Turntable Thursdays 10/12/2017

I have spent the past few days listening to Chicago’s first album “Chicago Transit Authority.”

What a phenomenal record.

Chicago Transit Authority

Originally released in April of 1969 by Columbia Records, Chicago’s opening 12-cut sonic euphoria erupts in your ear, blowing your mind, and making memories from the first note to the last chord. The band’s self-described “rock-n-roll with horns” sound grabs the listener’s attention immediately. From the time the needle hits the vinyl (or when your mp3 player starts), you realize your ears are in for a new experience. Fusing brass and jazz with soulful rock and roll, Chicago Transit Authority (later Chicago) explodes on the music scene.

Almost 50 years later, Chicago is still one of rock’s most underrated, underappreciated, and underestimated bands. That may be due to the marked change in the band’s sound in the early 1980s. You only have to plug-in your earphones and crank up the volume to quickly uncover the band’s superb musicianship, dynamic songwriting, and ability to stretch its sound.

On their debut LP, the late Terry Kath unleashes some of the finest guitar work ever on record. Kath’s guitar licks were so strong that reportedly the late guitar icon Jimi Hendrix became a huge fan of Kath.

Originally called Chicago Transit Authority, the group had to change the band’s moniker to Chicago after the actual Chicago Transit Authority objected to the use of its name.

Their first record features the band’s most iconic lineup:

Terry Kath – electric and acoustic guitars, lead and backing vocals

Robert Lamm – grand piano, Wurlitzer electric piano, lead and backing vocals, Hammond organ, Hohner Pianet, maracas

Peter Cetera – bass, lead and backing vocals

Walter Parazaider – saxophones, backing vocals, tambourine

Lee Loughnane – trumpet, backing vocals, claves

James Pankow – trombone, cowbell, brass arrangements

Danny Seraphine – drums, percussion

Amid the soulful rock numbers, you’ll find a couple of experimental jams that highlight the band’s musicianship. The group pays tribute to the Beatles on ‘South California Purples’, quoting the opening lines of the Fab Four’s classic ‘I Am the Walrus’ (“I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.”) The band also pays homage to the Spencer Davis Group, with their rendition of ‘I’m A Man’.

Keyboardist Robert Lamm is credited with writing six of songs on the band’s inaugural project and is listed as a co-writer on an additional track. However, in recent interviews, Lamm says that many of the songs were only a framework in the making and weren’t really complete until the band played them, with each musician adding their personal touch on each cut. In the studio, the band would take each individual songwriter’s rough cut and transform into a gem. Perhaps that’s what makes this such a great record.

Track Listings:

Introduction (6:49); Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?(4:34); Beginnings (6:09);

Question 67 And 68 (4:46); Listen (3:24); Poem 58 (8:37); Free Form Guitar (6:49);

South California Purples (6:39); I’m a Man (6:56); Prologue, August 29, 1968 (0:57);

Someday (August 29, 1968) (4:13); Liberation (15:57)

Classic album. Do I what I did and rediscover it. It will be time well spent.

Speaking of Steve Winwood…

Steve Winwood GH Live cover

In a previous post, I mentioned that the legendary musician released a new Greatest Hits Live album at the beginning of September.

The 2 disc Live set features cuts from Winwood’s time with Traffic, Blind Faith, and the Spencer Davis Group in addition to Winwood’s considerable solo catalogue.

Track Listing:

CD 1:

I’m A Man; Them Changes; Fly; Can’t Find My Way Home; Had To Cry Today; Low Spark of High Heeled Boys; Empty Pages; Back In The High Life Again; Higher Love; Dear Mr. Fantasy; Gimme Some Lovin’.

CD 2:

Rainmaker; Pearly Queen; Glad; Why Can’t We Live Together; 40,000 Headmen; Walking In The Wind; Medicated Goo; John Barleycorn; While You See A Chance; Arc Of A Diver; Freedom Overspill; Roll With It.

Winwood is joined on the record by guitarist Jose Neto, drummer Richard Bailey, multi-instrumentalist Paul Booth, and percussionist Edson Silver. Together, Winwood’s ensemble provides fresh portraits of the singer/songwriter’s finest works, flush with imaginative improvisation, and a global, rhythmic pulse. As I mentioned in my previous post, this maybe one of the finest Greatest Hits/Live records I’ve heard. Ever. A big part of that is that Winwood sticks to the recipe but mixes up the ingredients, dishing out top-grade fare with a new flavor.

That’s a glimpse of what’s been playing on my favorite media player…what’s on yours?

Today, Remember Forgiveness

Colossians 3:13 (NIV) Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

It’s Monday. Another work week begins, another school week has started. You woke up looking forward to enjoying breakfast. You intended to speak loving words to your spouse. You were going to pay more attention to the kids. You can’t get into any bathroom in your house because they’re all occupied. And you really, really need to go. Suddenly, Sunday’s sermon that you found so enlightening and encouraging seems long gone.

Me, too.

Someone you encounter today will need forgiveness. Today, you will need forgiveness.

Me. Too.

I have found it’s hard, if not impossible, to get through one day without needing forgiveness or needing to forgive someone. Without God, it is impossible.

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Romans 3:23 (KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

The truth is that we are all flawed. We all have our bad moments; our bad thoughts. Words fly out of our mouth before our mind can shut our lips and before we know it we’ve set a whole forest ablaze. The smart guy who loves to show everybody up at at work presents the same idea you presented last week and somehow finagles a promotion out of it, whereas your boss looked at you like your village lost its’ idiot. You consider all options. Quitting. Slashing his tires. Murder. You’re angry. You promised yourself and God you weren’t going to be angry anymore. Yet, there you stand: Pissed. To top it all off…your local coffee shop is all out of pumpkin spice lattes! You left home mad. You get home madder. You need forgiveness. You need to forgive.

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Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV) For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

I for one am glad that there is a God and I’m not him. You probably are too. I find discernment quickly morphs into judgement. It’s all to easy for me to take other people’s inventory—presumably as some crazy rationale for not focusing more on my own. After all, I probably have a log or two in my own eye that I need to remove before trying to fix other people. And yes…I’m a fixer. Give me five minutes and I’ll tell you what’s wrong with you and what you need to do to fix it. Thankfully, by God’s grace, I’ve gotten better over the years at taking stock of my own shortcomings instead of everybody else’s. There’s certainly no shortage of things for me to work on. I remain a work in progress.

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For me, I’ve found the more time I spend in His Word and the more time I spend talking to God in prayer the better chance I have of not only surviving the day, but to experience living life abundantly.  I’m not perfect. None of us are. It’s a good thing God is prepared to forgive us. All we need to do is remember to ask…

1 John 1:9 (ESV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Be quick to ask for forgiveness; be even quicker to forgive.

‘Gracefully Broken’-Matt Redman

Photos via Pixabay