II Original recording reissued
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Top Customer Reviews
Rhino is in the process of remastering Chicago's catalogue, and on this issue, they have included two bonus tracks, the single versions of "Make Me Smile," and "25 or 6 to 4." They also did a very nice job with the packaging, adding a 16-page booklet with commentary by the band and some rare photos. Highly recommended.
I think that all of the albums from this period had distinct personalities and this one seemed to me to be the most classically influenced. Of course, this was big band style jazz rock (with an emphasis on the rock), punctuated by Terry Kath's searing guitar work, and blasts from the horns, so using terms like classical to describe this music might be a bit of a stretch. However, some of the pieces have classical overtones - the intro to Poem for the People and the obvious choice Prelude/AM Mourning/PM Mourning, which is a classical piece through and through (that borders on modern classical at points). There is also the presence of very sophisticated and lengthy multi-movement suites (Ballet for a Girl in Buchanan; It Better End Soon). In fact, upon reading through the liner notes, it became clear to me that the guys were very interested in writing "serious" pieces that followed in the style of the famous classical composers - for example, Walter Pankow had been listening to Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, which inspired his beautiful piece Colour My World. Certainly, efforts like these were being undertaken in England by a number of rock groups, yet with much different results.
All of the guys in Chicago were incredible musicians and the ensemble work on the album Chicago (I am resisting the impulse to call this Chicago II, although that is what I used to think of it as) is just phenomenal. The guys knew how to really COMPOSE a proper piece of music.Read more ›
But Chicago I (actually "Chicago Transit Authority") and Chicago II (actually named just "Chicago") are both rock masterpieces, blending rock and horn driven jazz into a perfect union. "CTA" is a pure rock album, with a dominating base line, somewhat distorted guitar, some really great drum work, with the horns being used for ambience like a synthesizer or for punctuation.
With Chicago II, the band shows amazing growth as composers and musicians. The horns and woodwinds are allowed to take the lead, the music is easier listening, and the band braves soft rock classis such as "Colour My World" and "Wake Up Sunshine," and the jazzy "Fancy Colours." But, the album also contains some great rock, including the FM/AOR staple "25 Or 6 To 4."
Unlike many albums, this album is not simply a collection of singles, and contains three extended suites, including two with titles, "Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon" and "It Better End Soon," and one group of songs including "Prelude," "AM Mourning," "PM Mourning," and Memories of Love." Each is in a very different style. The "Ballet" is the best known section, containing mostly soft rock ballads of the type which would become Chicago's forte in later albums.Read more ›
In some ways this album shows a dichotomy in musical styles. Portions of the album are constructed as progressive rock. Other portions are pop or rock and jazz combinations. Some are nearly classical. Some reviews of the album hint at this dichotomy by noting what the reviewers consider to be unlistenable portions of the album. It is interesting to note that depending on the style of music the reviewer prefers, the portions considered unlistenable by different reviewers may be exactly opposite from each other.
The CD pulls together the two albums that originally made Chicago II. Additionally, the singles versions of "Make Me Smile" and "24 or 6 to 4" are added as bonus tracks. There are two groupings of tracks that make suites. Tracks 6 through 12 are part of "Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon", and tracks 19 through 23 make up "It Better End Soon". There are five additional tracks leading up to the first suite, and six tracks between the two suites.
The five introductory tracks are blues-flavored rock. The fourth track, "In the Country", may remind some listeners of Three Dog Night. The other tracks in this group have the brass-flavored sound of "Chicago Transit Authority", but muted somewhat in comparison to the former album.
The first suite is a concept album, or side from the days of vinyl. Out of this suite came two singles, "Make Me Smile", which peaked at #9, and "Colour My World", for which I do not have a peak chart position.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Chicago II is one of the band's best from the 70's. This album, along with CTA, established a foundation that the band built upon with so many great follow-on LP's. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Frederick Larson
I'd heard "Make Me Smile" on the radio, which consisted of an edit also including "More Than Ever". Read morePublished 2 months ago by R. L. MILLER
Great album by one of the best "rock-and-roll"* bands ever, from their early, inventive, and imaginative years before the several changes in the group's composition. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Paul North
What a HORRIBLE SOUNDING product !!!! This old favorite album (their childish political views aside) sounds just awful with this release. Read morePublished 4 months ago by ZAHZAH