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The Non-Classical 'I'm Currently Listening To...' Topic

2056621 Views 28303 Replies 768 Participants Last post by  Floeddie
I thought this forum deserved a 'Currently Listening To...' topic, so here it is!

Now Playing: Octavarium by Dream Theater (24 minutes of sheer genius!)
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More Chicago albums for later tonight.

Chicago V (1972):

Chicago VI (1973):

Chicago VII (1974):

Chicago is one of my favorite bands.

I've quite the collection of Chicago albums:

Chicago Transit Authority
2000 Live '69
Chicago (II)
At Carnegie Hall
IX Greatest Hits
Hot Streets
Greatest Hits 1982-1989
Stone of Sisyphus
Night and Day: Big Band
Christmas: What's It Gonna Be, Santa?
"NOW" Chicago XXXVI

Only missing:

Greatest Hits, Volume II
XXVI: Live in Concert
XXXIII: O Christmas Three
XXXIV: Live in '75
XXXV: The Nashville Sessions
. . . and a bunch of compilation albums.
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Just finished up listening to Elton John's Caribou.

After having been a casual fan of Elton, there was something that completely turned me off about this follow up to Yellow Brick Road, in spite of the presence of the quite awesome Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me. Honestly, it's not a bad album, with a good amount of solid tracks on it. Perhaps it was my adverse reaction to the opening track The Bitch Is Back, which I never liked very much, and then they over-played this track on the radio.

But it was 1974 and my teenage tastes were changing I guess. Strange that I never embraced Elton the same way since that album. Sure, I've got a smattering of his later albums, and there's some tracks I consider to be quite good (the aforementioned Don't Let the Sun . . . , Sorry Seems to Be . . . , Empty Garden, Pinball Wizard, Song For Guy, I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues, Understanding Women, The Lion King soundtrack) , but that 1973 feeling never returned. Of course it didn't help that the Elton John songs that got airplay were perhaps the most popish lamest songs on their respective albums (Island Girl, Don't Go Breaking My Heart, Someone Saved My Life Tonight, Philadelphia Freedom, I'm Still Standing, Mama Can't Buy You Love, Johnny B. Goode [worst cover ever], Victim of Love)

Somehow it seemed that he'd become a parody of himself.

People in nature Human body Sky Plant Tree
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Chicago Transit Authority or Chicago's first album (before they changed their name)
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Last night and this afternoon, all from Spotify

Chicago Transit Authority (released 1969)

Chicago 2 (January 1970). I listened to the Steve Wilson remaster

Chicago III (January 1971)

Chicago V (July 1972)

Chicago VI (June 1973)

I skipped Chicago IV because it's a live album, I'm only interested in listening to their studio albums. A few weeks ago I watched the documentary Chicago Now More than Ever, and I'm following in the footsteps of Elgar's Ghost. There's some really good stuff here. My mother got me into Chicago many many years ago.
I did the exact same thing this weekend.

By last night I'd gotten through "Side One" (of four) and part of Side Two of Chicago VII. This morning I started again at the beginning of VII - the first Side and a half are instrumental, a weird sort of jazzy-jammy hybrid. And it's their last double-LP album.

In a way, it's an underappreciated masterpiece, as it moves from jamjazz to some very eclectic pop/rock.

Rectangle Wood Font Art Pattern

I too skipped IV (Carnegie Hall) . . . Too much talking and downtime, and the sound is pretty awful.
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Why in the world doesn't Chicago name their albums? It makes it harder for people to remember which album is which, and it makes them seem like a factory producing next year's model.
After Chicago VIII that's pretty much what they became.

After Chicago XI they fired their longtime producer Guercio, and guitarist Terry Kath died from an accidentally self-inflicted gunshot wound at a party. People were alarmed, and in his inebriated state he thought he calm them down by putting the gun to his head to prove it wasn't loaded. He was mistaken.

