The Chicago Transit Authority is the debut album by the Chicago-based rock band Chicago (then known as Chicago Transit Authority). It was recorded and released in 1969 and became a sleeper hit, reaching number 17 on the Billboard 200 by 1971 and spawning several successful singles, including "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?", "Questions 67 and 68" and "Beginnings". The album stayed on the Billboard chart for 171 weeks, beating the previous record for a rock album's longevity of 155 weeks and has been certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). For this inaugural recording effort the group was nominated for a Grammy Award for 1969 Best New Artist of the Year. The album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2014.Wikipedia
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.
I guess when this band got together, they were feeling a little... horny ;)
"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."
Is this the whitest album ever made? ALL SIGNS POINT TO YES.
Lifeless soul. Or funk. Or whatever. Any way up, it's ersatz shit.
“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” ) 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
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”
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”.
Loving the remastered songs!
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?
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!
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
Great stuff! Really experimental guitar, great vocals. Didn’t quite key into any sort of story, but fantastic overall.
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.
More rock than I had expected with my little knowledge of their later soft pop career.
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.
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.
Fuck yeah, Chicago
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.
Whoa. Unlike many of their albums, this one isn't hit or miss. Just great.
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.
Incredible album front to back.
-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."
Loved this. Great groove. Favourite track was Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?
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.
- 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.
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
Really love most of the songs! Will be listening to from now on.
Wow. Really noodly, horns. I love it.
5/5 - Fun, pre-fall album
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 🌟
Outstanding first album. When Chicago was Chicago!
Ok this rips
Fedt album! Desværre ødelægger Free guitar form albummets flow. Tæt på perfekt og fede soloer og lækker jazz rock
1969 Grammy Awards, Best New Artist nominees included CSN, Chicago, Zeppelin.
Whooo that album kicks off with a bang and just doesn’t stop. What a great and unique sound. Killer!
Brilliant debut album! One of my favorites from an innovative group of musicians.
¡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.
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.
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
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.
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:)
CLASSIC CLASSIC CLASSIC album. By and large, really great stuff. Could have done without "Free Form Guitar". A1
Loved it, some classics
i liked how this was released in 1969, arguably the funniest year of the 20th century
Great album start to finish.
Excelente álbum! Conhecia só as baladas da banda, muito bom saber mais. Gostei muito, quero ouvir mais o álbum e apreciar melhor. Melhores músicas: Poem 58 e I'm a man.
Always a good album to come to. It drips 70s, but in a good way (yes I know it was released in 1969). Besides the songs that were hits, “Liberation “ has to be mentioned as an amazing track. A tour de force, really. “Free Form Guitar,” um… yeah. Guess you had to be there. Solid album, all the way through. The first few Chicago albums are really good stuff, I really recommend them.
This is great, a perfect balance of pop appeal, sophisticated composition, and avant-garde experiments. Some nostalgic value for me too, as my Dad had some Chicago records that he would play sometimes when I was a kid.
What an album. I love the intensity, power and played with precise timing and tightness. Terry Kath.. Wow he's spectacular on this album , sadly he was never given as much space as he was on this album. My favorite Chicago album.
Introduction - 10/10 Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? - 10/10 Beginnings - 9/10 Questions 67 and 68 - 10/10 Listen - 10/10 Poem 58 - 9/10 Free Form Guitar - 6/10 South California Purples - 10/10 I'm a Man - 10/10 Prologue - 9/10 Someday - 10/10 Liberation - 10/10
Jedan od onih jebate u što se ovo pretvorilo bendova
Better than I remember. The horns and virtuoso guitar make this a great album to listen to anytime.
I'd give this a 4.5, it wouldn't sit in my all-time favorite albums but it's a great album with quite a few recognizable hits over 50 years later.
More jazzy than I expected, but still great
This album was different than anything else at the time.
starts with a bang, making its intentions clear: strap in boys and girls this is going to be a wild journey and it absolutely delivered. almost lost me with the free form guitar but pulled me straight back in with the punchy bass line on listen.
a true classic
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
Wow, this was crazy, I thought I knew Chicago. This was almost Hendrix like in places. Really interesting album.
