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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Chicago Transit Authority

Chicago

1969

Wikipedia

Chicago Transit Authority

Rating

3.19

Votes

3618

Reviews

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3

I guess when this band got together, they were feeling a little... horny ;)

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5

“Chicago Transit Authority” by Chicago (1969) (Alert: What follows is not a critical review. It’s more of a prose ode. Sorry, but I get carried away talking about how much I love my baby, oo-wah, oo-wah.) This debut double album starts off (the aptly titled “Introduction”) as enticing jazz, with a (smallish) big band flavor, teasing the ears with unconventional chords, rhythms, tempo shifts, and meter, heavy with improvisational bass and wildly expressive percussion. But the horns are both deft and and powerful—wonderfully synchronized, from the initial ensemble groove to the soulful jazz trombone, trumpet, and electric guitar solos. And it only gets better from there. One can imagine first time listeners taking a deep breath and softly exclaiming, “Whoa!” The confidently discordant piano solo intro to the next song (the hit single “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?”) has been sadly removed from airplay versions the song. The ‘hit’ version intro is actually a transition. This album is much better than the singles. Nevertheless, the hit version cut still stands as a brilliant example of pop/rock jazz fusion, despite its inane lyrics. By the prophetic third track (“Only the Beginning”), the listener is comfortable, pleading to be taken where Chicago is going, and it’s only the beginning of the journey in more ways than one. One can’t help but embrace the classic extended outro. Turn it up, then turn it up again, then turn it up one more time. Cowbell, claves, and wood block never sounded so welcoming. And then it’s time to turn the record over. And cook. (Listeners who ‘stacked’ the LPs, listening to sides one and three before flipping both discs to hear sides two and four were missing the perfectly arranged flow.) The natural fade on the last note of “Questions 67 and 68” is captivating. And Terry Kath’s guitar playing on “Listen”, “Poem”, and “Free Form Guitar” (with no pedals!) prompted Jimi Hendrix to say “He’s better than me.” That’s not an urban legend. “Poem 58” inspired generations of university lab bands for its innovation and virtuosity. And while most people can do without “Free Form Guitar”, that would be a mistake. It’s a masterful demonstration of the studio interplay between electric guitar and amplifier that would influence rock and roll forever. No wonder Hendrix was impressed. Terry (“the gun actually was loaded”) Kath and Jimi (“should I try to do some more?”) Hendrix both left us too soon. Damn. The blues band styled “South California Purples” is well executed, with excellent lead vocal by keyboardist Robert Lamm. But on “I’m a Man”, the pot nearly boils over. The first 1:19 always gives me goose bumps. What. A. Groove. And the percussion interlude from 3:08-5:28 outclasses Iron Butterfly’s Ron Bushy (“In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” [1968]) in so many ways. I dare you to air drum it. Side four is an improvisational delight, perfectly punctuated by the (uncredited) belch at 0:19 on the fourteen-minute closing track, “Liberation”. Chicago then proceeds to blaze away into the sunset. If you can’t fall in love with this album, there’s something wrong with you. 5/5

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5

Really great album. Great straight up rock songs, but the addition of a powerful brass section adds a cool flair to many of them. Then there’s those free form jams that are interesting. Really great stuff. Favorite Track(s): “Introduction,” “Listen,” “Poem 58,” and “I’m A Man”

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5

Extraordinary album. Can't believe I've never heard this before now. I thought Chicago were a soft rock group. Not on this evidence, a very different well crafted album.

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5

They had me at Chicago! This album is an introduction to to amazing talent of a band homegrown in the USA! Transit AC shows how truly talented the artists were before their explosion into stardom. The instruments played cover a wide spectrum of cow bell to trombone. I can honestly say they grew leaps and bounds after this album...25 or 6 to 4..... Name a band today that has vocal, drummer, trumpet keyboard, brass, guitar and cowbell to boot! Loved Beginning, Q’s 67 & 68, I’m a Man& Introduction. Jim, I never knew you were the original “More Cowbell” guy?! Chicago goes on to become a legend in their own time. “Does anyone Really Know What time it is”.

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4

What a way to end a really good week of music! We grew up with a lot of the Chicago hits, including "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is," but I've never listened to an album from them before. This is not what I expected but really impressive! Virtuosic, exploratory instrumental work all around, a lot less traditional song structure than I anticipated. Dare I say experimental? "Free Form Guitar" is absolutely melting my brain. And the sample of the chanting at the 1968 DNC, there's just so much going on here. If you heard this for the first time in '69, what kind of band or music would you even think this is? Learning the lore too, that this was the original band name until they received a cease and desist from the actual CTA. The Grammys giving them best new artist was probably one of the few times they got an award right. And of course, I have to mention Uncle Jim on the trombone. I think it's really cool that he actually wrote the last two songs on this album. This is really great. Favorite tracks: Free Form Guitar, Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is, Listen, Liberation, Someday. Album art: Love this. I've always admired that Chicago was consistent with their font/lettering on all their album covers. This one has the added charm of appearing painted on wood. The colors really pop, the framing is excellent. Proud of you guys. 4.5/5

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4

Great stuff! Really experimental guitar, great vocals. Didn’t quite key into any sort of story, but fantastic overall.

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3

Pretty out there, like a mad jazz funk soul fusion, but with other styles too, rock influence in parts. Weirdly enjoyable though, clearly really talented musicians, a whole range of genres of tracks and they bossed them all. Gotta be worth a 3/5, not quite a 4,some tracks were just covers.

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3

More rock than I had expected with my little knowledge of their later soft pop career.

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1

Is this the whitest album ever made? ALL SIGNS POINT TO YES.

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5

Fuck yeah, Chicago

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5

Fantastic album great use of blues, horns, lots of a cool sounds . I'm a guitarist but free form seemed a little bit wanky. Weakest track but still killer.

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5

peak Chicago?

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5

Jazz-rock sesentero.

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5

Whoa. Unlike many of their albums, this one isn't hit or miss. Just great.

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5

Pretty sure I'm going to like this more than I used to like Chicago. Really cool. Some of it got a little jam bandy, but really liked the horns in the band and it being lest soft rock than the later Chicago.

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5

Loving the remastered songs!

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5

Incredible album front to back.

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5

-Great jazz rock, the bass and drums are jamming quite frequently -I always like adding orchestra elements to rock, and this has lots of horns and stuff added in -I like bassline on "Listen." Probably other too, but I happened to notice "Listen."