Their twelfth album was named Hot Streets, and featured photos of the band on the cover instead of another clever version of their logo.

A subsequent marketing survey noted that consumers expected to see the logo on the cover, so for their 13th album they returned to their logo, this time in the shape of a highrise building. It's also the first to NOT use roman numerals for the numbering.

Supposedly their website has names for each of the covers:

III is "Tattered Flag"
X is "Chocolate Bar"
XI is "Regional Map"
XIV is the thumbprint one

. . . but I don't seem to be able to find that there.
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Screw chicago, I can't be bothered. Hell of a city, though.
Probably a generational thing, but their first decade is special to me.

A sh!tload of extremely talented musicians that actually got it together and managed to record at least a dozen extraordinary albums.

A shame it kinda just went bad. Those first 11 albums were bada$$. But the writing was already on the wall . . . first with disco and then punk, and a few ballad hits sung by Cetera. They fired their producer because he was "too overbearing", and then they lost Kath, their rock'n'roll conscience.

I read somewhere that some record executive asked them to "drop the horns" (Hey! The Moody Blues caved in to "suit" pressure - Their album Ser La Mer had none of band member Ray Thomas' flute on it, and they mixed out all of his backing vocals).

The band eventually became a "soft FM radio" ballad-maker, all but becoming Cetera's backing band. Then they fired the percussionist. Then Cetera left for a solo career. Then they fired virtuoso drummer Danny Seraphine, evidently for paying more attention to the business end of things instead of drumming (I read that to mean that he discovered he wasn't making as much as the band members).

They rebelled in 1993 and recorded an entire album that took them several steps closer to their roots, which would have been XII, but instead titled called Stone of Sisyphus. It's planned released date was March 22, 1994.

And their record company rejected the album. The label's rejection cascaded down to contribute to a "schism within the band".

I managed to get my hands on a bootleg of the album long before it's eventual release in 2008, fourteen years after its original release date (although one track was inexplicably cut from the release without any explanation from the band, which ended up owning the release).

From then on Chicago's fortunes meandered aimlessly, producing a Big Band album, a few Christmas albums, and a hodgepodge of uneven albums.
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Update on Chicago: "Colour My World" has won me over to the point where I am considering acquiring the Quadio Box. Looks like I must now eat my words; early Chicago was exceptional.

They're good. They've always been good. Great integration of the horn section with the rhythm section. Excellent vocals from the original three: Lamm, Cetera, and Kath. Cetera's long term replacement, Jason Scheff, was vocally just as strong as Cetera, plus he played bass.

Some other non-original members have come and gone: Donny Dacus (guitar) was an astounding singer, and Bill Champlain (keys, guitar) was a damned good singer as well.

Lamm's prolific songwriting sustained them for many years, but started trickling off until he 'dried up' completely on Chicago 16. No matter, the rest of the band filled in the gaps just fine.

Funny thing is that they never sucked, it's just that the music business changed, as did the public's tastes in pop music, and the suddenly found themselves pigeonholed as "that ballads band" fronted by Cetera. The material is always played and arranged well, the vocals always excellent, the vibe great.

And of course, the mostly private internal politics of the band itself likely didn't help either.

Listening to Chicago 16, their first with new member Bill Champlain, new producer David Foster, and new record label Warner Bros. It's also the first to include outside songwriters, and the first without longtime "8th member' percussionist Laudir de Oliveira.

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Found this vintage thread looking for something else...

Chicago VS. Blood Sweat and Tears

Despite David Clayton-Thomas being a Canadian I'm going to have to go with Chicago on this one...

Interesting article on Chicago's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and why Peter Cetera wasn't there -
Well, it almost explained why Peter wasn't there. Something about lowering 25 or 6 to 4 a fourth.

But their albums started out as that band with three vocalists: Lamm, Kath, and Cetera. There must be a shipload of songs they could have performed that didn't revolve around Cetera's vocals, like one of these three:

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?
While the City Sleeps
As Oscar Wilde once said, "the old believe everything, the middle aged question everything, and the young know everything." And since Red Terror seems to know, we can make an educated guess.

