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70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beginnings
Chicago are one of the biggest-selling bands of all time in the U.S.A. Over here, they are known, if at all, for laid-back softrock balladry, but their true voice was in the way they started out, as a big-band power rock outfit.
This is the debut album of Chicago. Originally they called themselves "Chicago Transit Authority" but the real CTA, fearing possible...
Published on 10 Feb. 2003 by sweetalkinguy@aol.com

versus
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Memories of the cover picture led me to buy this
It was memories of the cover picture that led me to buy this. All those years back and I have fond memories of those days. The content, however, does not have the same effect on me, and it was not as exciting as I was expecting it to be, and did seem somewhat dated with the first few tracks. However, the album improves as it progresses. Not a bad buy, but perhaps I...
Published 23 months ago by Myles Needham


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70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beginnings, 10 Feb. 2003
This review is from: Chicago Transit Authority (Audio CD)
Chicago are one of the biggest-selling bands of all time in the U.S.A. Over here, they are known, if at all, for laid-back softrock balladry, but their true voice was in the way they started out, as a big-band power rock outfit.
This is the debut album of Chicago. Originally they called themselves "Chicago Transit Authority" but the real CTA, fearing possible confusion, ordered them to change the name. Well, just think now, if you called your band "London Transport", Ken Livingstone would not be best pleased, would he?
A very impressive debut it was too. Chicago leap from the traps kicking buttock like they mean business. It is obvious that this band was well organised and preceded their recording debut by playing lots of gigs. They are crisp, sharp, together and playing off each other. It is music-making of high standard, confident, brash and assertive.
At the time, Chicago were lumped together with Blood Sweat and Tears as "jazz-rock". This was not a valid comparison. Wheras BS&T really were jazzers, stretching out the frontiers in musical forms, Chicago were more akin to the Memphis Horns brand of soul music. It was power-rock with the drive and much of the melody coming from instruments other than guitars and keyboards.
Chicago were also considered bombastic ego-trippers, self-indulgently over-reaching themselves both in style and content. Verily, their first three albums were all doubles not lacking padding, and when it came to their "double live", sure enough Chicago IV was a four-record box set. But to my mind there was nothing in the field of rock music quite like early Chicago at their best. The sound, the style, the music were all distinctive and unique. It was an outstanding production job by James William Guercio.
Back in 1970, this was one of the very first records I bought. I still think it is one of the best. Nothing can match the kick as it bursts into life with Introduction. Thrill to the zap of I'm a Man. But be prepared for amazement at the audacity of Prologue and Someday, which took newsreel soundtrack from the street demos in Mayor Daley's Chicago during the notorious Democratic Party Convention in 1968 and welds it into one of the most truly powerful political statements in rock music. It still sounds awesome today, even when integrating noise, sound and speech into purportedly musical tracks is commonplace.
This album is well worth seeking out. There are few debut albums with so much good music and superlative musicianship. Catch Chicago when they were still an innovative cutting-edge outfit.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Listen (tr 5), 30 May 2010
This review is from: Chicago Transit Authority (Audio CD)
If you like powerhouse rock, featuring brass and keyboards as well as guitars and drums etc, played by gifted musicians and vocalists and have never heard the Chicago Transit Authority, you are in for a treat. Tracks 1 to 6 are exquisitly crafted songs with perfectly executed and timed layers of vocals, guitars, percussion and brass. Track 7 may be technically clever but, imho, is not in keeping with the previous tracks and is best passed over - but hey, you may disagree with me and find you love it! Tracks 8 & 9 bring the album back into line, followed by 10 and 11 which include recorded extracts from a civil rights protest - sits slightly odd now but possibly relevant in 1968 and, obviously, important to the band at the time. (Track 11 actually turns out to be quite good.) The album closes with a 14 minute jazz/rock improvisation. Although the album is over 40 years old, it still sounds to me as fresh and vital as it did when I first bought it in vinyl back in 1970.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing debut album, 21 Mar. 2008
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This review is from: Chicago Transit Authority (Audio CD)
There was clearly so much talent in this band that the first album they produced is, at times, a bit too much. They almost 'over egg the pudding'. But the horn section is so tight, the guitar playing so good (even Jimi Hendrix said that Terry Kath was a better player than him!) that the music is a revelation, especially if your musical tastes don't stray further back than the 80's. There are lengthy guitar, piano and horn solos which allow the players to show the listener what they've got.
This album dates itself unapologetically with it's hippy lyrics and right on protest songs. But, in my opinion it's none the worse for that. It harks back to a time when bands were willing and able to say what they thought, unlike the corporate puppets of todays music scene (apart from Neil Young and a few notable others). In summary, its a long, challenging album, but remains an original masterpiece.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...You Can Smile..." - Chicago Transit Authority by CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY (2002 Rhino CD Remaster), 16 Sept. 2014
By 
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Chicago Transit Authority (Audio CD)
Before they became the slick 'lurve' song unit of the mid to late Seventies (voiced exclusively by Bassist and Lead Vocalist Peter Cetera) - CHICAGO used to call themselves the all-together cooler CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY - and that's where this hip little CD reissue comes in.

