Have to admit, I hated most of this album when I first heard it many years ago, but recent interest in the band prompted a re-listen of some of the tracks and then a purchase of this Rhino reissue. It grows on you and is a testament to Robert Lamm that 8/10 original songs were his own. The other two tracks were written by James Pankow and Terry Kath with no Peter Cetera tracks in sight! First up it's the jazzy `A hit for Varese'. The sleeve notes explain the rather odd title. It's a Lamm sung feast of brass, minor sounding chords and little guitar in evidence. The second track `All is well' is much more soothing, Lamm and Cetera share lead vocals with more brassy accompaniment. The James Pankow song `Now that you've gone' is sung by Terry Kath (and a later verse by Cetera) in his earthy style although as with `Varese' it's predominantly a brassy instrumental. Dialogue Parts 1&2 is wonderful. Great intro with Cetera's bass very much to the fore, it's definitely two songs linked together with a common theme. Part 1 sees `naive' Cetera playing the college student `talking' to Kath who urges him to consider all the things wrong in the world and do something about it. Part 2 sees the band repeating the line `we can change the world, we can make it happen'. A minor single chart entry this in the US, it's probably not single material but a great album track. Off to what was side 2 of the original record and `While the City sleeps' is a lively prelude. The superb `Saturday in the Park' follows next, surely one of Lamms greatest tunes telling of the wonders of going to the Park on the 4th of July. You can picture the scene of hot sunshine, celebration, excitement and everyone enjoying a day off work. The song was Chicago's biggest US chart hit at the time reaching number 3. I've not heard `Black and white' by Three Dog Night and `Baby don't get me hooked' by Mac Davis, but they must have been damn good songs to stop this reaching the top spot. `State of the Union' follows with some aggressive vocals from Cetera and Kath's guitar more in evidence than elsewhere. The fade out on this track seems never ending! `Goodbye' is more Cetera singing and a gentler song with lots of brass. Last up is Kath's `Alma Mater' and it's a tuneful, acoustic sing-along close to the album in a laid back style. The first bonus track `A Song for Richard and his friends' knocks you for six. Kath's guitar, buried for most of the original album cuts loose here with some very Hendrix like bursts. This leads into the riff based main sections of the song (devoid of vocals). It's difficult to give a full appreciation of the track in this form (I believe it was about Richard Nixon) but it's certainly a worthwhile bonus eight minutes. Second bonus is an early, longer version of `Mississippi Delta Blues' later on Chicago Xi. Nice riffs and vocals from Terry Kath on his own song. Last bonus track is a shorter version of `Dialogue' as released as a single. Verdict: Glad I went back for a second listen!
this is very good,and i found the service from amazon to be excellent as usual.the sound on the dvd audio is very good and i enjoyed iistening to the dvd very much.i have seen chicago in concert and this dvd audio is worth getting i feel.
I came to Chicago late, and thus seem to be that rare beast that quite likes both their earlier and later music. But clearly their early stuff is the more powerful. The political content of these early works is what makes them stand out. It is perhaps no coincidence that their musical 'decline'/'change of direction' coincided with the end of the Vietnam war and the departure of Richard Nixon.
Chicago V is the last of the great Chicago albums. To me it is almost up there with the utterly brilliant Chicago Transit Authority. My particular favourite is 'Dialogue'. Basically a song about the need to take action against injustice. It's a shame that this is probably the last of their great radical songs.
Sounds better than ever. A great transfer of a great collection. I believe Kind of Blue was Miles Davis' experiments on the number two. check through the themes and changes. and this collection has a theme of three - often in juxtaposition with four!
I second everything Martin Warminger says about this album but, unlike him, I have the DVD-Audio version in question here, and want to let anyone thinking of buying it know that it is jaw-droppingly good. I have at least 150 albums in DVD-Audio and SACD format, and this is unhesitatingly one of the top five, if not the first, I'd play to anyone as a demonstration of the joys of high-res surround music. You can play this to people who loathe Chicago, and they will universally react with a stunned "Wow!" - in a good way.
I wasn't a Chicago fan myself when I bought this - too many bad memories of 'If You're Leaving Me Now' at school discos - but my curiosity was piqued by a comment from a fan of their early years and I was looking for high res discs to buy. 'Chicago V' floored me right from the first play. 'Now That You've Gone' is the highlight for me, 'State Of The Union' is great, the opening bars of 'Dialogue' (where the instruments come in one-by-one) always makes me smile with delight and the rest is far from shabby. The music is stunning of course, but the sound! My god! It's a combination of the 96 kHz/24-bit resolution with the quality of the original production and the thunderous, tribal horn and rhythm sections on the album. To quote a line from Asterix: "Look Out! They've got elephants!"
In short, if you have a system capable of doing justice to a DVD-Audio surround disc, and the faintest fondest for Chicago, you have to get this!
When Chicago's albums were first issued on vinyl, this was number five in the series, but it was their first-ever single album, following three doubles and a live quadruple! And it is arguably their best. Despite a career stretching out over twenty plus albums and thirty odd years, this is probably the apex of a creative trajectory that started high, remained high but peaked here before the slow descent into MOR.
All the characteristics of their earlier works are here, the complex brass arrangements, the political statements and extended instrumental interludes but in the context of this album, they are distilled into a more concentrated whole where there is virtually not a dull moment. The only aspect really missing from the previous sprawling double albums is Terry Kath's rampaging guitar, which has no room to stretch out. Instead we are treated to some tight rhythm work and flashes of those liquid runs as a tantalising taster.
More than anything, this is songwriter Robert Lamm's finest hour. Eight of the ten songs are his and what an exemplary lot they are from the jazz of `A Hit by Varese' and `Goodbye' to the funk of `State of the Union' and the pop of `Saturday in the Park'. James Pankow's brass arrangements are fabulously rumbustous and atonal to suit and Peter Cetera shows once again what a massively talented bass player he is - a fact most people ignore in the glare of his later period balladeering.
The sound quality is brilliant - brass recordings on vinyl tend to end up a screechy mess as the grooves deteriorate but this digital re-mastered version reinstates the proper sound balance. Frankly, I'm not a fan of bonus tracks as they tend to detract from the original running order but they are here for completists only.
In summary, this is an album where the undoubted dexterity of the playing from all quarters meets a bunch of quality songs and produces a result that satisfies both the head and the heart.