April 24, 2018 Playlist

"Chicago" by Chicago (1970)
Chicago "Chicago"  1970 (USA)
Considering their next 30 or so albums had roman numerals for titles, you might think of this as Chicago II, though it is actually their second attempt at an eponymous album, having previously been forced to change their name from their original (and cooler) handle, The Chicago Transit Authority (because that's already the trademarked name of the train and bus system in Chicago). Although not as progressive and fantastic as their seminal debut album, Chicago is the record that made the band into superstars, producing their first batch of bona fide hit singles in "Make Me Smile", "Color My World" and the monster riff and enigmatic lyrics of "25 or 6 to 4". Twas so successful in fact that singles from the debut returned to the charts and also became hits ("Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is" and "Beginnings" had flopped the first time out). At their best, this was a group with a solid rhythm section and keyboardist, an ultra-badass guitarist (the late great Terry Kath), three strong lead singers who also wrote songs (Robert Lamm's were usually the best ones), and the thing that set them apart: a three-piece horn section who "breathed with one set of lungs" and provided orchestral majesty and funky jazz licks as needed. Plus trombonist and horn arranger Jimmy Pankow wrote a bunch more hits for the group, in fact may have been their greatest hitmaker until Peter Cetera's ballads began to take center stage in the late 1970's. Pankow wrote the 13-minute "Ballet for a Girl in Buckhanon" which is certainly their best known long-form piece, two sections of which became the aforementioned hits "Smile" and "Color". Their catchy tunes and nifty arrangements made them something like the heir to The Beatles (at least in America), as the sixties' favorite group was just breaking up as Chicago was taking off. Having collected up the first 10 or so of their LPs (cheap in any used record store, the trick is keeping all those roman numerals straight!) - I would venture to say that the first three, V and especially the unsung VII are the classics in their canon (IV was a mediocre live album, though the packaging is great, and VI was the first to feature craptastic Cetera ballads, which remained the group's main selling point from VIII until Cetera departed for a solo career in the 1980s).
(N) = New Release
Artist Song Album Year Country
The Jimi Hendrix ExperienceLove Or ConfusionAre You Experienced?1967USA/UK
FunkadelicSuper StupidMaggot Brain1971USA
The Pink FairiesUncle Harry's Last Freak OutNeverNeverLand1971UK
Dr. Octagon Octagon OctagonMoosebumps: An Exploration Into Modern Day Horripilation (N)2018 (Bulk)USA
The Damned Daily LiarEvil Spirits (N)2018 (Spinefarm)UK
KraftwerkNeon LightsThe Man-Machine1978Germany
Ty Segall And, GoodnightFreedom's Goblin (N)2018 (Drag City)USA
ChicagoBallet For A Girl In BuchhanonChicago
Chicago25 Or 6 To 4Chicago
ChicagoListenChicago Transit Authority 1969
Pharoah Sanders (with Sonny Sharrock)Upper Egypt & Lower EgyptTauhid1967USA
Steely DanHome At LastAja1977USA
The MothersBlessed ReliefThe Grand Wazoo1972USA
Bobby ConnThe Sportsman (alternate version from limited edition vinyl)Bobby Conn1997USA
Royal TruxI'm ReadyAccelerator1998USA
Big BlackKeroseneAtomizer1986USA
Parquet CourtsOne Man, No CityHuman Performance2016USA
LighthouseOne Fine MorningOne Fine Morning1971Canada
The Pretty ThingsShe Says Good MorningS.F. Sorrow 1968
Wendy & Bonnie Flower5 O'Clock In The MorningGenesis 1969
Nancy Sinatra & Lee HazelwoodSome Velvet MorningNancy & Lee1967
Daryl Hall & John OatesWhen The Morning ComesAbandoned Luncheonette1973
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