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5

Loved this. Great groove. Favourite track was Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

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5

It's a catchy album and it starts off that way from the beginning of the first song and continues with hits like "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is," and "I'm a Man." A wonderful mixture of rock and jazz with the instrumentals, and the variety of vocals, gives the album a lot of range.

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5

- Strong vocals and love the musical style - Great range and quality. - 'Does anybody really know what time it is", "Questions 67 and 68" and "Prologue" all got likes.

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5

Crazy stuff on this album, especially impressive that the horns sound almost too good to be real. Also wasn’t expecting that guitar track. 9

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5

Really love most of the songs! Will be listening to from now on.

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5

Wow. Really noodly, horns. I love it.

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5

5/5 - Fun, pre-fall album

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5

very good

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5

A really impressive album equal parts big band jazz, hard rock, including some screaming guitars, some gorgeous melodies and an impressive collection of songs that show this band began as a fully formed band. And it ROCKS HARD! Case in point the impressive cover of Spencer Davis Group's I'm a Man. A very impressive debut that shocked me how good it is. Despite some moments of self indulgence like the album closer "Liberation", I'm giving it 5 🌟

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5

Outstanding first album. When Chicago was Chicago!

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5

Ok this rips

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5

Fedt album! Desværre ødelægger Free guitar form albummets flow. Tæt på perfekt og fede soloer og lækker jazz rock

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5

1969 Grammy Awards, Best New Artist nominees included CSN, Chicago, Zeppelin.

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5

Whooo that album kicks off with a bang and just doesn’t stop. What a great and unique sound. Killer!

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5

Brilliant debut album! One of my favorites from an innovative group of musicians.

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5

¡Qué discazo! Y lo mejor es que no trae ninguna de esas que se quemaron en la radio, sino (para mí) pura rareza que demuestra que tienen de todo (voces, metales, guitarras, bajos y percusiones) para sonar como lo mejor de su época. Cierto, hay un momento en "Free Form Guitar" en el que se pasan un poco (nada que no se escuche en un en vivo de Metallica) pero eso no desmerece el resto del disco que en verdad podría (y eso hice hoy) tener todo el día en loop.

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5

Me siento como lo que pasó con Boston pero potenciado. Yo siempre tuve a Chicago en un rubro de "soft rock" que estaba entre decente y somnifero para mis gustos. Supongo que nunca escuche sus primeros discos (o al menos este primero), pero no se como nadie me había recomendado este disco antes. Jazz progresivo de la cosa más interesante, rock sesentero experimental, un poema, siete minutos de golpear las cuerdas y jugar con un amplificador. Es un disco variadísimo, sin ninguna canción floja a pesar de la enorme variedad que ofrece. Siento que quiero escuchar bastante más Chicago, probalmente caiga en un año en el que me empiezan a dejar de llamar la atención y sus discos se convierten más en ese soft rock en el que los tenía, pero esto vale y revale la pena.

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5

great

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5

This was a revelation, awesome guitar playing paired with some brass/orchestral sounds paired with some prog experiments produce a album that is long but doesn't fail to amaze. Enjoyable and catchy songs that finish with a 14 minute epic, what's not to love?

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5

I'd heard a bunch of these singles before, turns out they're all like five minutes longer than I was used to hearing. The back half of this album is absolutely insane. What a gem!

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5

02/14/2022

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5

5.5…remember when t came out, rather unique at the time…I’m a huge brass fan so this album was special ..have been a Chicago fan ever since….excellent

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5

Me senti andando nas ruas de Nova York (apesar da banda se chamar "Chicago"), fazendo dança sincronizada com as pessoas à minha volta. Ou seja, fantástico.

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5

Really like this album. Quite free form Jazz/Rock stuff with great brass and drums. Didn’t like the track “Freeform Guitar” much, too experimental jazz style but others all very good, listened to it twice. Maëla also like it:)

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5

CLASSIC CLASSIC CLASSIC album. By and large, really great stuff. Could have done without "Free Form Guitar". A1

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5

Loved it, some classics

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5

10/10

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5

i liked how this was released in 1969, arguably the funniest year of the 20th century

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4

a true classic

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4

I love Chicago when they're at their best. They're not always at their best here, but the foundation is there. I wish somebody would have been around to tell them to cut the bullshit (looking at you, Free Form Guitar). Best track: Listen

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4

Wow, this was crazy, I thought I knew Chicago. This was almost Hendrix like in places. Really interesting album.

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4

decent chill vibes. would listen again . intentionally. reason for 4 is last few songs were heavy guitar work . not my vibe. only the fast jazzy kind thing i like

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4

Dat saxophone tho

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4

I had assumptions about this band, and I was wrong. This album slaps for a horn-driven album. Free Form Guitar was a bit much, but I get it.

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4

Awesome jazz/rock big band.

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4

Incredible musicianship, but also pretty fun. They seem to be really luxuriating in playing together. Makes me miss playing music in a band with other people. Nice brass. Free Form Guitar is badass.

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4

Such great singers and guitar players. Absolute classic. Some of the guitar solos went on for a little too long IMHO, like the last song is 14 min long, that’s a bit.

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4

Excellent rock. Meh jazz. Superior songwriting.

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4

Don't know why I slept on this one. So good!

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4

Lovely. I'll have to pull this out again

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4

Quite Chicago-y.

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4

Long songs toward the end, but I like Chicago. Also sick guitar tones for solos.

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4

This is nice. Sounds like 60s cool city big band music. Nostalgic, like this is what they are listening to on Sesame Street.

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4

Excellent blend of jazz and rock. Overall very solid album even if it was a bit long and had a couple weaker tracks.

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4

Amazing drums and horns. Not thrilled with the vocals. Will listen again.

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4

Música de qualidade, exceto Free Form Guitar que é um pouco exagerada

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4

Well well well. If it isn’t our family’s band. I don’t need to go into that history as I’m sure many of us are aware, but this album was fantastic. Does anybody really know what time it is is one of my favorite Chicago songs and the rest of this album was just great. I loved the intro song and one towards the end even had the soundbites from the protests that were shown in Trial of the Chicago 7. There is a magic to this band, with the trumpets and guitars and singing. Perfect for the late 60’s but also incredibly timeless. This album cover is basic but also classic as well. I never had heard this one before, I usually listened to the hits but I’m glad to see that even their lesser known songs are great.

