November 15, 2013

101 Reel-To-Reel Tapes 25: Chicago III

album detail photo by Styrous®

In addition to my vinyl collection I'm selling, I have hundreds of reel-to-reel, pre-recorded tapes I'm selling. This is an entry about the Chicago III reel-to-reel tape which was for sale on eBay (see link below for others). I have the vinyl LP version as well. Interested? Contact me by email, please, not by a comment.

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Chicago was formed in 1967 in Chicago, Illinois. The group had hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Only The Beach Boys beat them out for the number one spot for Billboard singles and albums chart success. They have had five number-one albums and 21 top-ten singles. Chicago is one of the longest-running and most successful rock groups in history with their signature brass sound.

Originally they called themselves, The Chicago Transit Authority, but when the actual Chicago Transit Authority threatened legal action soon after they released their first self-titled album, the band's name was shortened to Chicago (a pretty good move, it seems to me, as the former name was a bit unwieldy).

Chicago III was a studio album released in 1971. It is a mixture of jazz, rock, funk, country and experimentation; it was produced by James William Guercio. The principal songwriters were, Robert Lamm, Terry Kath and James Pankow. It was less brassier and it had a more serious tone than their first two albums; it was conceived during a grueling road tour. Lamm documented the homesickness he felt on the tour in the Travel Suite; the Free Country section of which is fantastic.

The hesitant, dissonant piano of Free Country from the Travel Suite could have been written by Schoenberg but a beautiful flute enters to lighten up the scene temporarily until it too gets a bit quirky when it goes into a great slow and very quietly trippy duet with the piano after which a trio ensues when a harp joins in supported by miscellaneous percusson instruments. At the end, the flute goes off into an echoey, trippy feeling reminiscent of 1977's, Another Green World by Stan Getz, which was to follow six years later. Great stuff here.

The Motorboat To Mars section of the Travel Suite is a drum solo that is short (1:30 seconds) but sweet.

The Happy 'Cause I'm Going Home ending piece from the Travel Suite reflects the joy of having the grueling tour finally over.  The flute playing by Walter Parazaider is sublime jazz at its very best.
Progress, is another experimental piece on the album with its dissonant brass, jackhammer and city sounds; no dance song here but it's pretty interesting to listen to.
Loneliness Is Just A Word, with the group's signature brassy sound, is a syncopated jazz-waltz that merrily bounces along with the vocal of lead singer, Peter Cetera.

Lowdown is a gentle kind of rock-samba that is nice for up close dancing even though the lyrics are not romantic.  Some great instrumental breaks on it.

Sing A Mean Tune Kid is out 'n out jazz-funk, whereas, I Don't Want Your Money is that but has a more rock feel to it.

Once Upon A Time... is a quiet and beautiful intrumental featuring Walter Parazaider on flute again with brass backup.

Near the bottom of this post there are links to the songs mentioned on YouTube so you can hear them for yourself, if you'd like.

Chicago III
photo by Styrous®

Chicago III
cover back
photo by Styrous®

Chicago III
reel-to-reel tape
photo by Styrous®

Chicago III
reel-to-reel label detail
detail photo by Styrous®

Track Listing:

Side 1:

1. Sing A Mean Tune Kid - 9:13
2. Loneliness Is Just A Word - 2:36
3. What Else Can I Say - 3:12
4. I Don't Want Your Money - 4:47
5. Travel Suite - 22:30
   a. Flight 602
   b. Motorboat To Mars
   c. Free
   d. Free Country
   e. At The Sunrise
   f. Happy 'Cause I'm Going Home

Side 2:

1. Mother - 4:30
2. Lowdown - 3:35
3. An Hour In The Shower - 5:30
   a. A Hard Risin' Morning Without Breakfast
   b. Off To Work
   c. Fallin' Out
   d. Dreamin' Home
   e. Morning Blues Again
4. Elegy - 15:27
   a. When All The Laughter Dies In Sorrow
   b. Canon
   c. Once Upon A Time...
   d. Progress?
   e. The Approaching Storm
   f. "Man vs. Man: The End"

Total Time 71:29


Peter Cetera - bass and vocals
Terry Kath - guitars and vocals
Robert Lamm - keyboard and vocals
Lee Loughnane - trumpet
James Pankow - trombone
Walter Parazaider - woodwinds
Danny Seraphine - drums

Music links:

Travel Suite:
Free Country on YouTube
The Motorboat To Mars on YouTube
The Happy 'Cause I'm Going Home on YouTube

Loneliness Is Just A Word on YouTube
Progress on YouTube
Lowdown on YouTube
Sing A Mean Tune Kid on YouTube

reel-to-reel listings on eBay

more reel-to-reel tapes on the Styrous® Viewfinder:
                                             reel-to-reel tape archive

~ Friday, November 15, 2013

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