March 6, 2009 Playlist

The Jazz/Rock Special
"Chicago Transit Authority" by Chicago (1969)
Chicago  "The Chicago Transit Authority"  1969 (USA)
I know what you're thinking -- what is that lame soft rock band Chicago doing here?!  Well, the theme for this week's program is "Jazz/Rock" and arguably no popular group defines the genre better than Chicago -- or as they were orignally known, "The Chicago Transit Authority."  The story of the band is actually one of the classic "sell out and fall from grace" stories.  When the band debuted in 1969, they featured a brilliant songwriter and front man in keyboardist Robert Lamm, a tight three-piece horn section led by trombonist James Pankow, and the fiery lead guitar and soulful vocals of Terry Kath.  However, by the end of the 70's Kath was dead, the horn section receded into the background, and Lamm's songwriting talents seem to have abandoned him.  That left crooning pretty boy bass player Peter Cetera and his lame-o ballads to take center stage -- until he went solo in the 1980's, but by then the group had been reduced to the "oldies" circuit.  Still, you might be surprised how much killer material there is on the first two Chicago albums, especially this one (which features ZERO Peter Cetera ballads!!)
For videos this week, here's "I'm A Man", a cover of the Spencer Davis Group hit which is on their debut album and features Kath, Cetera and Lamm all sharing lead vocal duties.  And here's one of the big hits from this album, the wedding standard "Beginnings" (hey, it's a good song!)  Plus here's "Make Me Smile", their first American Top Ten hit which is on their second album, and their most rockin' hit "25 Or 6 To 4", also from the second album (sound quality at the beginning isn't great, but Kath plays a mad guitar solo in the middle).  Finally "Saturday In The Park" is from the Chicago V album of 1972, as far as I'm concerned the last good tune the group ever did.  If you want to puke your guts out, here's Peter Cetera mewling his way through the "Theme from the Karate Kid"!
Artist Song Album Year Country
Miles Davis Right Off (excerpt) A Tribute To Jack Johnson 1971 USA
The Soft Machine Hibou, Anemone And Bear Volume 2 1969 UK
The Chicago Transit Authority Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? The Chicago Transit Authority
1969 USA
The Chicago Transit Authority Listen The Chicago Transit Authority
1969 USA
The Chicago Transit Authority Poem 58 The Chicago Transit Authority
1969 USA
Pacific Gas & Electric Bluesbuster Pacific Gas & Electric 1969 USA
Blood Sweat & Tears Symphony For The Devil / Sympathy For The Devil (Rolling Stones)
  I. Emergence
  II. Devil's Game
  III. Submergence
Blood Sweat & Tears 3 1970 USA
Frank Zappa Transylvania Boogie Chunga's Revenge 1970 USA
John McLaughlin (with Buddy Miles & Larry Young) Marbles Devotion 1970 UK
Elephants Memory Super Heep Songs From Midnight Cowboy rel. 1970 USA
Aura Can You Imagine Aura 1971 USA
The Flock Crabfoot Dinosaur Swamps 1970 USA
Herbie Mann (with Roy Ayers, Larry Coryell & Sonny Sharrock) Memphis Underground Memphis Underground 1969 USA
Herbie Hancock Fat Albert Rotunda Fat Albert Rotunda 1970 USA
Magma Mekanik Kommandoh (original single version) A-side 7" single (Simples CD) 1972 France
Good God A Murder Of Crows Good God 1972 USA
Hatfield & The North Underdub The Rotter's Club 1975 UK
Alice Coltrane & Carlos Santana Angel Of Sunlight Illuminations 1974 USA/Mexico
Joe Henderson (with Patrick Gleeson) Hindsight & Forethought Black Narcissus 1976 USA
John Berberian & The Mideast Rock Ensemble 3/8 + 5/8 = 8/8 Middle Eastern Rock 1969 USA/Armenia
David Liebman (with Badal Roy & John Abercrombie) Sweet Hand Roy Sweet Hands 1975 USA
Spirit It Shall Be The Family That Plays Together 1969 USA
Blodwyn Pig Leave It With Me Ahead Rings Out 1969 UK
Ten Wheel Drive Fourteenth Street (I Can't Get Together) Peculiar Friends 1971 USA
Tar Babies Wisdom Drill No Contest 1988 USA
Traffic Giving To You Mr. Fantasy 1967 UK
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