Monday, 4 June 2018

Chicago - Chicago Transit Authority (1969)

South California purples....


Released April 1969

Recorded at Columbia Studios, New York City


1. Introduction
2. Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is
3. Beginnings
4. Questions 67 and 68
5. Listen
6. Poem 58
7. Freeform Guitar
8. South California Purples
9. I'm A Man
10. Someday
11. Liberation                                      

This is a remarkable debut album from 1969, a really ground-breaking piece of funky jazz rock.The opening “Introduction” is six minutes of upbeat, funky jazz instrumental finished off with some random vocals and “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is” is an exciting, uplifting horn-driven vocal number. “Beginnings” has just a wonderful opening bass line and laid back groove, matched by a soulful vocal. This puts so much musical output from 1968 to shame. It is ten years ahead of its time. The remastered sound is excellent too. Outstanding in fact.

“Questions 67 and 68” is a fast-paced, bass-heavy, punchy brass poppy piece of catchy brilliance that takes your breath away. “Listen” utilises some searing electric guitar in a tune that surely influenced early Santana at times.

“Poem 58” is eight minutes of potent, rumbling and at times incisive piece of guitar-driven funk, but, unfortunately, “Freeform Guitar” is, to be honest, a God-awful racket and sits uncomfortably with the sublime nature of the rest of the album. I have to admit to moving on to the next track, which is another funk ‘n’ horns classic,  “South California Purples”, which samples “I Am The Walrus” at one point. “I’m A Man” is another funked-up delight. Great drums in it too.

“Someday” and “Liberation” end this remarkable debut double album in great vocal, then instrumental style. The latter is probably a minute or two too long, but then again, probably not.

A triumph of an album.


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