Sunday, 13 January 2019

Chicago - Chicago VI (1973)


  

Released June 1973

Recorded in Colorado

This is the first Chicago album to really move away from the extended jazz/rock/funk fusion workouts that so characterised their first three (double) albums. The album was much shorter, as were the songs - polished, finely created and more poppy. This was where Chicago crossed over into the mainstream with an album of perfectly crafted light, AOR-style pop/rock. It is a most appealing album and it still contains that trademark brass sound, together with those beautiful bass lines for which they had become known.

TRACK LISTING

1. Critics' Choice
2. Just You 'N' Me
3. Darlin' Dear
4. Jenny
5. What's The World Comin' To
6. Something In This City Changes People
7. Hollywood
8. In Terms Of Two
9. Rediscovery
10. Feelin' Stronger Every Day

"Critics' Choice" is a stark, piano and vocal ballad taking a swipe at negative music media critical assessment. It is all done in a polite, classy manner, though, as befits the group. "Just You 'N' Me" is a beautiful, soulful number, with a captivating melody, great vocal and sublime bass sound. It also features some lovely saxophone. "Darlin' Dear" is a slightly swampy-sounding blues rock number, that sounds a lot like Little Feat. Some searing guitar kicks in half way through. "Jenny" is marvellously soulful, with a deep, emotive vocal and some infectious percussion/cymbal work from new percussionist Laudir De Oliveira.

"What's The World Comin' To" showed that they hadn't left brass-driven funk behind either, with an energetic, cookin' track that featured horns turned up to the max. Great stuff. "Something In The City Changes People" is an America-influenced harmonious vocal and subtle bass number, with that airy breeziness that was all over mid-seventies folk/rock, of which this had lots of hints of. It seems to suit the recording location of Colorado's Rocky Mountains. "Hollywood" is a laid-back, beautifully jazzy Steely Dan-style track.

"In Terms Of Two" is a spirited song, introduced by some vigorous harmonica and more Steely Dan-esque vocals, sort of like Steely Dan meets CSNY. It is nothing like anything Chicago had done before. "Rediscovery" is a deep, rich soulful Al Green-ish soul/jazz number. Some funky wah-wah guitar enhances the track too. A really great groove to this one, very funky. The album ends with a track more typical of the "new" Chicago, the AOR strains of "Feelin' Stronger Every Day". It does feature some decidedly glam-rock riffage at one point, though.

A most enjoyable album. Chicago really were a good group, and far more credible than they are often given credit for.

B+

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