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Thread: FEATURED CD : The Chicago Transit Authority : The Chicago Transit Authority

  1. #1
    Moderator Duncan Glenday's Avatar
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    FEATURED CD : The Chicago Transit Authority : The Chicago Transit Authority

    Credit for this featured CD : SRS

    Based on a CD received from the collection bequeathed to Progressive Ears by the late Chris Buckley (Winkersnuff)

    SRS's comments:


    My selection for Featured Album from the Buckley Collection is Chicago Transit Authority.

    This was not a CD that I had in my collection. Although first being aware of mostly the Cetera 80's MTV ballad era Chicago I later learned of their earlier much more incredible material. Looking at the track listing many of the titles are familiar to me. First thing I do is search PE for any posts Chris / winkersnufs may have made about Chicago. What did he think of them?

    Found two threads he started one about a Chicago band documentary and another praising Chicago II. So nothing specific on this album but it seems like this was certainly a band he dug so this CD probably got quite a few plays in the Buckley house. I pour myself a pint of stout and away we go!

    What a ride - first half loaded with classics "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" "Beginnings" "Questions 67 and 68" "Poem 58" - This is an album that to truly appreciate you have to imagine what it must have been like in 1969 to hear this for the first time. Did they create a genre? This must have been revolutionary hearing this for the first time! And I can only imagine how revelatory their early concerts would have been. (Is Carnegie Hall their definitive live album?) Jazz Brass Prog Rock with an ENERGY that is totally contagious and relentless.

    For a debut album the sound is so complete and so fully formed. Very impressive. Not a perfect album as the experimental "Free Form Guitar" maybe should have ended at about the 3 minute mark but I appreciate the daring it took to even put this on there - a time when chances were allowed to be taken in popular music. The second half dips a little bit, the cover of "I'm A Man" not really necessary, I could see it being great live however. Ending is very strong with "Liberation" . Solid 4 or 4 1/2 stars from me. I should probably pick up their core albums which seem to run through VII is that right - incredible that this is just a 5 year window.

    Thank You Duncan and cheers to Chris, a friend I never met. This CD will get many more plays by me and your gift is truly appreciated.
    Regards,

    Duncan

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Duncan Glenday View Post
    Did they create a genre?
    There were some earlier "horn rock" albums (Electric Flag, Blood Sweat & Tears) but they were the first band with prolific songwriters in this style.

  3. #3
    Member Vic2012's Avatar
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    It's their best album (imo). I even like Free Form Guitar. It's a heavy album.

  4. #4
    Best Chicago album. An innovative release.
    Macht das ohr auf!

    COSMIC EYE RECORDS

  5. #5
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Hasn’t this been the featured CD multiple times?
    Steve F.

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  6. #6
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    There were some earlier "horn rock" albums (Electric Flag, Blood Sweat & Tears) but they were the first band with prolific songwriters in this style.
    ever since the mid-70's in Canada, I've heard the term "brass-rock", but only in the last 10 years have I heard of "horn rock".

    Best Chicago album with VII.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    Hasn’t this been the featured CD multiple times?
    Maybe but I guess we're going through Winkersnuff's collection. From what I read about it earlier, there could be more obscure stuff coming.

  8. #8
    Moderator Duncan Glenday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    Hasnít this been the featured CD multiple times?
    No, never before. There's only been 1 thread on "Chicago Transit Authority" in the past:
    https://www.progressiveears.org/foru...nsit+Authority

    At least - that's what I found on the "Advanced Search".

    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    Maybe but I guess we're going through Winkersnuff's collection. From what I read about it earlier, there could be more obscure stuff coming.
    This ^^^

    There may be some upcoming repeats - i.e. Winkersnuff's CDs that have been featured in the past. But we'll post them anyway.
    Regards,

    Duncan

  9. #9
    Diverse, fabulous, classic.

  10. #10
    Really great debut album. I like Chicago II more but this one comes a close second.

  11. #11
    Subterranean Tapir Hobo Chang Ba's Avatar
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    I could post what I did in the last featured CD thread again, but I won't.
    My favorite fortune cookie read: "The only way to be successful on the internet is the keep the assholes preventing valuable discussion and eliminate the discussion itself."

    Never let good music get in the way of making a profit.

