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<br>Chicago - Chicago Transit Authority<p>Our Shootout Winner for 2008</p>




Chicago - Chicago Transit Authority

Our Shootout Winner for 2008


A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame and another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

This is the BEST SOUNDING CHICAGO RECORD we have EVER heard, and that includes not just this first album, but ANY Chicago album. This is the kind of album that most audiophiles would be sorely tempted to give up on. Who can blame them?

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Sku # : chicachica1_2008
Manufacturer : Columbia Records
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The average copy of this album is an unmitigated DISASTER! The smeary brass alone is enough to drive anyone from the room. To a list of its faults you can confidently add some or all of the following: blobby, blurry, out of control bass; opaque veiled mids; rolled off highs, or no highs, whichever the case may be, and common to virtually every pressing you find; plain old distortion; and, last but not least, the kind of compressed, lifeless sound that manages to make this groundbreaking album boring -- and that's not easy to do. This music ROCKS! It's the crappy records Columbia pressed that suck.

But this copy breaks all the rules and SOUNDS AMAZING. Side four is the only one that didn't earn Three Pluses, and it certainly was far better than any other we played, earning two. That eleven pluses, one short of a perfect twelve. Wow! (And side four is the weakest side, so no loss there.)

Huge Sound Can Be Yours!

We love this album here at Better Records. It's amazing that this hard-rockin' band from 1968 could be the same band that gave us "You're The Inspiration" and other power-schlock ballads in the '80s. Have they no shame?

Fortunately this isn't your Mom's Chicago. Here, with their freshman effort, the band stands on the threshold of becoming True Rock Legends. Even today the album still sounds fresh. Who can argue with the brilliance of tracks such as Beginnings, I'm a Man and Questions 67 and 68? This is as good as the band ever got, man! It's all here.

All four sides boast some of the boldest arrangements for a horn-based rock band ever. These boys have no problem standing toe to toe with the likes of Blood Sweat And Tears. If you don't find yourself turning the stereo up during 'Beginnings', this music is not for you. The energy they bring to their cover of Spencer Davis' 'I'm A Man' positively puts the original to shame. They jam its rock and roll groove, then take it places nobody else would even think to go.

Kath's Guitar Wizardry

The late Terry Kath was a Master of the Guitar, way ahead of his time in both songwriting and technique. In a VH1 interview with founding member and horn player Walter Parazaider, the world discovered that none other than Jimi Hendrix was a huge fan of Kath's. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has heard Kath's solos on 'I'm A Man'.

The meaty tone and nuanced texture of his sound is evident all over this album. It's also a precursor to so many other players that followed him in the four decades since his debut, many of whom would be nowhere without his genius.

Peter Cetera, Before Foster's Talons Sank Too Deep

Not many musicians qualify for the list of Most Underrated, but Peter Cetera should be right up at the top. His bass playing alone -- forget his singing, which is as good as any pop singer of his generation -- qualifies him for Most Talented but for some reason Overlooked Musician. The huge bass sound Peter got out of his axe is the meat and potatoes of this album.

Talk about beefy bass; this album is the poster boy for rock solid bottom end. When you have a copy of this album with a hot side three, you have a Rock Bass Demo Disc LP par excellence. (How they managed to get the bass so right and screw so many other things up I will never know. It sounds to me like the bass was mixed in last, after the brass parts were bounced down a generation or two, which is why they can never have the brassy bite of the real thing.)

Again, it's hard to believe this is the same guy that sang and played on 'Hard To Say I'm Sorry'. His jazz-rock chops anchor the rhythm section with the kind of energy a band with as many pieces as this one needs. Chicago boasts seven top players, but Cetera's brilliance cuts through on practically every song. People may not be able to appreciate his playing because they have bad records or bad stereos, but we're here to rectify that situation, as least the record part of it.

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