Don't it make you angry, the way war is dragging on?
Peter: Well, I hope the President knows what he's into; I don't know.

Terry: Don't you ever see the starvation in the city where you live? All the needless hunger? All the needless pain?
Peter: I haven't been there lately, the country is so fine. My neighbors don't seem hungry 'cause they haven't got the time.

(pause to reflect)

Terry: Thank you for the talk. You know, you really eased my mind. I was troubled by the shapes of things to come.
Peter: Well, if you had my outlook, your feelings would be numb. You'd always think that everything was fine.  Everything is fine.


Terry would like to open Peter's eyes to the harsh realities of the world, that not everything is as rosy as he seems to think, but instead, Peter convinces Terry to just not worry about things.  Just assume that everything is fine.  I see it as a cynical statement overall.  It's just easier to remain ignorant than to ask the hard questions.  Terry is really the voice of Robert, the writer.  He thinks that the powers that be should be accountable, and if they're not doing their jobs, then people have the right to be angry.  There is violence, hunger, and pain everywhere; just look around.  Peter is the common man, the ignorant masses who neither know nor care about what's going on.  If seeing all that stuff in the city bothers you, live in the country.

Also, sounds like I hear Lamm at 1:57 singing, "No the campus here is very, very free".

The line starts a little lower in his register, but it's Peter.  It threw me at first, too, but the timbre is the big giveaway.

I was just listening to Dialogue on Spotify to confirm what I wrote above, and I was thinking that Chicago really does a great job gradually bringing the instruments into the song one by one. I'm A Man and Dialogue are the main ones that come to mind. South California Purples (why isn't it called Southern?) and So Much To Give, So Much To Say do this a little bit as well.

You're right; with so many instruments, it would be easy to make everything a "wall of sound" which of course would be horrible.  Instead, they very carefully, very gradually build things up.  In "Part Two" things could (and, realistically, do) get a bit repetitive, but the horns keep building and doing different things, slowly getting more intense.  Also, the various Latin percussion instruments in "Part One" keep building, a trick they've used since the first album.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2015, 08:48:58 PM by Orbert »

Offline Laich21DT

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Re: Chicago V (1972)
« Reply #99 on: August 08, 2013, 02:03:01 PM »
Ah, ok. I stand corrected. I've always wondered whether the lines "My neighbors don't seem hungry 'cause they haven't got the time" and "I also hope to keep a steady high" are meant to be taken literally.

Part Two of Dialogue contains what is likely my favorite Chicago horn section. It's from 5:33-6:00, just after the guitar solo. The way the horns build tension there is absolutely perfect.

Lets talk about Peter's bass playing for a minute. If I'm hearing things correctly, it sounds like he predominantly plays with a pick. I feel this was a good choice, as his sound really projects and cuts through the mix very well. If I may, I'd like to point out a couple of things he does in Dialogue that I love.

2:40-2:53 Is a quick little bass solo, which I've always appreciated, but never really followed it all the way to the end. The last two or three seconds of that bass solo are so moving, it nearly brings a tear to my eye. I could listen to that part over and over again.

5:12-6:00 Do I need to explain? My oh my.

7:00-7:10 Nice walking bass line (I think) under the more staggered "We can make it happen". Possibly they began singing it in a more staggered manner to represent uncertainty? Certainly the ending, "we can make it hap-" represents this.

Also, random question. I know we are done talking about Chicago (II), but I never saw an answer to this. Any idea why they used the British spelling of "colour" in two song titles? I've always thought that was kind of odd.
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Offline Orbert

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Re: Chicago V (1972)
« Reply #100 on: August 08, 2013, 03:03:39 PM »
"My neighbors don't seem hungry 'cause they haven't got the time" is pretty scary, and I think maybe we are supposed to think about it on more than one level.  But to me, it seems that again the idea is that Peter's character is ignorant.  "Oh, people are hungry?  I've never noticed."  And keeping a steady high isn't as common a statement today as it once was, but in the early 70's, basically you went to college to learn, but it was practically a given that you'd be high on something most of the time.  A natural high was not unheard-of, but again, in context, I don't think that's what Lamm was going for with that lyric.  Terry's character makes a reference to getting a B.A. and wonders how that will even help him function in the world, and Peter's character completely misses the point, merely saying that he plans to keep taking classes and stay high all the time.

I think Peter does some of his best bass playing on this album.  He's awesome on the free-form stuff on the live album, but manages to take it into the studio here.  He really shines during the jazzier stuff, like "Goodbye" and "Now That You've Gone".

Nope, I've never found an explanation for "colour".  Also, "Fancy Colours" was written by Lamm, and "Colour My World" by Pankow, so two different writers but both using the British spelling.  Honestly, I suspect that it was just to be different, to be "fancy".  :P

Offline masterthes

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Re: Chicago V (1972)
« Reply #101 on: August 08, 2013, 08:20:24 PM »
Saturday In The Park =  :metal

Offline Orbert

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Re: Chicago V (1972)
« Reply #102 on: August 08, 2013, 09:37:21 PM »
"Saturday in the Park" was one of the first songs I learned on the piano.  I love those opening chords.

Offline Big Hath

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Re: Chicago V (1972)
« Reply #103 on: August 08, 2013, 11:10:53 PM »
the band has said there were two reasons for the single LP this time around, both somewhat business related.  First, FM radio was becoming more commercial around this time and stations were starting to "format" - becoming more restrictive on what they would play.  Second, the way copyrights were handled for bands limited how many they could have per album.  Both of those led to shorter, more concise songs, and fewer per album.  I also suspect that creatively they needed to rebound a bit after releasing all those double albums.


This is another fabulous album.  Saturday and Dialogue are the obvious standouts, but there are several other gems.  Now That You've Gone is an awesome song.
Winger would be better!

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Offline Orbert

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Re: Chicago V (1972)
« Reply #104 on: August 09, 2013, 08:08:47 AM »
I remember reading the reasons for them finally going to single LPs, but couldn't remember them.  Thanks for providing that; it fits well with what I remember now.  They were going to have to release a single LP sooner or later -- there's no way they could've kept releasing doubles indefinitely -- so if it was gonna happen, I'm sure they wanted to make sure it was a good one.  But then, I think they're all great.

My second-ever album.  I started with Chicago at Carnegie Hall, and when it was time to continue my musical journey, this one seemed the next logical step.  What did they do next?  And of course, my mind was blown open a little wider.