  12. #12
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    In 1969, Chicago had appeared with their double-LP debut album "The Chicago Transit Authority" that certainly contributed to the development of the jazz-rock and fusion genre. But If you take the year of release and put it in the context of the musical awakening at that time, then Chicago rather stand between Blood, Sweat and Tears and the Grateful Dead. On the one hand you can hear beautiful jazz arrangements with a great brass section, on the other hand some inventive improvisations on the guitar.
    Chicago came unmistakably from beat music, but they have also participated in the development, which was pushed by the acts like Pink Floyd or The Jimi Hendrix Experience, into ever heavy and more psychedelic realms. The jazz portion offered here also comes from the mainstream, in view of the brass arrangements on offer, one seems to have enjoyed the big band swing by Duke Ellington & Co., which was still widely popular at the time of this album's creation. Overall, Chicago approaches jazz-rock more from the rock than the jazzy side.

    But that can also lead to interesting results, as the aptly titled "Introduction" opener shows. Here the band combines rocking riffs with rhythmic flexibility, jazzy moods and opulent wind instruments. The sound is completed by a stylish Hammond organ and a prominent bass. In addition, this track develops its very own style, which starts at a brisk pace, then creates rhythmically intricate passages, lapses again and again into sovereign wind solos like in a big band and finally with an absolutely successful, fun final part with crazy duels of wind instruments, guitar and organ ends. In any case, really great class. More tracks of this merit can be found especially in the second half of the album, for example the rather heavy "Poem 58", dominated by guitar and bass. Or "I'm A Man" with its long percussion solo in the middle, which even arouses associations with Ethno / Afro music ŗ la Fela Kuti. And finally, of course, in the extra-long final track "Liberation", which, up to the end, seems to mainly demonstrate how long a guitarist can solo without interruption. Well, you had to be able to endure more experimental stuff like "Free Form Guitar" anyway. "The Chicago Transit Authority" as a whole is not that extreme. Because Chicago always had a "different" and quieter side, which here was influenced by the tracks like "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" with its relaxed to poppy swing sound. That sounds a bit conservative, but in my humble opinion it is introduced quite appropriately by an interesting piano part, and in the vicinity of tracks like the opener it is even a nice change.

    Even "Beginnings" goes in this direction, despite the rather brisk, Latin-like accompaniment and convincing final section, and the beat influence is demonstrated in particular by "Questions 67 And 68", the hardened version of "Penny Lane" or "Hello" with added horns Goodbye "could go through. Speaking of Beatles, "I Am the Walrus" is also quoted directly in the already somewhat heavy "South California Purples" (and at the same time invented the riff for Black Sabbath's "Behind the Wall of Sleep"). And there is also more the 60s rock here, for example Jimi Hendrix ("Foxy Lady") repeatedly sounds through in "Listen", but here also interspersed with interesting dissonant brass.

    So how do you finally judge this album? Let me put it this way: Chicago had created a milestone. In particular, the symbiosis between jazz influences and popular rock succeeds here, which incidentally, even in the most mainstream moments of this record in terms of composition and arrangement, goes far beyond the level of ingenuity customary at the time. However, I have to say that the music sometimes seems a bit puffed up and - in contrast to other early U.S. jazz-rock and fusion acts from 1969, like Larry Coryell, The Tony Williams Lifetime, Miles Davis, or 'Igginbottom from England - Chicago stuff seems a little less aggressive and (or) weird. So the bottom line is the slightly adapted, poppy version of the genre. But, as I said: also a milestone and therefore an important part of the history of rock music in general.

  13. #13
    This is an extraordinary document of a young, hungry band, who already had huge writing and playing skills, and were going to get a whole lot better. The only track on it that I don't like today used to be my favorite: Terry Kath's "Free Form Guitar". While this improvisation displays Kath's mighty chops, it's kind of directionless, unlike the improvised solos he played on some of the composed tracks.

    I was fortunate enough to see Chicago three times: in 1972 at the Allentown Fairgrounds in Pennsylvania; in 1976 at the Cow Palace in Daly City, CA (as an eight-piece with Brazilian percussionist Laudir de Oliveira); and in 1977 at the Oakland/Alameda County Colisseum, also CA. During the last show, one of the band members -- I think it was Lamm, but it may have been Cetera -- said it was the last night of the tour. Not long afterwards came the tragic death of Terry Kath, so (he said rather morbidly) I saw Kath's last performance with Chicago, and didn't actually like it all that much: they were heavily into their transaction to AOR pop music, and that wasn't what I wanted from a Chicago show.