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
Dat saxophone tho
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.
Awesome jazz/rock big band.
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.
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.
Excellent rock. Meh jazz. Superior songwriting.
Don't know why I slept on this one. So good!
Lovely. I'll have to pull this out again
Long songs toward the end, but I like Chicago. Also sick guitar tones for solos.
This is nice. Sounds like 60s cool city big band music. Nostalgic, like this is what they are listening to on Sesame Street.
Excellent blend of jazz and rock. Overall very solid album even if it was a bit long and had a couple weaker tracks.
Amazing drums and horns. Not thrilled with the vocals. Will listen again.
Música de qualidade, exceto Free Form Guitar que é um pouco exagerada
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.
This was ace. Similar to maggot brain
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.
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"
Gefällt mir, viel Energie, Rock, Blues - ggf. sogar jazzig. Wunderbar abwechslungsreich, wandert auf meine Playliste.
Very good except the gitaren zonder snaren
Nice mix of instrumental jazz tracks and pop songs. Not a big fan of brass in general, but good stuff.
Very jazzy and great listen
I know this album well. I listen to it often. Can't go wrong with Chicago.
Front half is loaded with the classics, back half is a bunch of guitar driven groovy jams
Very good to great. Some vocals/lyrics don't really do it for me but musically outstanding. Great percussion/brass/and lots of guitar
Surprised! Nor bad.
What a great sound. Love this album.
Discazo todo pero además Poem 58 muy por encima de todo
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.
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
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
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!
2nd time around for me. 4/5. Great sound. Classic.
Ballsy and bluesey
Great instrumentals, vocals. White guys!?
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...
Had no idea Chicago was into experimentation in guitar work… the more you know!
Blues rock. Un poco psicodélico.
Far better than I imagined. Always thought it would be soft-rock nonsense but it's a fine listen.
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.
Chicago - одна из первых рок-групп, широко использовавших духовые инструменты. Это их дебютный альбом. Понравились джемы: Free Form Guitar, Poem 58 и пр.
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.
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
Some badass solos and bass work. Enjoyable album
Surprisingly my first Chicago album and it slapped. Great stuff and fun playing
nice mix of jazz and rock
Super underrated, very solid
nice jazzrock album that starts at jazz and ends on a seemingly improv rock instrumental.
Amazing album. Didn't know they had an album as early as 1969.
really nice, perfect background music
Psychedelic jazz? Not the Chicago that I was expecting.
I could leave "person with guitar falls down stairs" but the rest of the album is great
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.
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!
gostei da banda de rock and roll com chifres
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
LP (l’avait avant)
I wish more people (or at least younger people) knew how dope Terry Kath was.
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.
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.
Really good stuff. Some of it is annoying but most of it is really badass.
big and brassy. 3 maybe? Bump to 4 for some good songs and chicago branding ofc.
I did not know Chicago could sound like this.
Well created album with some great brass sections 👍
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.
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.
Great album, great band that was always being played throughout my life but put on by someone else- like a radio DJ or a family member at a BBQ. The band is really tight and the songs even at their foundations sound really great. There's also this sort of "epic" quality to this album (and probably the rest of the bands music as well) that I really appreciate. It's like the guitarist would go into the studio and say "can i do this huge guitar solo?" and the rest of the band says "hell yes". Good example of this is the track "Poem 58".
How amazing to have everything I love in music in one place: psychedelic guitar, jazz improvisations, soulful vocals and stellar drumming that can keep up with all of the above. Also, horns! There’s a special dopamine hit I get when my favorite rock bands include horns on a song and Chicago seems to be designed around the principle that more horns is pretty much always better than less horns. I agree! “Free Form Guitar” is a bit much but I always thought of Chicago as a clean-cut band and it’s nice to know they did drugs too. (The same goes for the wild but kind of exhausting 14-minute closer “Liberation.”) Other than those though, this is great. Favorite tracks: “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” (such a great song and I’ve never heard that jazzy intro before), “Poem 58” (that guitar!), “South California Purples,” “I’m a Man”
Really enjoyed this album, everything comes through very strong between the brass section, the guitars, and the vocals they all get their time to really step into the spotlight. You have some solid Rock, but it's backed with all kinds of genres weaving in between Jazz, Funk, and even some psychadelia. Lost a point for Free Form Guitar, that could have been cut otherwise definitely an album I would add to my collection.
