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Chicago: Chicago VII (Original CD - US Pressing) CD Track Listing

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Chicago Chicago VII (Original CD - US Pressing) (1974)
Chicago VII (Original CD - US Pressing)\n\nChicago VIII (Remastered & Expanded)\n2002 Rhino - Warner Music Group\n\nOriginally Released March 1974\nStandard CD Edition Released 1987 or February 28, 1995\nRhino Remastered Edition Released November 5, 2002\n\nAMG EXPERT REVIEW: Although commercially successful, Chicago's previous long-player, Chicago VI (1973), had not been received as warmly from both the critics as well as from some bandmembers. Both parties expressed their dissatisfaction with the lighter fare and significantly shorter material. In response, the combo briefly returned to their previously tried and true methodology on their follow-up album. As such, Chicago VII (1974) was not only a double LP, but much of the effort likewise returned them to their former jazz/rock glory while continuing the middle-of-the-road (MOR) ethos that was concurrently impacting the pop charts. Nowhere is this more evident than the trio of sides extracted as singles -- including the Top Ten hits "(I've Been) Searching So Long," "Call on Me," and "Wishing You Were Here." The latter of which features some stunning backing vocals from Beach Boys Dennis Wilson, Carl Wilson, and Alan Jardine. The group were continuing in their incorporation of additional musicians, most notably Laudir DeOliveira (percussion) and David J. Wolinski (ARP synthesizer) -- both of whom are prominently featured throughout the sides. The opening instrumentals, including "Prelude to Aire," "Aire," and "Devil's Sweet," reflect Daniel Seraphine's (drums) tremendously underrated skills as a writer as well as the combo's recently underutilized talents as ensemble musicians. All three tracks provide a brilliant showcase for the brass/woodwind section(s) to flex their respective muscles, drawing heavily upon the styles of Weather Report and to some extent Miles Davis and Santana. The nature of their seemingly experimental fusion is stretched out even further on "Italian From New York." The cut includes some interesting ARP interjections from Robert Lamm, whose decidedly free-form contributions weave alongside some rubbery and liquefied fretwork courtesy of Terry Kath (guitar/vocals). His lead bobs around Lamm's synthesizer and an equally prominent cool-toned Fender Rhodes keyboard bed. The second half of Chicago VII directly contrasts the less structured instrumentals with more inclusive sides such as the previously mentioned hits "Call On Me" and "Wishing You Were Here." Other highlights include Lamm's funky mid-tempo "Life Saver," Peter Cetera's (bass/vocals) laid-back and unencumbered "Happy Man," and a double shot from Kath in the form of two serene ballads, "Song of the Evergreens" and "Byblos" -- which features some stellar acoustic strumming. This collection would be Chicago's final two-disc set by the original lineup and offers the best of the band as improvisational instrumentalists as well as concise, emotive vocalists and song crafters. -- Lindsay Planer\n\n\nAMG EXPERT REVIEW: Originally intended as a jazz-oriented record, Chicago's first double studio album since Chicago III (now on one CD) is an ambitious but ultimately uneven affair, buttressed by the hit singles "(I've Been) Searchin' So Long," "Call On Me," and "Wishing You Were Here." [This version includes one bonus track.] -- William Ruhlmann\n\nAMAZON.COM CUSTOMER REVIEW\nSimply their Best !!, November 14, 2002 \nReviewer: A music fan from San Antonio, TX \nThis is Chicago's best album, quite simply. The pop is hip and the jazz is real. I just came back to it after many years away and found it as enjoyable as ever. We all know that most music does not demonstrate such resiliency. This recording can be put on a level with Chicago II and V, which is also saying a lot. As always, a love of a phenomenal horn section is key to the full enjoyment of this band, and this selection does not disappoint. But Robert Lamm's keyboards and Terry Kath's brilliant guitar (I still miss him) are amply featured to full effect. Sadly, they