    Anyway, about this album, it has the roots of almost everything Chicago would become as they peaked over the next few albums: brash, loud, incredibly controlled when they wanted to be ("Introduction", "Questions 67 & 68"), explosively anarchic when that fit the song ("South California Purples" and their redefining cover of the Spence Davis Group's "I'm a Man"). There are simple pop songs ("Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?", "Listen"), proggy things with complex structures ("Introduction", "Liberation") and everything in between. Sweet songs ("Listen", "Poem 58") and a hard rocking protest song ("Prologue August 29, 1968"/"Someday (August 29, 1968)" which "celebrated" the riots at the Democratic Party Convention in their home town. (Ewige Blumenkraft!)

    In short, something to please everyone -- even my parents, who were frankly relieved that I had finally found something to listen to beside Jesus Christ Superstar -- no, I lie; that was Carnegie Hall that I got first, but the first three weren't far behind.
    National Flat Earth Society: The only thing we have to fear, is sphere itself.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Monet View Post
    ...[I]n contrast to other early U.S. jazz-rock and fusion acts from 1969, like Larry Coryell, The Tony Williams Lifetime, Miles Davis, or 'Igginbottom from England - Chicago stuff seems a little less aggressive and (or) weird.
    That is true of this album, and to a certain extent the second. But on III, with things like "Mother" and the "Elegy" suite, they showed that they could jam with the best of them.
    National Flat Earth Society: The only thing we have to fear, is sphere itself.

  15. #15
    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    There was a time when I had a few Chicago albums but never this one. I think I need to go back and explore their stuff. At the time, there didn't seem to be enough meat for a guitar-hungry kid but obviously I need to revisit them with a more open mind. I did see them my freshmen year of college '75/'76 and the turn toward pop hits had begun. The only time that Kath really got to let loose was on the encore "25 or 6 to 4" and even then, he was a little lost in the mix.
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

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    Loved it when it came out along with the second one. Then prog took over my life and I forgot about them for decades. My tastes expanded to include more commercial styles at some point, and now I listen to those first two quite often.

  17. #17
    Love every minute of it (okay, I skip Free Form Guitar)... a huge part of my youth as were all the Terry Kath era Chicago albums.
    You say Mega Ultra Deluxe Special Limited Edition Extended Autographed 5-LP, 3-CD, 4-DVD, 2-BlueRay, 4-Cassette, five 8-Track, MP4 Download plus Demos, Outtakes, Booklet, T-Shirt and Guitar Pick Gold-Leafed Box Set Version like it's a bad thing...

  18. #18
    Member SunshipVoyager1976's Avatar
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    Whatever anybody does, do not pick up the latest CD issuance of this great album. The remix is a disaster. They even auto tuned some of the vocals. Really bad.

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    One of the handful groups of my early years. The majority of albums being played by my siblings back then: The Beatles, The Dave Clark Five, Chicago and Elton John. From Chicago, everything thru VII except III got plenty of play. Chicago hit it out of the park with their debut album. An unknown band that opens up with a double album took guts not just by the group but also by the record company. The album did well upon release but when II was released, the singles from CTA also rescaled the charts. Probably the hardest rocking album of their 50+ year career. While getting to the finish line was a bit padded with the 7 minute unaccompanied guitar solo of Free Form Guitar and a longer solo in the album closer Liberation, overall this is an very strong set from a group making their initial release.
    Last edited by Tangram; 3 Weeks Ago at 12:16 AM.

  20. #20
    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunshipVoyager1976 View Post
    Whatever anybody does, do not pick up the latest CD issuance of this great album. The remix is a disaster. They even auto tuned some of the vocals. Really bad.
    Yes. I did some looking around yesterday and many say of the current issues of the album, your best bet is to seek out the Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs version.
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

  21. #21
    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerjo View Post
    Yes. I did some looking around yesterday and many say of the current issues of the album, your best bet is to seek out the Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs version.
    The original vinyl sounds fantastic. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

  22. #22
    Great album, but Side 3 is terrible. A total wash. Side 4 is okay, but of course Sides 1 & 2 are amazing.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by yesstiles View Post
    Great album, but Side 3 is terrible. A total wash.
    ?? Always liked "Purples."

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    ?? Always liked "Purples."
    It's okay, but it's just a blues vamp. Not much of a composition.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by yesstiles View Post
    It's okay, but it's just a blues vamp. Not much of a composition.
    It has some nice twists from the usual 12 bar structure, as well as a great heavy riff. But to each his own. BTW this thread reminds me that I haven't listened to "Free Form Guitar" other than maybe once in the 80's, should try it again sometime.

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