Fav songs: - Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? - Beginnings - Someday
I'm probably best classified as a fan of Chicago's greatest hits, though mostly for their soft rock stuff with Cetera on lead vocals. I knew and respected some of their early hits (mostly Lamm-led vocals) but was less interested in those. Not until now did I appreciate how good of musicians they were. Cetera is a pretty darn good bassist (check out Listen or I'm a Man), not just a high-pitched wonder. And yeah, Free Form Guitar probably could've been about half the time but damn, Kath can play (also listen to Poem 58 or South California Purples). Then layer in the jazz section on top of the typical instruments and it's really quite impressive. Introduction is just that - a great starter if you want to know what these guys can do. And then keep going with the hits (tracks 2-4) but also don't skip the finisher Liberation. Lamm also pens some great lyrics (besides sides one and two, check out Someday on side four).
Seems like I really like Chicago, especially their early works with Terry Kath. Lots of great musicians, earnest (slightly cheezy) lyrics, and dense arrangements. "DARKWTII" is a puzzling track. Apparently it was a radio hit, but the first half is a bit of a chore. After that, though, it's the perfect kind of tunesome sardonicism that is right up my alley. The whole album is pretty good with the energy of (what was surely) a rollicking live show with the polish of a studio. Some tracks are a little indulgent, but that's ok. It's a good one and deserves to go on the ol' hi-fi end-to-end.
couple parts of the album got a little long - but the opening few tracks are just killer
Far exceeded my expectations. Had heard all the hits before but the whole album just had a great sound/vibe. Would dive into more of the early Chicago catalogue. 4/5
I really enjoyed this album. A couple of well known songs, but even the ones I don't know that well were really good.
I’ve heard of Chicago before but I did not know their sound. This album gave a great insight into who they are and their sound, which surprised me. I was not expecting such a presence of horns and rock but I think they work really well together. It reminded me a bit of show tunes but I enjoyed it. I’m surprised there are not more bands who incorporated horns as heavily as Chicago does
Nice collection of jazz rock. Love the instruments. Not bad at all 4/5
Other than "free form guitar" this was a very solid album
Barking mad, almost unlistenable in places, but by far the best thing I've been pointed at in ages
Really enjoyed it. Would listen again. Found the anti- Vietnam war commentary also interesting
Fun casual vibe album. Love the additions of horns to many of their mellow rock songs.
Unique blues rock with brass section, upbeat full sound, strong singer, dominant trumpet, wind solos reminiscent of cocktail sundowns
Whatever happened to Chicago if this is their first album? I went into this listen with a bare minimum knowledge of the band, only some of their famous singles of later periods like If You Leave Me Now and Hard To Say I'm Sorry. Songs that are not inviting for a music lover to search deeper into a bands repertoire. How wrong was I. Chicago Transit Authority is a great jazzy and soulful rock album with a copper wind section to boot. Lots of changes in tempo and styles, and some great musicians. It's not a 5* album due to the absolutely terrible "Free For Guitar," and the way too standard "South California Purples" But an amazing album for the rest. And I'll be listening to this again.
Solid funk album, cannot complain.
Definitely a sucker for this kind of thing. Standouts: Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?, Questions 67 and 68, Liberation Miss me with: Free Form Guitar (I feel like I have a pretty high tolerance for stuff like this, but 7 minutes of it? Come on now.)
It's all over the place, but still an interesting blend of rock, soul, jazz and psychedelica.
Solid debut double album - steady 4 star - except Free Form Guitar (according to wikipedia, this was an influential song but it is just horrible to listen to)
One of Grandad's favourites. Love it!!