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4

This was ace. Similar to maggot brain

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4

Surprisingly excellent

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4

.

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4

A heady cocktail of fuzzy overdrive rock and roll mixed with jazz style arrangements. The album takes a little time to catch fire but when it does it goes off like an explosion. Screeching guitars, brass and woodwind set against brilliant drums is a memorable experience and one that passes remarkably quickly for a double album. Will definitely revisit.

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4

Not what I expected from Chicago. I am more accustomed to their power ballady rock but this was much more interesting and introspective. Best track: "Beginnings"

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4

Gefällt mir, viel Energie, Rock, Blues - ggf. sogar jazzig. Wunderbar abwechslungsreich, wandert auf meine Playliste.

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4

Very good except the gitaren zonder snaren

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4

Nice mix of instrumental jazz tracks and pop songs. Not a big fan of brass in general, but good stuff.

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4

GOOD ONE

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4

Very jazzy and great listen

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4

I know this album well. I listen to it often. Can't go wrong with Chicago.

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4

Front half is loaded with the classics, back half is a bunch of guitar driven groovy jams

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4

Very good to great. Some vocals/lyrics don't really do it for me but musically outstanding. Great percussion/brass/and lots of guitar

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4

Surprised! Nor bad.

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4

What a great sound. Love this album.

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4

Discazo todo pero además Poem 58 muy por encima de todo

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4

8/10. This is definitely on the jazzy side of jazz-rock, in that it really just felt like jazz with some guitars thrown in. The singing was probably the biggest thing holding it back for me, as the lyrics and delivery just felt emotionless when they were present. But, I was also listening to this at work and didn't get the opportunity for a super close listen.

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4

Quite good, bit too much of the funky dissonant guitar for my tastes. The vocals and most of the instrumentals were excellent though, a solid 8

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4

pretty awesome album, the horn section is just crazy. i think it strayed into self-indulgence territory at parts but overall it was good 8/10

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4

I was surprised that this was their first album. Everything that seems to have come out in '69 was a total banger. Flailing Guitar, good flow, enjoyed it!

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4

2nd time around for me. 4/5. Great sound. Classic.

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4

Ballsy and bluesey

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4

Great instrumentals, vocals. White guys!?

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4

How is this not considered prog? Is it the lack of lyrics about wizards? Seems pretty darned proggy to me! (Which is not a dis) I mean, c'mon, "Free Form Guitar"! Anyway, yeah, this was a good listen - I don't think I've heard any of this before, with the possible exception of "I'm a Man", but it might have been the original I've heard. Fave track - "Someday (August 29, 1968)". Sad to think that basically nothing has changed...

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4

Had no idea Chicago was into experimentation in guitar work… the more you know!

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4

Blues rock. Un poco psicodélico.

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4

Far better than I imagined. Always thought it would be soft-rock nonsense but it's a fine listen.

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4

A big, brassy bruiser of an album. Sometimes political, sometimes spiritual, always up for the wiggy freakouts. This is not the MOR Chicago I remember. A much wilder prospect.

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4

Chicago - одна из первых рок-групп, широко использовавших духовые инструменты. Это их дебютный альбом. Понравились джемы: Free Form Guitar, Poem 58 и пр.

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4

Admittedly I put off listening to the record when it came up on my list. There is a nauseating sensation of 70s-80s soft rock that wells up in my esophagus based on my memories. It turns out this (era of the) band, with its bombastic brass section, rocks kinda hard, more inclined to Jimi Hendrix than I could have imagined. The "Free Form Guitar" acid jam helped reverse my whole perception of them. I can just see them trashing then instruments and setting the stage on fire, figuratively.

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4

Never heard of these before. Really like the jazz, rock and blues vibe mix throughout the album. Which flows very well. Very fun listen and easy to bop along to. Like: Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" And "Point 58" Dislike: Free form Guitar

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4

Jazzy

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4

Some badass solos and bass work. Enjoyable album

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4

Surprisingly my first Chicago album and it slapped. Great stuff and fun playing

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4

nice mix of jazz and rock

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4

Super underrated, very solid

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4

nice jazzrock album that starts at jazz and ends on a seemingly improv rock instrumental.

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4

Amazing album. Didn't know they had an album as early as 1969.

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4

really nice, perfect background music

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4

Super surprising

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4

Psychedelic jazz? Not the Chicago that I was expecting.

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4

I could leave "person with guitar falls down stairs" but the rest of the album is great

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4

The definition "a rock band with horns" is only partially adequate, because the sonority of Chicago goes way beyond what you would expect from a rock and roll band, even in the late 60s. That said, all those horns can be a little too overwhelming.

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4

I actually recognized several of these songs from the radio. It's pretty good stuff, can't really complain. I loved that intro track, too!

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4

gostei da banda de rock and roll com chifres

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4

Otroligt bra???

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4

Genre: Jazz-Rock 4/5 Chicago's debut album, the then self-titled debut Chicago Transit Authority, is a really tremendous rock album. The heavy jazz influences, the soaring horns, the tremendous guitar playing, the soulful vocals, and some real expert drumming all combine to make one heck of an ensemble sound. This is a perfect blend of everything that made rock music cool in the 60s, and also serves as a tremendous starting point for the progression of symphonic rock. Songs like the Introduction, Beginnings, and the forever jam I'm a Man, are all prime examples of what I think are some of the best pop rock continuations of the late 60s, with Chicago's own unique jazzy spin. Then songs crop up like Free Form Guitar, takes on avant-garde rock and jazz, showcasing some true sonic variety. This album is a real triumph, and I think is something that can both be an accessible, enjoyable party listen, as well as a sit-down and make-you-think project. Damn good job from these guys on this one.

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4

A solidly great album. Solos were a little too long at points, and a few tracks lost me, but in general this was very enjoyable.

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4

Sometimes the feeling of appreciation reigned over the feeling of enjoyment. Overall, I liked the jazz/rock fusion that they had going on. I still am not into horns. Highlights: Beginnings, Questions 67 and 68, Someday.