Released July 2002 on Warner Strategic Marketing/Rhino 822-76171-2 (Barcode 081227617127) - the 12-tracks on here are a straightforward remaster of their debut "Chicago Transit Authority" - a double-album released in the USA April 1969 on Columbia GP-8 and September 1969 in the UK on CBS Records S 66221.

The gatefold card digipak repros the inner gatefold of the original American double-album - while the nicely laid out 16-page booklet has detailed liner notes by Rolling Stone's one-time editor DAVID WILD. There are a few publicity photos and a great colour repro of a 'Fillmore West' poster with the Windy City's finest proudly supporting The Moody Blues. This CD is like the Yes issues of "Fragile" and "Close To The Edge" by Rhino in that it also comes in a fetching card slipcase. But the best news is the superb DAVID DONNELLY remaster - giving the brass of JAMES PANKOW and LEE LOUGHNANE real prominence and clarity. This is a fantastic sounding CD - full of life and punch.

With Peter Cetera's voice now so synonymous with the band's sound - it's almost disconcerting to hear both Robert Lamm and Terry Kath as lead vocalists. After the brassy Rock'n'Roll of "Introduction" we get the excellent proper songs "Does Anybody Know What Time It Is?" and "Beginnings". Cetera arrives on "Questions 67 and 68" while "Listen" is frankly a bit of a Sixties mini-masterpiece (lyrics above). I can frankly live without the guitar workouts that are "Poem 58" and "Free Form Guitar" - but I've always loved their fabulously funky-rock cover of the Spencer Davis/Steve Winwood classic "I'm A Man". What a winner- and a damn shame the rare 7" single edit of it isn't included as a bonus track (see Niggles below). Politics and courage come into the fore with "Prologue" and "Someday" complete with their protesting student chants - while the fourteen and half minute "Liberation" instrumental became a Jimi Hendrix meets Blood, Sweat & Tears showstopper at gigs.

Niggles - with a total playing time of 76:36 minutes - it's frustrating that time constrictions disallowed the inclusion of no less than SIX seven-inch single 'edits' that came off the album - they are:
1. "Questions 67 And 68" b/w "Listen" on Columbia 4-44909 (June 1969)
2. "Beginnings" b/w "Poem 58" on Columbia 4-45011 (October 1969)
3. "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" b/w "Listen" on Columbia 4-45264 (November 1970)
4. "Beginnings" b/w "Colour My World" on Columbia 4-45417 (June 1971)
5. ""Questions 67 And 68" b/w "I'm A Man" on Columbia 4-45467 (September 1971)

For 4 above you can get "Colour My World" on the CD reissue/remaster of their 2nd album simply called "Chicago" (on WSM/Rhino 8122-76172-2) which has two bonus tracks - the single edits of the big hits "Make Me Smile" and "25 Or 6 To 4". Some of the other single edits are available on the July 2002 "Very Best Of" double-CD compilation.

