Chicago Transit Authority

Chicago Transit Authority

4.6 17
by Chicago

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Few debut albums can boast as consistently solid an effort as the self-titled Chicago Transit Authority (1969). Even fewer can claim to have enough material to fill out a double-disc affair. Although this long- player was ultimately the septet's first national exposure, the group was far from the proverbial "overnight sensation." Under the guise of the Big…  See more details below


Few debut albums can boast as consistently solid an effort as the self-titled Chicago Transit Authority (1969). Even fewer can claim to have enough material to fill out a double-disc affair. Although this long- player was ultimately the septet's first national exposure, the group was far from the proverbial "overnight sensation." Under the guise of the Big Thing, the group soon to be known as CTA had been honing its eclectic blend of jazz, classical, and straight-ahead rock & roll in and around the Windy City for several years. Their initial non-musical meeting occurred during a mid-February 1967 confab between the original combo at Walter Parazaider's apartment on the north side of Chi Town. Over a year later, Columbia Records staff producer James Guercio became a key supporter of the group, which he rechristened Chicago Transit Authority. In fairly short order the band relocated to the West Coast and began woodshedding the material that would comprise this title. In April of 1969, the dozen sides of Chicago Transit Authority unleashed a formidable and ultimately American musical experience. This included an unheralded synthesis of electric guitar wailin' rock & roll to more deeply rooted jazz influences and arrangements. This approach economized the finest of what the band had to offer -- actually two highly stylized units that coexisted with remarkable singularity. On the one hand, listeners were presented with an incendiary rock & roll quartet of Terry Kath (lead guitar/vocals), Robert Lamm (keyboards/vocals), Peter Cetera (bass/vocals), and Danny Seraphine (drums). They were augmented by the equally aggressive power brass trio that included Lee Loughnane (trumpet/vocals), James Pankow (trombone), and the aforementioned Parazaider (woodwind/vocals). This fusion of rock with jazz would also yield some memorable pop sides and enthusiasts' favorites as well. Most notably, a quarter of the material on the double album -- "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?," "Beginnings," "Questions 67 and 68," and the only cover on the project, Steve Winwood's "I'm a Man" -- also scored as respective entries on the singles chart. The tight, infectious, and decidedly pop arrangements contrast with the piledriving blues-based rock of "Introduction" and "South California Purples" as well as the 15-plus minute extemporaneous free for all "Liberation." Even farther left of center are the experimental avant-garde "Free Form Guitar" and the politically intoned and emotive "Prologue, August 29, 1968" and "Someday (August 29, 1968)." The 2003 remastered edition of Chicago Transit Authority offers a marked sonic improvement over all previous pressings -- including the pricey gold disc incarnation.

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

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

Technical Credits

Robert Lamm   Composer
Fred Catero   Engineer
James William Guercio   Producer,Liner Notes
James Pankow   Composer,Brass Arrangment
David Wild   Liner Notes
Maria Villar   Art Direction
Steven Chean   Editorial Research
Nick Fasciano   Cover Art
Tim Scanlin   Liner Note Coordination

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Chicago Transit Authority 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
lovetorose More than 1 year ago
1968 7 young men from the chicago area most under the age of 20. came together to record their first lp a double album. with sheer bravado and not catering to any one musical style of the time they created a masterpiece which would kick off one of the logest running musical careers. terry kath's rough full vocals reminiscent of ray charles and joe cocker. robert lamm's smooth baritone. and peter cetera's high tenor creats a multitude of music styles but with the horns and arrangements the album ha s a great cohesive quality to it.
terry kath is one of the most underrated guitar players in rock history. this guy can play. jimi hendrix is even quoted as saying that terry kath is his favorite guitar player " does things i could never imagine even attempting". the songs listen, south california purples, and i'm a man explode with guitar pyrotechnics.
prologue august 29 1968 and someday august 29 1968 include audio from the 68 democratic convention in chicago. " the whole world's watching".
voodudrew More than 1 year ago
Ordered this a while ago and it never shipped. Very disappointed in the service.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The band Chicago now known for the hip-hop sounding fluff and the sappy love songs we've all heard too much, didn't always sound like that. Terry Kath who was one of the founding member of the band was an incredible gifted guitarists and one that Jimi Hendrix himself stated ''was better than me'' This album really showcases Tery Kath's ability to solo for extended periods and yet keep the listener always interested. The 1971 album live at carnegie hall has its moments also. In 1978 Terry died of an self-inflicted accidental gunshot wound to the head. This was a tragic end to a very overlooked and underated musician. If you happen to be a guitarist and are not familiar with Terry Kath I highly reccomend this album. (and if you a new young guitarist, its homework time...)
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is, appropriately enough, the place for a Chicago listener to begin. This music was the cutting edge of it's day. Different than, but as important as, the Stooges or MC5, CTA covered a ton of musical ground combined with a serious political message. This is an album to hear, especially, as mentioned, by musicians. And not just guitarists. All you got to do is listen!
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you like horns you'll love this CD.Chicago was the master of musical quality and perfection.Their timing and presentation are pure magic..Question 67 & 68 is one of the best songs ever recorded.The rest of the CD shows there versitility and exibits musical art at it's it,enjoy it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If ever the music world needed a refreshing sound Chicago provided it with their 1st album. Chicago Transit Authority gave us a blend of jazz , blues and a good feeling about the music that we were listening to.
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 "Chicago II" were the best Chicago recorded. Buy this. You won't be disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a MUST HAVE record. The musicianship and songwriting are superb. You won't be able to hear these songs on the radio so be sure to pick this album up. It is a timeless classic. In a word, it transcends.
Guest More than 1 year ago
"Chicago Transit Authority" is one of the great debut albums in rock n' roll, along with those of Boston or Whitney Houston. It set Chicago on a strong course, yet is diverse enough to leave the band with room for growth. Excellent.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Chicago's first album is in my opinion, their best. It's the edgiest sounding and has so much great guitar work from Terry Kath. It makes you wonder why the band didn't put him more in the forefront in later albums. Nonetheless, Chicago fans will find much to savor here. The album has the progressive stylings and good songwriting that the band is remembered for. A must for Chicago fans.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an ountstanding dubut by one of my favorite bands. Why couldn't be EVERY Chicago album be done like this? Ok, here my favorite parts of the tracks Introduction Hey there everybody Please don't romp or roam We're a little nervous 'Cause we're so far from home So this is what we do Sit back and let us groove And let us work on you The first words of Terry Kath off of that song. 'Nuff said Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?- A dead on classic. The Free Form piano intro and the background vocals make this a classic. Beginnings- Another great classic by Robert Lamm. James and Lee's solos are a killer and the percussion is a nice ending... Questions 67 and 68-The solo Listen- Could be a great opening alternative for Introduction Poem 58- Kath's SMOKIN' solo... all 5 minutes of it Free Form Guitar- Some people can't stand this track but i can... South California Purples- I actually prefer the Carnegie Hall verison but this is just as great. I'm A Man- The way Terry,Robert, and Peter trade off verses and the drum solo Someday- The beat of the track Liberation- ALL OF IT!!!! Despite its long length it totally rocks with yet another rippin solo by Kath.
efudd More than 1 year ago
This is a true classic that I purchased in vinyl about 40 years ago. This has been one of my favorite LP's of all time and I never get tired of listening to it.
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