Wednesday, November 29, 2006

162. Chicago - Chicago Transit Authority (1969)

Track Listing

1. Introduction
2. Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is
3. Beginnings
4. Questions 67 And 68
5. Listen
6. Poem 58
7. Free Form Guitar
8. South California Purples
9. I'm A Man
10. Prologue
11. Someday
12. Liberation


Pretentious wankathon is the first thing that pops to your mind when trying to describe this album, but it is actually more complex than that, and I'll try to do it justice.

I must admit a weakness for Crappy Adult Oriented Rock, and Chicago are one of the pioneering exponents of that great genre... Peter Cetera went on to do the glorious Glory Of Love for the equally glorious Karate Kid II soundtrack, and this is where he is coming from.

Actually some tracks are quite good here, and in fact the album starts quite well, and for the first 3 tracks you are quite surprised and then Questions kicks in as a mix of Peter Cetera and old-fashined quizz show brass strains fill your ears, and you think "That's more like it!".

It's not only at the beggining that Chicago challenge your ideas however, and in Free Form Guitar there's a lovely 7 minutes of distortion which will make you grit your teeth in pain, as there is no particular artfullness to it. All you can think is that this inherently cheesy band is trying to be avantgarde and failing miserably... The album gets better towards the end, and some of the best tracks are the rockier stuff that comes after Free Form... well, it could even be Chris De Burgh, as anything is pleasant after Free Form.

You also have to smirk at the references to I Am The Walrus or Jimi Hendrix in a couple of tracks, seemingly there to remind you of all the stuff you could be listening to that is much better than this.

Buy it at Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

2. Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is
3. Prologue
4. Beginnings

Final Grade



Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is:

Released in April 1969, The Chicago Transit Authority proved to be an immediate hit, reaching #17 in the US and #9 in the UK. While critical reaction was also strong, the album initially failed to produce any hit singles, with the group seen as an album-oriented collective. In 1970 and 1971, "Does Anybody Know What Time It Is?" (#7), "Beginnings" (#7) and "Questions 67 And 68" (#71/#24 re-release) would all prove to be belated hits. Buoyed by the success of their later albums, the album stayed on the charts for a then-record 171 weeks, and was certified gold (and later platinum and double platinum).

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