Live and in your studio face - their 2nd and third albums were just as good - but "Chicago Transit Authority" has a freshness and vitality about it (despite their acknowledged lack of recording experience) that is still kicking to this day. A very cool CD remaster really...and nicely presented too...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MASTERPIECE. DON'T READ REVIEWS,USE YOUR OWN EARS,MAKE UP YOUR OWN MIND., 18 Aug. 2014
By 
Mr. Leslie J. Moore (It's grim oop North! -Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Chicago Transit Authority (Audio CD)
A Blast from the past. I played this (as an LP) a lot of years ago. Never thought I would be able to buy it on CD. In my early years,as I say, I played this incessantly,as you did in those days. Surprise,surprise, I knew every note when I played the CD.This is the Chicago that I knew,not the current version. One of the top 3 all time biggest selling bands. I doubt that this would ever be recorded today. They went into the studio and pretty much,just laid down these tracks just as they wanted them to be. Generally described as "brass rock" by people who like to have labels on music, this is the definitive sound of a band of misicians on top of their game,doing something they obviously love. Track length varies,depending on how the mood takes them.
Anyhow, I would just say Listen, with your ears, to a masterpiece. Overstating the case? I don't think so.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beginnings, 7 Jan. 2001
This review is from: Transit Authority (Audio CD)
Chicago are one of the biggest-selling bands of all time in the U.S.A. Over here, they are known, if at all, for laid-back softrock balladry, but their true voice was in the way they started out, as a big-band power rock outfit.
This is the debut album of Chicago. Originally they called themselves "Chicago Transit Authority" but the real CTA, fearing possible confusion, ordered them to change the name. Well, just think now, if you called your band "London Transport", Ken Livingstone would not be best pleased, would he?
A very impressive debut it was too. Chicago leap from the traps kicking buttock like they mean business. It is obvious that this band was well organised and preceded their recording debut by playing lots of gigs. They are crisp, sharp, together and playing off each other. It is music-making of high standard, confident, brash and assertive.
At the time, Chicago were lumped together with Blood Sweat and Tears as "jazz-rock". This was not a valid comparison. Wheras BS&T really were jazzers, stretching out the frontiers in musical forms, Chicago were more akin to the Memphis Horns brand of soul music. It was power-rock with the drive and much of the melody coming from instruments other than guitars and keyboards.
Chicago were also considered bombastic ego-trippers, self-indulgently over-reaching themselves both in style and content. Verily, their first three albums were all doubles not lacking padding, and when it came to their "double live", sure enough Chicago IV was a four-record box set. But to my mind there was nothing in the field of rock music quite like early Chicago at their best. The sound, the style, the music were all distinctive and unique. It was an outstanding production job by James William Guercio.
Back in 1970, this was one of the very first records I bought. I still think it is one of the best. Nothing can match the kick as it bursts into life with Introduction. Thrill to the zap of I'm a Man. But be prepared for amazement at the audacity of Prologue and Someday, which took newsreel soundtrack from the street demos in Mayor Daley's Chicago during the notorious Democratic Party Convention in 1968 and welds it into one of the most truly powerful political statements in rock music. It still sounds awesome today, even when integrating noise, sound and speech into purportedly musical tracks is commonplace.
This album is well worth seeking out. There are few debut albums with so much good music and superlative musicianship. Catch Chicago when they were still an innovative cutting-edge outfit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive..., 6 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: Chicago Transit Authority (Audio CD)
...that's the first word that comes to mind when listening to these virtuoso musos. This one will definitely divide opinion, and all the better for it. From the opening song (the wonderful "Introduction") we're transported back to a time when bands were allowed, nay encouraged to go the extra mile. Take the 15 minute closer "Liberation" and you'll get my drift. Some havn't aged particularly well (the mis-guided "Free-Form Guitar" comes across as an attempt of aping Jimi Hendrix) Still though there's much to enjoy on this (originally double) album, like the pop-tastic "Listen" and the horn-led "Questions 67 & 68". Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kath is a Guitar God, 6 Jan. 2012
By 
This review is from: Chicago Transit Authority (Audio CD)
Can't any much more - it's already been said ... except budding guitarists listen to the very short solo on 'Listen' - gets me every time - even Hendrix would have killed for that one ..
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Engaging Album, 30 May 2014
By 
Mr. Peter Steward "petersteward" (Norwich, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Chicago Transit Authority (Audio CD)
This debut album from Chicago couldn't have been easy listening back in 1969, but that's exactly what makes it so engaging and the fact it was so successful speaks volumes for the style of pomp rock that was around over 40 years ago. So many styles are encompassed here from rock and blues to a pounding brass beat that gave the band such an original sound. You don't have to look any further to the bombastic blowout of Poem 58 with its Hendrix overtones encompassed in a brass casing - this was heavy and heady stuff for a niche market.

This was certainly music for the Woodstock generation and today has probably as much curio as musical value although Questions 67 and 68 remains one of my favourite pieces by the band. In many ways for a debut album this was stunning in a preposterous kind of way - even at times managing to sound like an American Emerson, Lake and Palmer (just listen to Free Form Guitar to see what I mean - it approaches train wreck intensity). If this kind of album was put out today (and I guess Mars Volta get somewhere close at times) it would be viewed as rather pretentious but also slightly mind blowing).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, 5 Feb. 2013
By 
S. Lebeter (Blackpool, Lancashire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chicago Transit Authority (Audio CD)
I had this on an LP over 40 years ago and only recently heard a couple of songs on the radio from it, this brought back a lot of memories and so had to have it again, I bought the cd on nostalgia only and is just as I remember it, wonderful
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