never again sounded so good. \n\nAMAZON.COM CUSTOMER REVIEW\nGreat re-issue of a great album...., November 7, 2002 \nReviewer: Brian Christie from Montreal, Quebec Canada \nCHICAGO VII was originally released in March 1974, quickly hitting # 1 and eventually spawning three big hit singles. Initially it was planned as a jazz record (hence the first 5 instrumental - and highly enjoyable - tracks) but with commercial concerns, they soon included a fresh selection of conventional pop tunes. Of the hits, you'll find "I've Been Searchin' So Long", "Call On Me" and "Wishing You Were Here" (with three of The Beach Boys), however many of the highlights are the non-hits, such as "Happy Man" (which has lost its false start on the original album - the only negative thing about the re-issue), the jazz workouts "Aire" and "Devil's Sweet", "Song Of The Evergreens", "Byblos" (one of Terry Kath's finest moments) and Robert Lamm's "Skinny Boy" (with The Pointer Sisters on backups). This was Chicago's last studio double album and their last truly experimental album - recorded at a time when they could do no wrong. The ballads were starting to seep through more but thankfully, Chicago still were in a creatively ambitious mood. It is not a surprise that CHICAGO VII is a personal favorite of many fans. It's one of mine. The Rhino re-issue itself is another great one and has faithfully restored the original artwork. I just wish that "Happy Man" had been left in its original state, but that is a minor quibble in the face of a fine re-release. One of 1974's most satisfying albums. \n\nAMAZON.COM CUSTOMER REVIEW\nThe last jazz album, September 10, 1999 \nReviewer: A music fan from the Dakota Territories \nThose who criticize Chicago for being too commercial or too predictable should listen to this (double) album (on one CD). The listener has to go through the first side and one half of the first album before one hears the first track with lyrics and vocals. The first five instrumental tracks contain some complex horn arrangements interlaced with disjointed jazz solos, all of which are enjoyable. Fans have yet to see such a commitment to long and complex instrumental arrangements on any subsequent Chicago release. The other tracks contain a latin feel not unlike that found on Santana albums of that era. Percussion instruments are stressed courtesy of Chicago's new member Laudir OIiviera and are brought to the forefront on the exuberant "Call On Me", the moody "Happy Man" and the exciting instrumental "Mongonucleosis". The are, of course, some hits here. "I've Been Searching So Long" represents a protypical power love ballad, a style later used by the group to the nth extreme in the 1980's. This song, however, was new enough not to be a cliche at the time of its release. "Wishing You Were Here" contains some great harmony vocals with the Beach Boys. This is one Chicago album to get. It was released at a time when any album they put out would go to number 1. That tendency gave the group some confidence to take a few risks, when they had a producer that would allow them to take risks. \n\nAMAZON.COM CUSTOMER REVIEW\nThis Is Not Their Finest Effort, By Any Stretch, August 27, 2002 \nReviewer: M.B. Allen from Illinois \nOh yeah, the jazzy stuff on the first few selections of this CD are slightly interesting, but after 28 years of reflection, they are also rather boring. For how tight Chicago's instrumentals could be, it is best to listen to "It Better End Soon" on Chicago II. These seem just to be Chicago's attempts for some sort of further Downbeat acceptance.\n\n"Lifesaver" is a fun song, but also points out how Robert Lamm's voice had mysteriously left him for this album. I know that he's supposed to sound like he's singing through a megaphone, but then "Skinny Boy" shows once and for all that Lamm must have taken a hit to the throat at some point.\n\nTerry Kath's "Byblos" is the standout on this CD, in my opinion. Kath had a singing voice that could give out more emotion in one verse than Peter Cetera could do in the entire Chicago catalog. The "horn" songs just aren't up to snuff. "Call On Me," "Women Don't Want To Love Me," and "I've Been Searchin' So Long" are all acceptable, but just not up to their best from Transit Authority to Chicago V.