My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: Chicago Transit Authority was recorded at the end of January of 1969 and released in April of the same year. The band shortened their name to Chicago after the release of the album following threats of a lawsuit for the real CTA.
What I think: 95% of this album is so bloody good, I at times think it may be the best thing I’ve ever heard. There is something about the way the eight band members sound in these recordings that is just magical. Everything works together like a team. You can have what is essentially a guitar solo flowing through half of an eight minute song, but unlike something from Jimmy Page or Eric Clapton, it works within the song itself. It isn’t an aside where everything else stops and waits. The bass keeps moving, the horns keep flowing and the song goes forward. Even a song like “Questions 67 and 68” with Cetera on vocals are fun even when it does veer close to cheesy ballad territory. My favorites here are “Does Anybody Really Know What Time it is?”, the aforementioned “Questions 67 and 68”, and “South California Purples”.
That being said, that feeling of teamwork wains somewhat towards the second half of this (2 disc) album and the songs slow down at times or even stop for those guitar parts. “Free Form Guitar” maybe the worst piece of drivel I’ve listened to yet for this project. It sounds like when I was twelve years old and would plug a guitar into and amp, turn it up really loud so it distorts and then hit random strings. It’s really bad.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? I agree it should be here and am actually somewhat saddened that (according to Wikipedia), this is the only Chicago album featured in the book.
Rating (Out of 5): 4.5
Amazon Review (Out of 5): 4.5
Is this my first time hearing this album? Yes (129/170)
Percentage of Albums that are new to me: 76%
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