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4

Première constatation, ça s'écoute mal en auto. Après une 2e écoute plus attentive, j'ai vraiment plus embarqué dans l'album. Ce n'est pas un superbe enregistrement, mais le remaster de 2002 et le remix de 2019 corrige un peu le tout, mais on ne peut pas corriger une mauvaise prise de son. Pour ce qui est des pièces, ça peut venir long par moment, mais j'ai entendu pire. Il y a tout de même plusieurs bonnes pièces accrocheuses. Je vais définitivement revenir à cet album et sûrement me le procurer. Pièces préférées: I'm A Man, Listen, Poem 58, Someday

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4

Cet album est excellent. Le groove est bon, les arrangement de brass sont efficaces et sophistiqués. Ça met la table pour Doobie Brothers et Blood Sweet & Tears. « Freeform guitar » c’est 5 minutes trop long, mais j’imagine qu’en 69, ça pouvait encore passer comme nouveau, même si Jimmy avait déjà joué dans ce film là.

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4

Groovy fun

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4

LP (l’avait avant)

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4

I wish more people (or at least younger people) knew how dope Terry Kath was.

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4

Chicago is a band I always associate with hits. I love over a dozen songs by them, but at most one from each album. But that can't be said about Chicago's first two albums. I failed to see why jazz rock never really took off. Between Chicago and Blood Sweat & Tears, there was potential for some great hits, and it was commercially very successful, although it was utilized better in later forms of rock in the 70s. This album is really impressive from all throughout, and this is coming from someone worried about that double-album length. "Introductions" is a bombastic display to entice you into the concept of the album, showing you the fun, groovy capabilities this album could have on pop audiences. This is followed up by two hits. The first is one of my favorite Chicago songs, "Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is?" A beautiful pop masterpiece with carefree happy lyrics that reflect the "Saturday stroll in the park" style that they align themselves with. Next up is "Beginnings," I really like how confident the horns are here, and the bright singing. An extended outro reminds me we're only at the start of the album, and there's still an hour of wildness to go. What follows is a series of a diverse tracks that never tire you despite their lengths. First is a milder pop piece, a little catchy and still very upbeat, smoothing the audience. "Listen" reminds us and this is a rock album and whips out the guitar. Is it just me or did the guitar sound hidden before this? Either way it kicks off "Poem 58," a cool groovy piece. Love the bridge in the middle when the vocals kick in. It's rampant, badass, and exciting. One thing I notice is how the back vocals behave almost like horns with more maneuverability. The second half kicks off with some amplifier distortion, an outlier for us all. I was lying in bed sick and was wondering when this will end, but honestly I thought it was really impressive. Thank god I didn't listen to while high. I would have either freaked out or imagined race cars. "South California Purples" continues the cool grooviness, and I like the surprise "I am the Walrus" excerpt. Otherwise probably the most forgettable track. We reach another pop highlight with "I'm a Man," this time really funky and the most wild to dance to. Amazing instrumental carried by the percussions. "Someday" is a political song about when the CTA dragged a Vietnamese protester. I like the ominous bridge but otherwise it's pretty weak. The 15 minute finale was also written by the trombonist, maybe also political with the "Liberation" title but it's a cool jazz fusion guitar show. Doesn't feel drawn out.

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4

Hey there everybody! I liked this more than I was expecting to, and I don't hate later Chicago quite as much as it seems everyone else does. The songs that moved along brisky with some structure, like Introduction, South California Purples, I'm a Man, were fantastic. About half an hour less of this album, maybe minus Liberation and a minute chopped off every other song, and you'd have a tight five start masterpiece. I'm of two minds about Free Form Guitar. Seems more suited to Sound Cloud than on a real physical album.

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4

Really good stuff. Some of it is annoying but most of it is really badass.

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4

big and brassy. 3 maybe? Bump to 4 for some good songs and chicago branding ofc.

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4

Well created album with some great brass sections 👍

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4

Chicago really jumped the shark at around Chicago X , but before that they really kicked ass. The singles from this album are great: Does anybody really know what time it is, Beginnings and I'm a man. But I've never sat down to listen to this entire album so I was pleasantly surprised to see that it's more experimental than their later sacchariney-sweet offerings. Introduction has a really nice segue into nice horn and guitar solos. Questions 67 and 68, Listen are very good and Poem 58, Free form guitar and Liberation rock out in psychedelic bliss reminiscent of some of the old Zappa guitar solos. But I think you have to be of a "certain age" to enjoy them.

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4

I didn’t think I knew Chicago but I know some of the tunes from this one. Does Anybody Know . .  .  is an excellent song and shows how to do a hippy song properly. The vocals on this LP  really stand out. Questions 67 and 68 is an excellent example.   The barrage of horns in the first few songs starts getting to me a little so when the relief comes it’s not too late. I like how they bring in the other instruments such as the isolated percussion at the end of Beginnings and the guitar solo in Questions but that solo is too short (and the Solo that takes up the first half of Poem 58 is too long - there’s just no pleasing some people lol.) The Jimi style guitar work on the second half of Poem 58 is great but  the Jimi style distortion fest on Free Form Guitar is tough to listen to. Similarly, the songs that have 5+ minute guitar solos (eg Liberation) don't work. Kath is a good guitar player but, unless you're Hendrix, a 10 minute guitar solo is pompous.  The positives about this album are very positive but the painfully long  guitar solos drag it down. The last 2 minutes of Liberation bring back the horns and vocals and  convince me to round up to 4. 

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3

Tiring. 5.5/10 FT: Questions 67 and 68

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3

Love the innovation here even it gets weird at times

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3

not bad

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3

A couple of my favorite Chicago songs on here, and a surprising amount of heavy guitar wanking.

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3

Not Chicago’s best but an interesting no vocal sound

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3

I've always liked Chicago, but I'd never heard their first album. It was a really interesting blend of everything that I've known of them, plus some throwbacks to the era which initially produced them. It wasn't a top tier album for me personally, but merited 3 stars.

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3

Kinda corny of course, but love the horn section.

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3

High highs, but a couple too many free form tracks

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3

1969. Horns! Jazzy. Fun.

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3

More complexity in the music than I might have given it credit for. Not really my thing, and I think the lyrics are a little dull and trite.

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3

best in small doses. more jamband than I was aware

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3

Some sick riffs

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3

Some favorites, like the horn sections

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3

This could’ve been, and should’ve been two albums. There’s no reason for this to be an hour and fifteen

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3

Sometimes good, sometimes it drags on.

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3

Zaczęło się spoko, ale nudy

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3

I thought Chicago sounded like Journey... It's much better than than that, I liked the rock and the horns and the weird stuff

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3

too much brass for my tastes.....but i can see how this would have been super fresh in its day

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3

Strong start but loses me towards the second half of the album. Once the song part of Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is? came on i really enjoyed it, but there was a lot of odd instrumentals throughout the album. Free Form Guitar was just jarring

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3

Is dit dezelfde Chicago als van 'Hard to say I'm sorry'? Jeetje, wat klinkt dit anders.