\n\nWhile this is a decided improvement over Chicago VI, it simply serves as a reminder as to how this once-great group was continuing a slow, but certain slide into pop... \n\nAMAZON.COM CUSTOMER REVIEW\nExperimental Jazz Plop, January 18, 2001 \nReviewer: Steven R Fleck from Rockville Centre, NY United States \n"Experimental" popular music usually doesn't thrill consumers. Unlike genres such as jazz or opera, pop is supposed to appeal to the masses & sell the big units; that's why it's called "pop." Hence, pop albums with some 25 minutes worth of instrumental fusion before a vocal is even croaked out would not be expected to chart #1. That's how good the second half of CHICAGO VII is.\n\nNot that I don't dig Album 1 of CHICAGO VII, I just think it walks a fine line between OK fusion & the "new direction of Spinal Tap." Some jazz/prog dudes might disagree, but self-indulgence doesn't automatically mean good music. I mean, I like DEVIL'S SUITE, but the drum solo? Robert Lamm's ITALIAN FROM NEW YORK sports usually innovative Terry Kath's wah pedal doodle, & even I get bored. AIRE & HANKY PANKY are really the only completely successful tracks on Album 1, and they're comparatively short. The 1st vocal track, LIFE SAVER, begins with the coolest of grooves, but quickly dies. Peter Cetera's HAPPY MAN is a displaced weary ballad amongst all these "artistic statements" on Album 1.\n\nAlbum 2 is a different animal. Jimmy Pankow's superb #9 single (I'VE BEEN) SEARCHING SO LONG sneaks up only to explode in a powerful array of horns & strings. Pankow's short instrumental, MONGONUCLEOSIS, is a conga driven, brass-laden, Latin delight. \n\nThree of Chicago's most exquisite songs then fall in a row. Kath's SONG OF THE EVRGREENS, beautifully vocalized by Lee Loughnane, is an homage to winter that defies categorization. Equally singular is Kath's Spanish style BYBLOS, about a chance encounter and it's effect, but it's the incredible acoustic chords, modulations, and vocals of Kath that linger. Finally, peaceful tidal waves give way to Cetera's WISHING YOU WERE HERE, a #11 single & one of Chicago's few ethereal hits. Strangely, of the three, only WISHING contains horns, and very little.\n\nCALL ON ME by Loughnane, a #6 single, is bouncy & Latino-influenced. Lamm's badass R&B WOMEN DON'T WANT TO LOVE ME features a killer horn groove. Only Lamm's solo album leftover, SKINNY BOY, misfires on Album 2.\n\nChicago was so big in 1974, Walt Parazaider said they could "fart on record & it would sell." Indeed, VII soared to #1, in spite of sevral instrumental flatulations. Their follow-up, CHICAGO VIII, would portray the musician's versatility in a much more palatable package. \n\nROLLING STONE REVIEW\nWhen we bought rock in the Sixties, we got personality with it. The American rock-group pantheon of the last decade -- such as the Band, the Byrds, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Sly and the Family Stone, perhaps the Grateful Dead -- included strong individual leaders -- Robbie Robertson, Roger McGuinn, John Fogerty, Sly Stone and Jerry Garcia.\n\nNow, five years after Woodstock, the American supergroup, as represented by Chicago, Three Dog Night and Grand Funk Railroad, is in crisis. As befits a form honoring the adolescent in us all, the supergroup is having an identity crisis.\n\nChicago conjures up nothing but a logo (perhaps the best artist-marketing device in rock), that Coke-like signature that dominates their nearly identical album covers. And try as they may, Three Dog Night seems like more of a sound than a group. After five years of gold albums and singles, and endless SRO arena-sized concert tours, who but their closest relatives and staunchest fans recognize photographs of Lee Loughnane and Jimmy Greenspoon? Who knows which group each of them is in?\n\nAnd the music of both groups is as faceless as their members. Chicago derives its sound from Stan Getz and cool jazz, big, brassy dance bands, all mixed with the latest in technologically advanced but anonymous recording styles. Three Dog Night is the descendant of the early Sixties Tin Pan Alley pop-rock that Dylan helped to destroy. Though some of their work is pleasant, the group is an anachronism, a vehicle for songwriters in an age when songwriters are their own best vehicle.