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Chicago II [Bonus Tracks]

Chicago II [Bonus Tracks]

4.6 9
by Chicago

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The Chicago Transit Authority recorded this double-barreled follow-up to their eponymously titled 1969 debut effort. The contents of Chicago II (1970) underscore the solid foundation of complex jazz changes with heavy electric rock & roll that the band so brazenly forged on the first set. The septet also continued its ability to


The Chicago Transit Authority recorded this double-barreled follow-up to their eponymously titled 1969 debut effort. The contents of Chicago II (1970) underscore the solid foundation of complex jazz changes with heavy electric rock & roll that the band so brazenly forged on the first set. The septet also continued its ability to blend the seemingly divergent musical styles into some of the best and most effective pop music of the era. One thing that had changed was the band's name, which was shortened to simply Chicago to avoid any potential litigious situations from the city of Chicago's transportation department -- which claimed the name as proprietary property. Musically, James Pankow (trombone) was about to further cross-pollinate the band's sound with the multifaceted six-song "Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon." The classically inspired suite also garnered the band two of its most beloved hits -- the upbeat pop opener "Make Me Smile" as well as the achingly poignant "Color My World" -- both of which remained at the center of the group's live sets. Chicago had certainly not abandoned its active pursuit of blending high-octane electric rockers such as "25 or 6 to 4" to the progressive jazz inflections heard in the breezy syncopation of "The Road." Adding further depth of field is the darker "Poem for the People" as well as the politically charged five-song set titled "It Better End Soon." These selections feature the band driving home its formidable musicality and uncanny ability to coalesce styles telepathically and at a moment's notice. The contributions of Terry Kath (guitar/vocals) stand out as he unleashes some of his most pungent and sinuous leads, which contrast with the tight brass and woodwind trio of Lee Loughnane (trumpet/vocals), Walter Parazaider (woodwinds/vocals), and the aforementioned Pankow. Peter Cetera (bass/vocals) also marks his songwriting debut -- on the final cut of both the suite and the album -- with "Where Do We Go from Here." It bookends both with at the very least the anticipation and projection of a positive and optimistic future. Potential consumers should note the unsurpassed sound quality and deluxe packaging of the 2002 CD remaster.

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Chicago   Primary Artist
Robert Lamm   Keyboards,Vocals
Peter Cetera   Bass,Vocals
Terry Kath   Guitar,Vocals
Lee Loughnane   Trumpet,Vocals
James Pankow   Trombone
Walter Parazaider   Vocals,Woodwind
Daniel Seraphine   Drums

Technical Credits

Peter Matz   Orchestration
James William Guercio   Producer
Chris Hinshaw   Engineer
Brian Ross-Myring   Engineer
Don Puluse   Engineer
David Wild   Liner Notes
John Berg   Cover Design
Maria Villar   Art Direction
Steven Chean   Editorial Research
Tim Scanlin   Liner Note Coordination
Peter Katz   Composer

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Chicago II [Bonus Tracks] 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In 1968 Jimi Hendrix released the biggest album of the year, Are You Experienced? and changed music forever. When he toured, he invited a band from the windy city to open for him on tour. He told them that their horn section sounded like it had one set of lungs and that their guitarist was better than he was. I doubt that seven young men who had moved recently to LA could have asked for a bigger compliment or endorsement. They wanted to be the Beatles with horns, and in many ways they succeeded. They were Chicago. They had it all—the counterculture anger, rock credibility, and pop success. Until the tragic death of Terry Kath in 1978, they were one of the biggest bands in history. They continue performing and recording to this day, but the great compositions and commercial success of this album marked it as an early peak. It is all the more amazing considering that they toured constantly in those early years. The side-long protest to the Viet Nam conflict It Better End Soon showed where they stood on the revolutionary political spirit of the time, the Ballet for a Girl in Buchanan bared the happiness of a young man in love, Memories of Love is a mix of soul singing and classical ensemble which outdid the Moody Blues, and Colour My World was played at every prom of the decade. All in one album! Horns have always been part of rock, but usually in minimal roles to add spice to the rest of the band, peaking with the Memphis Horns and other great players in soul bands. The brass role was very limited and defined. But this band’s horns were a separate voice. No simple eighth-note pops and bursts, but complex counterpoints that made the songs completely rock. I have often thought that the reason why Peter Cetera succeeded as the best-known vocalist in the band is that his voice actually sounds brassy, just like a horn, and when they soared together, the sound was unlike any other band before or since, leaving bands like Blood, Sweat, & Tears in the dust and making other fine hornsmen like Chuck Mangione seem vanilla. But maybe that is an unfair comparison, since he did not have guitar virtuoso in his band! The horns were only part of the appeal. Three excellent singers, Robert Lamm (smooth), Terry Kath (soulful) and Peter Cetera (soaring) sometimes confused listeners who were used to just listening for a voice to identify the band. Cetera was also an excellent bassist, and Kath was indeed as good as any guitarist in rock, though he was content to be part of a great ensemble instead of leading a small combo and this partly explains his lack of appropriate fame. Trombonist James Pankow arranged the excellent horn lines and also wrote many early hits including the “Ballet for a Girl in Buchanan” from this album, a tour de force of brass bouquets, colored worlds, and 70’s smiles. While their innovative debut Chicago Transit Authority was only an underground success, their second album exploded behind the singles Make Me Smile, Colour My World, and 25 or 6 to 4. This album showed the full spectrum of sounds they were capable of with their conservatory training and strong anti-establishment colors showing. In fact, if you have not heard CTA and Chicago (II) all the way through, you really don’t know the band at all. Unlike many other great bands, their masterpieces came very early. They were able to make innovative records which were also hugely successful in commercial terms. Only two albums outsold this one in 1970: Bridge Over Troubled Waters and Led Zeppelin II. It even outsold Abbey Road. The best Chicago songs usually meshed several talents into their unmistakable sound. For example, Color My World was written by trombonist James Pankow, sung by guitarist Terry Kath, and features Walt Parazaider’s flute solo that is emulated by every young flautist on the planet. 25 or 6 to 4 was written by keyboardist Robert Lamm but is sung by bass
ewokscw More than 1 year ago
WRN More than 1 year ago
Nice Brass, of course.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Chicago answered that question on this album by taking their music in a more pop direction. Sure, there are still many progressive moments, but the band blend them with some of their best remembered melodies. Their style of progressive pop is pretty much perfected on the "Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon" suite. It's one of their most popular albums and it's not hard to see why. A must for fans of early Chicago.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the best rockers ever! The best song are: Make Me Smile, 25 Or 6 To 4, & Colour My World. Buy It!
Guest More than 1 year ago
As good as the Joe Gastwirt mastered original CD was, and it WAS good, this remastered version is even better. This album and "CTA" were the best Chicago recorded. Buy this. You won't be disappointed.
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