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3

Ik vond het eigenlijk best wel tof, maar 5 kwartier was echt teveel van het goed. En dat nummer waar iemand 6,5 minuut met een verrote bladblazer bezig is? Wtf?

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3

The debut Chicago album is a DOUBLE ALBUM?! And it's "only the beginning" (see what I did there?). Chicago is, without a doubt, very good at this kind of music. It's well-composed, well-performed, and well-paced. This is all undone by Side C's opener "Free Form Guitar" which rocks my socks. It totally breaks the flow of the album built up for the past 30-40 minutes by just experimenting with horrid guitar sounds and I love it. I wish more albums had a mid-point wake-up call. After that though it gets right back into it's normal groove and everything is alright again. I definitely feel that this is one of the better double albums, but it still ends up being too big for it's own good.

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3

Good

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3

3.5 some decent songs

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3

false

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3

Ganz nett aber irgendwie etwas wirr von der Zusammensetzung.

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3

Ohh endlich mal 14-minütige Gitarrensongs zum Träumen. Liberation und Listen sind meine Favoriten auf dem Album, machen Laune! Konnte man alles entspannt durchhören. Manches allerdings für meinen Geschmack zu jazzig, einige Parts erinnert mich ein bisschen an Fahrstuhlmusik.

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3

Als Hintergrundmusik 4 Sterne, zum aktiven Hinhören nur 2. Daher nur 3 Sterne. Erstaunlich seifig für 1969.

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3

Not bad. Hacen un poquito de todo.

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3

I had only heard the songs Chicago did in the 80s, song I just didn't like (too saccharine for me), and much later I heard a few of their earlier songs, which to me are notably better. I had not listened to this album before now, though. Definitely more rockin', soulful, political, and interesting as a listening experience than the song I heard on the radio in the 80s. Very much a reflection of late 60s rock/soul/pop and the cultural and political climate at that time, this helped me to view the band Chicago in a better light. A bit too dated for me now, and I don't have any personal memories associated with this music, so I doubt I'll listen to it again, but I can see why people would like it.

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3

It starts off like a decent classic rock album, but ends like a mediocre one. 7.6/10

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3

Me encantó hasta que llegue a Free Form Guitar, se recupera en Someday. Mi muy favorita Beginnings

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3

Classic rock with jazzy/soul tones. It’s all very well written and performed, but this sort of thing doesn’t do much for me

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3

Not bad, but don't think it's one I would listen to again

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3

Stanky Soft Rock. Some really cool tracks, and a few bland ones

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3

strong 3. Some great jazz rock, would get a 4 but the album is overly long and 'free form guitar' is pretty bad

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3

Who knew Chicago used to have a horn section!?!? Me, coz it keeps coming up this year. Still interesting to hear how much they changed from 60s to 80s and while I like the idea on paper it turned into a bit of a chore by the end of the album.

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3

Esta muy bueno. Solo hay varias rolas de más de 6 minutos que debieron terminar en tres.

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3

Dit is heel anders dan de band Chicago. Dit is jazz ... maar niet mijn ding :-). Tenminste het begint allemaal heel jazzy. De rest van het album is ook erg soul en juist die stukken vind ik geweldig. Jammer dat een volgend nummer weer begint met piano-geneuzel zoals bij jazz. Of van die gitaarsolo's waar ik niet van houd. Gelukkig ook weer gewoon "middle of the road". Alles bij elkaar lekkere muziek met verschillende stijlen, voor ieder wat wils zou ik zeggen. Mijn favoriet is"Listen". ***

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3

Pretty solid Jazz/Rock fusion album. However, I just wasn't really in the mood for it today. Worth revisiting another time when it might strike my fancy more, could easily see it being a 4.

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3

Fun instrumentals. A fan

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3

Good music

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3

"Hey, this is a pretty solid album so far, I'm really enjoying it. I sure hope they don't do something stupid like put in a seven-minute-long track of a single screeching, cringe-inducing guitar halfway through."

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3

Riktigt nice. Stökigt, jazzigt, rockigt. Lite steely dan-vibe.

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3

Couple of great tracks, some seem indulgent

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3

Good.

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3

A bit of a mixed bag: On one hand, excellent tracks that are the very definition of classic rock (see I'm a Man); on the other, what seem to be live recording of wanking with guitars sessions (see Free Form Guitar).

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3

3/5

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3

not really for me. the music was cool. songs were so long

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3

Inventive, very much a product of its times (boogie bass), good horns, soulful vocals. A little tedious after a while.

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3

Nice horns. Cool mix of prog and easy listening. Production was good. I appreciated the Beatles reference.

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3

Didn't know what to expect from this, not knowing the band name offhand. Started off funky, OK, I like, then we got to "I'm a man" and it capped off a load of psych-funk/free-form that I wasn't expecting at all.

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3

It was good, just couldn’t listen to it on repeat.

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3

3.9 - Considering where Chicago ended up in the 80s, it was a surprise to hear where they began. 1968 finds Chicago fusing funk, jazz, rock and R&B, in a similar vein as Sly and the Family Stone and Funkadelic. It's a big and bold sound buttressed by horns and an expanded rhythm section. The studio mastery and high value production that characterizes Chicago's output is on full display. What distinguishes this record for me are the artistic risks, some successful, others not. The protest recordings on "Someday" are poignant and ground the album in its time and place. Conversely, there are some boring extended jams ("Liberation"). My biggest knock is with "Free Form Guitar" which sounds like it's trying to be the "Maggot Brain" of guitar feedback - just a silly, cacophonous jerkoff.

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3

Jai aime, un bon melange disntruments et ca sonne tres bien. 3.75

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3

Muchos guitarrazos por todos lados. Progresivo, denso, largo. A ratos me saturó aunque supongo no es problema de la banda sino del género. 3.5 estrellas que bajan a 3 porque no sé si lo quiero volver a escuchar.

