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Chicago Transit Authority (Remastered)

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Editors’ Notes

Nowadays, Chicago (the band) seems almost as much a part of the American landscape as Chicago (the city). At the dawn of their career, though, the group had a lot to prove. Long before they became reliable hit-makers, the Chicago Transit Authority (the septet’s original name) served up genre-crossing jams with a daring disregard for convention. CTA’s 1969 debut testifies to the band’s initial brilliance, matching a Stan Kenton-like brass attack with gutsy blues-rock. Though the two-disc album was meant to be a total-immersion experience, certain tracks especially shine. “Listen,” for instance, moves to a funky strut, with Terry Kath’s guitar pyrotechnics framed by punchy horn riffs. “Liberation” shows off the ensemble in full improvisational mode, bursting into cacophonous free jazz before descending into more subdued passages. The band acknowledges their city’s infamous 1968 riots with the ominous “Someday.” But for the most part, engaging tunes like “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is” and “Beginnings” are more philosophical than confrontational. It’s the music here that speaks the loudest – and, overall, the “authority” part of the band’s name is appropriate. CTA convincingly asserts itself on this still-impressive first effort.

Customer Reviews

CTA - when they were great

You must have the following songs: Does Anybody Really Know...., Beginnings, Questions 67 & 68, Poem 58, and I'm a Man. The rest of the album is for Chicago fans or those who want to hear a superb guitarist show his wares. The songs Poem 58, Free Form Guitar, and Souther California Purples are like no Chicago you have ever heard, especially if you have only listened to them on the radio for the last 20 years. After Peter Cetera took over vocals full time, Chicago, and its diverse music went to the crapper. Listening to Chicago in the 80s makes me sick, especially in comparison to this.

Chicago's Finest Album

This album is truly a classic. A great album in its own right, and certainly one of the best debut rock albums of all time. Unfortunately, Chicago, despite the subsequent release of numerous quality albums, was never able to replicate the superlative quality of this record on their later releases. A must have for Chicago fans!

A Superb Debut

What can I say about this release that hasn't already been said? Chicago (aka CTA) made a superb debut with this 1968 release. If you are a fan of the great "horn" bands of the 1960s and `70s (Blood, Sweat & Tears, Earth, Wind & Fire, Tower of Power) you must have this album.


Formed: February 15, 1967 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

According to Billboard chart statistics, Chicago is second only to the Beach Boys as the most successful American rock band of all time, in terms of both albums and singles. Judged by album sales alone, as certified by the R.I.A.A., the band does not rank quite so high, but it is still among the Top Ten best-selling U.S. groups ever. If such statements of fact surprise, that's because Chicago has been singularly underrated since the beginning of its long career, both because of its musical ambitions...
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