No its not the most mind blowing thing in the world, but it is pretty fun. You cant really hate the grooves or tight playing
psychedelic rock with jazzy horns was not what I thought this would be. I like jazzy albums and rocky albums. This album is EXACTLY a 9/10
First listen, was very nice 👍
Leuke verrassing! Er gebeurt zo veel op muzikaal vlak, dat ik deze wel nog eens ga beluisteren.
Guitarrero, setentero, con una muy buena voz vocal y muy de la época
I always think about these bands with city names as the same (Chicago, Boston, Nazareth, Alabama, etc...) with that kind of easy-listening music from the 70s and 80s. How foolish I was for never trying "Chicago" before. It's an extended play with more than 1 hour trip to various rock styles and an excellent instrumental vibe from start to end. I hope other bands named after cities I never tried have identical surprising albums on this list. I'll be lucky.
A pretty cool debut album that must have been pretty unique in rock music at the time with generous use of horn charts , the fusion of pop and jazz (big band) and first class musicianshio. Lots of great songs. I do find the double album a little long especially with some of the drawn out instrumental breaks, specfically the guitar freak outs on Liberation and the aptly titled Free Form Guitar. At its best; Does Anybody Really Know What Time it is, Beginnings and especially The cover of The Spencer Davis Group's I'm AM Man, the bands songs and playing are really quite remarkable. Ultimately their reach excedes their grasp but still a stunning debut. 4 stars
I think I’ve heard Chicago before, but then again I’m not sure if I’m thinking of the stage musical. Or I could possibly be mixing them up with Boston or Kansas because… you know… America places. Songs I already knew: none Favourites: Beginnings, Poem 58 This is quite different to Boston and Kansas after all. It is still rock music, but also incorporates plenty of RnB and funk. It’s much jauntier than I was expecting, and overall was a very enjoyable listen. Musically, everything is very tight and works well which isn’t always the case with older albums where the odd mistake can sometimes slip through. Overall, I’d recommend for anybody who, like me, thinks rock music needs more horns. I’m late to the party, but I’m very happy to have discovered Chicago today. My only criticism is it is a very long album, and Free Form Guitar is just noise which I felt should have just been cut.
Uau. I didn't now about that side of Chicago. On some songs they remind me of the Zappa. And far away from soft rock band 10 years (or so) later.
Far better than expected. I'm more familiar with Chicago's later work, and while 25 or 6 to 4 is an absolutely excellent song, the more and more ballads the less and less interesting. Luckily, this album had none of that, it was just excellent Big Band/Funk/Rock all around that also had some unexpected very experimental sound. I enjoyed the first half more than the second half, but it was all good, and if Jimi Hendrix thinks the guitar sounds good, then you're doing something right. Now if only the songs didn't go on so long sometimes. Not like they're repetitive, they certainly earn there length most of the time, but it makes it hard to imagine wanting to listen to them again when half of them are twice or even three times as long as the average song.
I know some Chicago songs, but this is not what I was expecting as all. I love the huge sound and happy feels - they did a good job of not being annoying with it. I especially appreciate the flow of the album. I was pleasantly surprised with this album.
Before listening to this album, I was only familiar with Chicago's radio singles. Really enjoyed this album. Lots of rich sounds big horns, loved it!
better than I expected, edgier and harder rock than I thought they could make!
Tiring. 5.5/10 FT: Questions 67 and 68
Love the innovation here even it gets weird at times
A couple of my favorite Chicago songs on here, and a surprising amount of heavy guitar wanking.
Not Chicago’s best but an interesting no vocal sound
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.
Kinda corny of course, but love the horn section.
High highs, but a couple too many free form tracks
1969. Horns! Jazzy. Fun.
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.
best in small doses. more jamband than I was aware
Some sick riffs
Some favorites, like the horn sections
This could’ve been, and should’ve been two albums. There’s no reason for this to be an hour and fifteen
Sometimes good, sometimes it drags on.
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