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3

Fängt fast zahm an, findet sich erst auch noch nicht so richtig, obwohl in Beginnings und Question schon gut die Richtung angedeutet wird. Wird dann noch bisschen anstrengend, aber dann, nach Free Form Guitar: wow, zwischenzeitlich schon crazy gut: Spielfreude und Freiheit, Polyrhythmen und MLK: Herr Ober, bringsiemir das gleiche wie dem Mann da! Gegen Ende wird dann der alte Zirkusgaul sogar für 14 Minuten zum Traben im Kreis durch die Manege geschickt. Danach ist er natürlich postorgasmisch lahm - aber auch glücklich, bis knapp an die 4!

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3

One of the best albums of its era

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3

I liked most of it, I just got bored as a lot of the songs were too long with the instrumental solos.

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3

Enjoyed this.

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3

Crazy to think that there was a time where you could have had such a band name as Chicago Transit Authority. Maybe this album simply isn’t truly indicative of their commercial success to date, but it’a hard to believe that this sound brought them success. Aside from an over abundance of horns and jamming, there are simply no real songs on this album. There seems to be a lack of a true concept or direction, with most of the fun being with the musicians rather than the listener. I would definitely have been sold on a live performance and the flawless production and musicianship truly saves it, but the jamming becomes irritating and the instrumental sections predictable. Sad to say that I wasn’t blown away as a whole.

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3

How the hell is Introduction 6:30? That’s not an introduction. It’s like a drunk uncle that ambled, swerved, and fell up the stairs on the way to give a suuuuuuper awkward wedding reception speech about how the bride’s ex was more liked by the family. Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? comes on and the cringe continues with the uncle adding that the ex is probably a better lay based on the vocals emanating from … and suddenly there are trumpets and the uncle loses his train of thought. Amazingly the uncle gathers himself and tells an entirely coherent story about how deep love made him feel long ago when he met hit late wife and how he can tell the bride feels that feeling and he admires the groom for making her feel that way. Applause ensues. “As I was walkin’ down the street one day…” that whole sound is fantastic! I love it. This album is the ultimate rollercoaster. I really like parts. Then there is shit like Free Form Guitar or the last minute of Beginnings … non-directional wastes of time. It’s frustrating. Im all for mixing jazz instrumentation with rock … the trumpet, bone, and sax with guitars and drums is great. Unfortunately it also came with jazz’s drunk uncle. This was a 4 sided, double LP. If this album were cut in half it could have been something truly amazing. Minus one star for each superfluous side.

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3

Chicago is another of those bands that I know very well by name, but couldn't have told you one of their songs. Looking through their catalog, I was surprised to find that actually "Saturday in the Park" was the only title I instantly recognized. But two minutes into "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" it suddenly became a song I knew! It seems Chicago is sometimes straight up jazz, sometimes a precursor to 80s easy listening, sometimes organ and electric guitar more fitting of the late 60s, sometimes a preview of 70s soul. Sometimes all at once, sometimes shifting in and out. And then... outta nowhere... the cacophonous experimental noise rock of "Free Form Guitar!?" What is going on here?? I don't think I would have guessed that this album was from 1969. I would have placed it in the late 70s or early 80s? Until "Someday," which is awesomely about the 1968 DNC protests. Overall, there is some really great surprising stuff on "Chicago Transit Authority." And also some stuff I really don't care for. This album leaves me with more questions than answers though. I still don't know what time it is, and I really want to know what questions 66 and 69 are, as well as poems 1-57. Or what genre this is.

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3

Rating: 6/10 Best songs: I’m a man

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3

Not what I expected. Eclectic and yet still missed the mark for me. I must be more difficult to please than I thought.

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3

I think largely because of Peter Cetera's 80s solo career, I assumed Chicago was some dull 1970s US soft rock band and had no need to investigate. Scratching at the surface with this album, it sounds like a lot of the 1960s rock music I like and wouldn't sound out of place in my record collection. I don't know if this is a typical Chicago album but there's some sweet guitar playing, and even some of the vocals sound Hendrix-like. Might need to listen to some more of this.

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3

poem 58 e a brincadeirinha com i am the walrus foram legais mas está longe de ser um dos lançamentos mais quentes daquele ano

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3

Svänger. storbandigt.

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3

Chyba pierwszy raz spotykam sie z banda, jeszcze dziwniejsze. bo hamerykanska banda grajaca muzyke rokowo jazzowo popowa, zadziwiajaco zroznicowana jak na jeden krazek, ktory trwa jednak 76 minut, zespol podczas nagrywania albumu skladal sie z siedmiu czlonkow, wiec sporo instrumentow sie pojawia, jak to w jazzie talerzowanie, saksy, trumpety, do tego dochodzi trzech wokalistow, ktory rotacyjnie maja traki, ktore byly pisane glownie przez klawiszowca Lamma, ktory zadbal o popularne brzmienie zespolu, natomiast jego eksperymentalna strona lezy na barkach glownej gitary Terrego Katha, ktorego autorstwa jest introwy trak i free guitar form, ktory sam w sobie jest czyms unikalnym jak na lata 60 i album jazzowo rokowy, sama gitara podpieta pod ampa, ktora przez 6 minut jamuje tworzac jakies podwaliny pod noisowa muzyke, wiec dobry piczek, bo cos nowego czlowiek uslyszal, najbardziej zapadajacym w pamiec hajlajtem bedzie Kathowa solowka, a najbardziej popularnym traczkiem zostaje im a man, wiec oba utwory leca na plejke