\n\nGrand Funk Ubermensch\n\nThough Grand Funk has its own problems, they are, at least, a rock band -- while Chicago and Three Dog Night are not. When Grand Funk jettisoned manager/producer Terry Knight, who had provided them with a perhaps spurious, but effective persona -- the Rock & Roll Ubermensch -- they too found themselves without a personality. But with a recognized leader, Mark Farner, they quickly and smartly retreated to the homiletic "We're an American Band," rekindling the connections between their craft and the traditions founded by Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and their contemporaries. Chicago and Three Dog Night simply can't make those connections, because they are too rooted in pop traditions, as opposed to rock tradition.\n\nBut pop is also a commodity, rock is now merging into pop, and all three of these bands are pop in that sense and popularizers as well. Their audiences are comprised primarily of people who didn't experience the pre-Woodstock rock explosion firsthand and who do not sense these groups' inauthenticity. Part of the post-Woodstock idea presumes that the previous era was somehow magically superior to the present. Whether or not that's true -- I think it is too soon to tell -- the result has been instant nostalgia. Thus, Grand Funk is a power trio (now a quarter) for those who missed Cream; Three Dog Night, the world's most popular Vegas lounge act, for those who've never experienced nightclub or vaudeville entertainment; Chicago, a jazz group for those who have neither the industry nor the inclination to seek the real thing.\n\nThese groups don't necessarily share the same audience. Grand Funk was able to capture those who want to feel the old-style commitment that pre-Woodstock rock entailed. Three Dog Night and Chicago have more passive audiences to go with their more passive music. As a result, Grand Funk's music may not last, but their concerts and albums may at least be remembered as events. Their work had an effect that transcended the specific situations in which it occurred. That event had its darker side -- it occasionally seemed like an American version of a Nuremberg rally -- but it was also exhilarating. Grand Funk had fans and those fans had a commitment to that group and its simple, populist ideology which almost no other group since Woodstock has been able to inspire.\n\nThree Dog Victory\n\nOn the other hand, last summer Three Dog Night proclaimed a victory over the Beatles because they had topped several of the latter's attendance records in various stadiums and arenas around the nation. We were to infer from this that Three Dog Night had surpassed the Beatles in the area where they thought it counted most: numbers.\n\nThat inference is ridiculous, not only because the Beatles made art, but also because Three Dog Night's concerts were just bigger shows. There were no riots, no screams, no lust, no passion. Socially, Three Dog Night is a cipher, with all the magic and mystery of a five o'clock traffic jam. Magic and mystery were just what made the Beatles' and Grand Funk's concerts -- events. Similarly, Chicago could sell out Death Valley, and it would still be just another rock concert.\n\nThree Dog Night's and Chicago's buyers aren't fans, but consumers. Fanaticism requires something about which passion can be worked up. Creating passion for a rock group without an interesting persona is as impossible as creating passion for Gerald Ford. And that's the reason Chicago and Three Dog Night haven't been able to capitalize on critical animosity as Grand Funk has. The GFR began by asking, "If Grand Funk is happening, and the critics ignore them, then how hip can the critics be?" Their audience, instinctively rebellious, took the hint. Buying a Grand Funk record became a gesture of commitment, a signal that the purchaser was an insider.