Red, at the very least pick up CTA, II, III, and VII. Those are all great albums. 5 is pretty good too. The Rhino reissue has some cool bonus tracks.
Yep. CTA, II, III, and VII.

I'd add V and perhaps X to that.

And definitely Stone of Sisyphus.
Still on the Chicago bandwagon. And as mentioned in the other thread, I'm behind with posting.

Chicago VII, (March 1974) A double album and quite jazzy. I liked it.

Chicago VIII (March 1975)

Chicago X (June 1976). (Chicago IX is a greatest hits album, I didn't listen to it)

Chicago XI (September 1977)

Chicago Hot Streets (October 1978)

All from Spotify

Definitely a gradual decline in the quality of music.
Cue up Stone of Sisyphus. It was supposed to be Chicago XXII, but got rejected and all but forgotten, becoming their "lost album". All but one track was eventually released as Chicago XXXII: Stone of Sisyphus in 2008, 15 years after it was recorded (1993).

That would place it between Chicago 21 (a singularly weak album) and Night and Day: Big Band (an excellent album) had it actually been released after they recorded it.

I've been cycling through the Chicago albums as well: I'm up to Chicago XXIII: Heart of Chicago 1967-1997. It's a compilation, but whoever compiled it chose to bridge their two Chicago eras on one CD, shuffling between new and old songs from track to track, and including a couple of new unreleased tracks somehow. Many critics and fans disapproved of the concept, finding the distinct styles of both decades clashing with each other, and with the lack of many significant hits, which prodded Warner Bros./Reprise to issue a followup album the following year.

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They started out with a bang, and it was a very long slow slide into generic obscurity.

As pointed out, their first seven albums were really, really good (with, perhaps, the exception of their fourth album, the Live at Carnegie Hall, a poorly recorded and mis-mastered compilation of early Chicago).

Those albums delivered great tunes and arrangements, great horns and vocals. Chicago I through Chicago V delivered 100%.

But Chicago VI led off with perhaps their most duff track to date, the throwaway Critic's Choice, bringing the album down to a 92%.

In my ears, every album after that kept pushing that percentage down a few points. I still enjoy almost ALL of their output however . . . the arrangements and vocals stayed impossibly stellar, although many of the songs themselves became more corporate, generic, or syrupy.

Their lost album, Stone of Sisyphus, would have probably revived their credentials as innovators, or at the least, players in the game. But it was rejected by their record label and shelved for album 15 years. Their Big Band album is quite good, as is the revised version of their first Christmas album, What's It Gonna Be Santa?.
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It makes me want to drink.
Is that 'cause Jesus tore the bars away?
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Concert For George

Microphone Guitar Musical instrument String instrument Guitar accessory

Interesting to hear so many of Harrison's songs sung by different voices all in one place.

The songs all hold up quite well.

Except I just cannot "get into" Tom Petty's voice. He sings a couple.

And then there's this guy. He sang three. Here's one of them.

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Dark Horse
George Harrison

He was a bit hoarse on this album

Art Painting Paint Happy Sky
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Déjà Vu
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

You know, when David, Stephen, and Graham harmonized the Gods all smiled.

Dog Carnivore Font Book Art
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Диана Анкудинова / Diana Ankudinova - HUMAN

A girl with some voice.
That's ... odd.
I concur. Very odd.

I accompany singers and choirs all the time, including for competitions and master classes.

This young lady would first be taken to task for her poor English pronunciation. Then there's something very . . . yes, odd . . . about her voice. OK, she's an obvious alto, with a poor control of her break. And her intonation is weird . . . her 'placement' is very strange.
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Love this album. Highly recommended.

Why do you recommend it?
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Elvis Presley, his first album (March 1956)
That is one righteous album.
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