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3

Solid

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3

The last half of the album sounds like a random jam session

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3

Other than seeing its prog rock and other than most of the songs being really long because of this I know nothing… The album starts off with an introduction track, the song contains some brilliant “ horns”. The first part is much more lively then it goes into a slower “ jazzier” instrumental section ; only to briefly descend into madness then finally to go back to how it was before even bringing back the vocals. Does anybody really know what time it is is a shorter track for this album ( still 4 mins) it starts with a piano section then the horns come crashing in. It takes half the song for any vocals which is a shame but it’s still good when it gets there. Beginnings is nice it’s got a nice acoustic guitar in the mix which really brings the song together then it goes into madness with a great drumbeat and some good horns. The song is also probably the one with the most vocals in it which is good as well.The only problem is that the last minute is useless. Next up is questions 67 and 68 the instrumental kinda sounds like a grand intro to a game show. The song itself is really good I love the horns throughout alongside the crashing piano. A definite favourite so far. Happy to see on the wiki that this was released as a single ( although it didn’t seem to do well). Next is the song listen I liked the bass quite a bit especially at the start. It’s not a favourite, probably being the worst so far, but it’s just because of how good it’s been so far and shorter songs usually feel much worse on prog albums. After that swoops in poem 58 an 8 minute largely instrumental track, the guitars especially are really great on here it might only be me who feels this on here but something about the drums just feel a bit wrong and it does drag but of course it drags it’s a prog song! Free form guitar comes on with this really “droney” sound to it and drags for the whole hellish six minutes. I mean I like experimentation but not in this way if you know what i mean ( harder to listen to than revolution 9 by the Beatles). South California purples is a return to the normal sound but done in a slightly heavier fashion. The guitars are great, the horns are great but i’am kinda left wanting a different sound on those keyboards. My favourite part though has to be the build up on the chorus. The crashing symbols are cool and the stealing from the Beatles works nice. Closing off side 3 is i’am a man apparently it’s a cover so that’s cool it starts with a really good bass line where all the other instruments sorta circle around it making for one of the best build ups on here. My only issue is that the vocals could be a little louder in the mix. It does really drag at the 5 minute mark even if they build up on things again. Then starting off the last side is prologue, August 29 1968 it’s fine just an interlude that could’ve been merged as the intro to… Someday is a great song I like how it pulls out of the intro. It’s got the most poppier sounds and it is rather short but i’am happy for it’s existence as I was getting bored at this point. The album ends with liberation a 99% instrumental track. To be fair it’s not a great instrumental track at 14 minutes its way too long for its purpose and to be fair it only gets worse when it drops in what’s essentially a shorter repeat of free form guitar. It does go back to the main sound though and does add some limited vocals and the last minute or so is quite good. Man, after some time this got annoying! But what I liked I really liked so i’am in the middle here.

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3

What an intro! Blue-sey, jazzy, full of horns, full of hope, full of keys and full of dreams. Do I know what time it is? Yeah, it's 25 or 6 to 4. This is a bnad that has really moved around the musical block. It's a good listen and I'd do it again.

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3

I didn't listen to all of it, jazzy stuff is not normally my thing, but I might try again sometime because I did like the rhythm of it

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3

That horn-heavy Chicago sound. A fun listen but nothing really stood out...except was that where The Prodigy got that riff?

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3

Ágætis byrjun hjá Chicago.

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3

3.5

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3

I have to say this got a bit tiresome towards the end, the 15 minute long song at the end could've done without. A mixed bag of enjoying some of the funky riffs and it becoming a bit samey

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3

This album had some good parts but was uneven.

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3

4 star album if you cut the song lengths down by 2 minutes each and get rid of the guitar noise track

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3

A fun mixture of big band and rock instrumentation that provides an instant nostalgia shot. While the more anthemic nature of the LP means I don't see myself returning to all the tracks for easy listening, the album as a whole is a toe-tapping ride from start to finish.

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2

The musicianship and simple chutzpah to put Free Form in there saves this from being offensively bad, but it's quite bad. It sneaks under the radar, which should perhaps be a point against it. Utterly uninspiring.

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2

It was okay. Kinda weird. Didn't like the freeform song.

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2

well old stuff again. Kickt mich nicht mehr wirklich.

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2

struggled with this one. I kind of figured Chicago would be bad, given that after living there for 8 years, you never heard anyone really talk about the band, even in a city that is obsessed with itself. The sound felt like old school big band 'modernized' for the seventies. I like other Jam music so I kept trying to give this another chance, but it just never got there.

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2

Wow, this really showed me how unfamiliar I am with early Chicago. A couple of familiar tracks made it fun here and there. Too many guitar solos for me.

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2

Not sure I really care for this album. Nice music but it reminds me of music they used to play at the super market while you shop. 5/10.

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2

I do not like this band

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2

You know, I think I would like a lot more of this album if not for the wild, out of place, forever long intros. See like on Beginnings, I don't mind the extended outro, but a whole minute of the same groove just to do a super slow fade out? come on! Free Form Guitar is one of those tracks critics love and I don't get because its not pleasant to listen to. I'm docking a star for a 14 minute jam song at the end.

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2

This started off strong for me. My love for big horns was kicking in strong, and then they just kept going with the brass and I started getting a bit of listener fatigue. Then came "Free Form Guitar," and at that point I was like get fucked Chicago, and that became the first song on this entire list that I skipped before finishing. Like get over yourself guys, no one wants to hear that for 6 minutes and its not even interesting experimentation. Any ways, back half was pretty unremarkable. The only standout for me was "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" Overall it just felt a little uninspired to me. It's like taking the 10th best bands from the swing, jazz, hard rock, and blues genres and trying to form a supergroup. Nah.

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2

Generic, inoffensive 60s rock. It's not bad really, just boring.

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2

Fair to middling. Not particular my bag.

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2

I do not like this very much.

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2

Not enough, "Hard to Say I'm Sorry," or, "If You Leave Me Now." Not a fan.

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2

Tja, ik ken Chicago toch vooral van de latere periode toen ze meer AOR maakten. Dit is toch echt voor de liefhebbers. Schiet teveel kanten op. Wel afgeluisterd, maar zal dit niet snel nog een keer draaien.

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2

5

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2

A bit self indulgent in places, clearly good musicians but the album didn't do much for me.

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2

Starts off nice enough. Turns into a slog quickly. Not a fan of these long songs with big solos at the end.

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2

Decent musicianship but a lack of songs and far too long

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2

Over an hour of meandering guitar and drum solos with no discernible focus.

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2

OK as background music but I wouldn't consciously decide to listen again.

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2

I was hopeful after the opening track but the rest of the album was pretty dire.

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2

Bluesy with hints of jazz and soul. This should have been something that I enjoyed but I found very little to latch onto with a weak lead vocal and uninspiring lyrics.

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2

1969 brought us a lot of great music that was both ground-breaking but also timeless; then there's Chicago. I may be missing something here, but the album is fairly uninspired and treads the line of 70's rock and big brass bands without excelling in either. As far as an influence in the decade to come, that would be notable if the decade by and large wasn't so bereft of quality music.

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2

i'm a man the only good song

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2

Free form guitar es demasiado JAJAJAJ

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2

Not to my taste, but I can see the appeal.

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2

A bit tough

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2

Não rendeu bem

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2

Start of nice jazzy, but then it gets less

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2

When it’s good it’s good, but it’s too often bogged down in some of the most pointlessly self-indulgent experimental toss I’veever heard. And I say that as a King Crimson fan, just to put things in perspective.