\n\nThree Dog Night recently ran a six-page, full-color ad in the music trade magazines (that never give bad reviews) and thundered, "The Public be denied? Never!" Their argument was that if it sells it's good and that critics weren't doing their bit by helping sales. "We've found our particular niche: entertainment," said lead guitarist, Michael Allsup. "We've sold millions of records and hundreds of writers receive performance royalties and publishing royalties because we do care about contributing substantially to the music world."\n\nYet, in the aftermath of their extraordinary economic success, Three Dog Night--like Chicago and Grand Funk-- can't resist the lure of respectability (the one goal left to conquer) and so have chosen to now grace us with the very antithesis of their own argument about simple entertainment--a concept album. The most effective conceptual moment on Hard Labor comes on the cover --a mannequin giving birth to the group's latest slab of vinyl. Inside are two songs by Daniel Moore, who with B.W. Stevenson wrote "Shambala," but neither song is as good as that one. A Jimmy Cliff song, "Sitting In Limbo," is well done, but certainly not up to the original.\n\nAllen Toussaint's "Play Something Sweet" is terrific, though it would be even better were it half as long. In their advertising copy, drummer Floyd Sneed suggests that Three Dog Night would like to serve "an elegant banquet [for critics] ... on our gold records." At least the dish served on the one they get for Hard Labor won't have to be turkey.\n\nGrand Funk's new album, Shinin' On, is good, but its best moments reflect producer Todd Rundgren's talents as much as the group's. "Loco-motion" is someone's idea of a dance record; it gets more bearable, on the radio, the more you hear it. Rundgren has loosened up the playing in general -- the early GFR albums have so much bass it's little wonder they seldom got airplay. They'd have shaken the speakers clean into the back seat.\n\nBut "Loco-motion," though amusing (could Todd be putting the boys on?), isn't an anthem. Making an anthem is Grand Funk's special delight. "I'm Your Captain" was one, and so was "Paranoid." Their remake of "Gimme Shelter," however leaden, surely was, and "American Band" was the best they'd ever done. "Shinin' On" might have made the grade before but "American Band" set such high standards -- it even had an interesting lyric -- that this really won't do Still, the 3-D cover is nice, the sort of second effort that turned a pack of Midwestern underachievers into a major force in rock.\n\nChicago Ambition\n\nChicago VII is about as ambitious as their other six: very; and just about as successful: one-quarter. Unfortunately, Robert Lamm's high intentions don't make listening to the excess any more pleasant.\n\nOne of the mysteries of Chicago is their penchant for multiple-record sets, going as high as four. Lots of groups survive and even prosper while putting out one-record sets with a single listenable side. Chicago is the only group I know who dilute their interesting material three to one.\n\nThe horn charts here are, as usual, hackneyed, but effective. Guitarist Terry Kath, also as usual, is subject to such incredible gaffes that he ruins many an otherwise unobjectionable -- if not yet thrilling--cut. Chicago VII isn't as good as Chicago VI, of course, but it's easy to see why. Chicago VI was one record, on which there were two Top 40 hits. The only hit I can hear on this one is "Wish You Were Here," on which Beach Boys Al Jardine, Carl and Dennis Wilson, step in for some back vocals and take over.\n\nProving once again that, despite all the obfuscations, talent will out. (RS 161) -- DAVE MARSH
This rock cd contains 15 tracks and runs 72min 34sec.
Freedb: c611000f
Buy: from Amazon.com

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  1. Chicago - Prelude To Aire (02:47)
  2. Chicago - Aire (06:30)
  3. Chicago - Devil's Sweet (10:03)
  4. Chicago - Italian From New York (04:14)
  5. Chicago - Hanky Panky (01:53)
  6. Chicago - Life Saver (05:19)
  7. Chicago - Happy Man (03:32)
  8. Chicago - (I've Been) Searchin' So Long (04:28)
  9. Chicago - Mongonuleosis (03:29)
  10. Chicago - Song Of The Evergreens (05:23)
  11. Chicago - Byblos (06:19)
  12. Chicago - Wishing You Were Here (04:36)
  13. Chicago - Call On Me (04:03)
  14. Chicago - Woman Don't Want To Love (04:37)
  15. Chicago - Skinny Boy (05:11)


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