Album #162 – The Chicago Transit Authority

Album #162

I loved this album!!! I remember as a child, the soundtrack to our drives would be Chicago X (Chicago’s Greatest Hits). A couple of the songs on that album are on this album. They are: Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? and Beginnings. There is also a very good cover of The Spencer Davis Group’s song, I’m a Man. Chicago was actually called The Chicago Transit Authority when they started in 1969. This was their self-titled album. When the real CTA threatened to sue them, they quickly changed their name to Chicago. The name has stuck and Chicago has had great success over the years. My favorite line-up of Chicago is the line up featured on this album. You have Peter Cetera on bass and lead vocals, Robert Lamm on organ, piano and lead vocals, the late Terry Kath on guitar and lead vocals along with Danny Seraphine on drums. A three piece horn section is also part of this band. What results is a unique sound. There were other rock bands with horn sections at this time including past album challenge artists Blood, Sweat and Tears. But, Chicago combined funk, jazz, r&b, rock and pop to create their signature sound. Of the original members, Lamm is the only one still touring. Seraphine was fired in the early 90’s, Kath died in 1978 and Peter Cetera left in the mid-1980’s to embark on a solo career. Chicago is very underrated, especially this era of Chicago. Most of the tracks are long jams with amazing horn parts and a phenomenal rhythm section. Terry Kath is phenomenal on guitar. Jimi Hendrix even praised and admired Kath’s guitar playing. On the track Free Form Guitar, Kath plays an amazing guitar solo through an amp with only one take and no effects pedals. This rivals anything Hendrix or Eddie Van Halen have ever done and sounds very similar to what Neil Young and others would do several years later. I am amazed that Chicago was this innovative. If anything, this album has given me more respect for this band. The 70’s incarnation have always been my favourite and this album proves just how tight a band they were and how musical they were. This album was exciting and never boring. Just imagine what they were like live. I recommend this to any classic rock fan because it will definitely open your mind up and leave you in awe. I am so glad this album was on the list. Overall, I give this album 5.5 out of 5.

Next: Unhalfbricking by The Fairport Convention

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