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2

Lots of jazz, naturally lending itself to big band energy. Overall an ok album, however nothing that would really grab me to go back and listen to it. Best: Southern California Purples Worst: Liberation

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2

Funky horns, guitars that take turns blazing and noodling, a melange of Andy Williams vibes and hippy idealism. "Free Form Guitar" is 6 minutes and 49 seconds of self-indulgent tosh.

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2

Не мое

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2

I'm tempted to give everything from 1969 an automatic 1/5 from now on because there is TOO MUCH from this time period, but this is alright. It was almost proggy in places, but mostly just kinda poppy jazz. 75 minutes was punishing though. 2/5.

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2

It was… fine.

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2

This album feels like the score to a show that I can't see. Despite the diversity of sound, I ultimately have no idea what is happening on stage or how the story is progressing so I lose interest.

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2

Can respect rock with horns and appreciate a different rock flavour, but it was not my cup of tea. While there were a few good songs (does anybody really know....., Listen, and Questions 67 and 68 are strong examples), the album was very muddly and at times annoying.

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2

Prior to hearing this I was only familiar with their really lame, sappy soft rock hits. I was expecting another 1 star especially with that run time. Well it was a little better than I expected, but not much. It started out okish but just turned into a slog and don't even get me started on the self indulgence. There's a good case to cast this into the gutter, but there are some pretty cool moments with the brass that give it some redeeming value. Regardless I don't really want to cross paths with this or any Chicago album again.

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2

Think this will go against general ratings but couldnt get into it. Found it to be kind of noisy.

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2

This is what happens when band geeks are allowed to make a rock band. They like jazz, obviously. Every song is too long

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2

Started off well, but the hour upon hour of terrible guitar noodling completely ruined the entire thing!

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2

L'intro est cool, l'intro de piano de la deuxième toune est malade, ça se gâte pour moi quand le chant arrive. Connaissais pas du tout (de nom) Beginings begin longtemps en criss En général c'est mon impression, trop long... Si je m'attendais à entendre un solo de guit noise? Non, est-ce que c'était bon?... Pleins de bout de brass vraiment cool et bien écrit mais aussi beaucoup de bout de brass générique qui n'apporte rien aussi C'est long, qui a besoin d'un autre blues après 50 minutes d'album?? 2,5 si on pouvais

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2

Starts well but loses itself in the middle and peters out

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2

Apparently they were going for the abundance of horns and percussion sounds combined with a bunch of solo noodling on any instrument they could find. There's essentially 3 songs that show they have some potential to become a melodic interesting rock band, and about 60 minutes of music that should best be left in the past.

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2

'Ooftah' - Shannah (1.75) 'Flip-flops between being really awesome to really tedious' - Conor (2.8) 'I was pleasantly surprised it wasn't Boston' - Bill (2)

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2

Didn’t really like it, and I thought I would. Too many long ass guitar solos. I did like “I’m a Man.”

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2

Pretty vacant to me. Just throwing a load of rock stuff at it but without much soul or heart.

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2

meh

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2

Probably great live during this era. Seems bloated in retrospect. The Hendrix influenced guitar is fun.

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2

I hate to say it, but I enjoyed the Documentary Now! sendup if Chicago- Blue Jean Comitee-than I liked this.

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1

Hated it.

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1

God. This went on and on.

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1

70's game show music, and not the funky kind.

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1

awesome playing. but jazz rock.... not my thing

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1

ja, ne, echt nicht. Danke. Heute kein Foto für dich. Dafür verschwende ich nicht meine Zeit. Richtig sauer gerade.

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1

1 - Gerade ist hier Tiefphase

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1

Nope.

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1

Extremely self indulgent. Comes across to me as being calculated to the point of boredom. It is also excessively long (are debut double albums ever a good idea?). The longer it went on the more I just wanted it to be over, which isn't a good sign. A special mention also for "free from guitar" which made me grit my teeth and grimace 'finger nails on chalkboard' style. It would be a 2, but that knocks it down to a 1.

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1

Dog shite

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1

an hour and a bit i'll never get back. self indulgent muso wank.

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1

Meh

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1

(boring a bit)

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1

Not my cup of tea

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1

Il y a de beaux instruments mais qu'est-ce que je me fais chier. Je peux pas mettre autre chose que 2. C'est terne je ressens rien, c'est juste pas ma musique. Intéressant quand même : le début du drone metal dans "Free from guitar" ? Sans déconner la dernière "Liberation" réunit tout ce que je déteste dans le jazz : des notes sans fin, ça n'en termine jamais

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1

This was not a good start to my day. Mindless meanderings, devoid of melody or direction. Some of it was reasonably innoffensive, and after a couple of tracks I was thinking, maybe 3 stars - but who thought 'Freeform guitar' or 'Poem 58' were worthy of inclusion on an album for sale to the public? It just made me cross. Complete rubbish.

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1

and i thought wyoming was white

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1

A cross between widdly 70s rock and brass band music, just what the world needs.

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1

1/5 not at all.

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1

Musik für amerikanische Fernsehserien, an die sich niemand erinnert. Da hilft auch kein eingestreutes artsy Gniedelfeuerwerk. 1.3

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1

It's a bit leaden When the horns and a bit of funk come through it improves, but halfway through, and my abiding memory is that a track called introduction should not last six minutes, unless it's a sodding warning. They love a good bit of noodling. Questions is quite good (but would be better 2 minutes shorter still.) Free Form guitar is the most extended act of masturbation this side of Porn Hub, except you know nobody else is going to get any enjoyment out of it. I gave up before the live tracks, because frankly it was bad enough before that. Been a while since I've hit one star, but honestly, this was an hour wasted, and this now becomes seventh in my hall of shame.

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1

Something about this music makes me think of San Francisco. I'm not sure why because I love(d) SF and I hate this album. The horns were a novelty and I really liked them for the first track and-a-half. As the album progressed and we go to the Poem 58 and Free Form Guitar, this album had burned all my excitement for it. I'm all for experimentation, but these two tracks were terrible and proved nothing. The Byrds did some experimentation with Moog Raga that was far superior to this garbage. I was kind of excited to listen to pre-Cetera Chicago because I knew they had changed a lot and really weren't the same band that I knew in the 80's. However, by the end of this album my disappointment had turned to anger coming to the realization this was just shitty jam band music with horns.

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1

Chicago fucking blows

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