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Chicago - The Box
Rhino Records
By MuzikMan
(more articles from this author)
2003-07-23
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Artist: Chicago (www.chicagotheband.com)
Title: The Box
Label: Rhino Records (www.rhino.com)
Genre: Rock /Jazz, Pop, Soft, Adult Contemporary, Psychedelic, Fusion
Format: CD/DVD (5 CD Box w/Bonus DVD)

Figuring out the styles of music that Chicago has ventured into over their 36-year history is easy; the difficult thing would be to find a musical road they have not taken. The Box is a definitive collection spanning their illustrious, and for the most part, underrated career. Regardless of the fact that they may have been taken for granted and were not always the critics darlings they have been one of the most successful bands in the world.

Covering a career spanning 36 years is no easy task yet Rhino does a superb job of choosing the key songs that feature Chicago's development from the beginning to present day of their eclectic blend of rock, jazz, fusion and pop. Before the premature death of founding member Terry Kath, this band not only had one of the most innovative guitar players and distinctive voices in music, they had two other vocalists/instrumentalist that carried quite a presence in the studio and onstage, Robert Lamm (keyboards) and Peter Cetera (bass).

Reflecting upon the first decade of the band's existence boggles the mind at how much talent was at their disposal. It is beyond my comprehension how they were not considered as one of the best bands in the world right out of the gate. At first, they had to travel to Europe to find an audience appreciative of their sophisticated sound and eventually U.S. audiences realized what they offered music lovers of all kinds. Crossing over the lines of jazz and fusion made them unique and hard to categorize. Adding horns to the mix of rock music was enticing to many groups but nobody could duplicate what Chicago did.

Personally, some of the very first vinyl LPs I ever purchased with my hard-earned paper route money was when they had just changed their name from Chicago Transit Authority to Chicago (they were forced to do so). I remained interested all the way through to volume V, and then somehow I got lost into a hard rock abyss and did not pull out those albums for many years. All of this music reminded me why I liked them so much to begin with, with one exception; I, like many others, never realized how complex and interesting their music was. I especially recognized this watching them go off into a free form jazz run on the archived live footage on the bonus DVD. Their music is still as breathtaking and fresh today as it was when they first created it.

The accompanying book is a fascinating compilation of photos of the band over the years with a detailed history of the music available on each disc. Keep in mind that this band has gone through several changes without missing a beat and their popularity has never waned. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to listen to all this music again. Of course, now I want to pick up the remastered albums I-III offered by Rhino.

You would think after listening to five CDs and watching a DVD that I would want to give it a rest but I want to start from disc one and do it all over again. Like the Beatles and Beach Boys, this music is timeless and will have the same appeal to listeners today and many years beyond the band's lifetime, giving significance to the thought- "People live and die and music is immortal."

Members Past and Present: Bill Champlin (vocals, keyboards, guitar);Robert Lamm (vocals, keyboards, percussion); Peter Cetera (vocals, bass, guitar); Donnie Dacus (vocals, guitar); Laudir Soares de Oliveria (congas, percussion, vocals); Keith Howland (guitar); Tris Imboden (drums, harmonica); Terry Kath (vocals, keyboards, bass, percussion);Lee Loughnane (trumpet, flugelhorn, percussion, vocals); James Pankow (trombone, percussion, vocals); Walter Parazaider (woodwinds, percussion, vocals); Jason Scheff (vocals, bass); Daniel Seraphine (drums, percussion, drum programming, vocals); Chris Pinnick (guitar); Dawayne Bailey (guitar, vocals); Bruce Gaitsch (guitar). [Names in Bold are the four remaining original members]

Disc 1: CTA-Chicago
1. Introduction
2. Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?
3. Beginnings
4. Questions 67 and 68
5. Listen
6. South California Purples
7. I'm a Man
8. Movin' in
9. Wake Up Sunshine
10. Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon: Make Me...
11. Colour My World
12. To Be Free/Now More Than Ever
13. Fancy Colours
14. 25 or 6 to 4
15. Poem for the People
16. It Better End Soon: 1st Movement/3rd...

Disc 2: Chicago III-VII
17. Loneliness Is Just a Word
18. Travel Suite: Flight 602
19. Travel Suite: Free
20. Mother
21. Lowdown
22. An Hour in the Shower: A Hard Risin'...
23.A Hit by Varčse
24. All Is Well
25. Saturday in the Park
26. Dialogue, Pts. 1 & 2
27. Just You 'N' Me
28. Something in This City Changes People
29. In Terms of Two
30. Feelin' Stronger Every Day
31. (I've Been) Searchin' So Long
32. Mongonucleosis
33. Wishing You Were Here
34. Call on Me
35. Happy Man

Disc 3: Chicago VIII-Hot Streets
36. Harry Truman
37. Old Days
38. Brand New Love Affair, Pts. 1 & 2
39. Never Been in Love Before
40. You Are on My Mind
41. Mama Mama
42. Hope for Love
43. Another Rainy Day in New York City
44. Gently I'll Wake You
45. If You Leave Me Now
46. Mississippi Delta City Blues
47. Baby, What a Big Surprise
48. Take Me Back to Chicago
49. Prelude (Little One)/Little One
50. Gone Long Gone
51. No Tell Lover
52. Alive Again
53. The Greatest Love on Earth
54. Little Miss Lovin'
55. Hot Streets

Disc 4: Chicago 13-18
56. Street Player
57. Must Have Been Crazy
58. Manipulation
59. Thunder and Lightning
60. Song for You
61. The American Dream
62. Love Me Tomorrow
63. Chains
64. What You're Missing
65. Hard to Say I'm Sorry/Get Away
66. Stay the Night
67. We Can Stop the Hurtin'
68. Hard Habit to Break
69. Along Comes a Woman
70. You're the Inspiration
71. Good for Nothing
72. If She Would Have Been Faithful...
73. Forever
74. Will You Still Love Me?
75. Niagara Falls

Disc 5: Chicago 19-Heart Of, Vol. II
76. Heart in Pieces
77. Look Away
78. What Kind of Man Would I Be
79. I Don't Wanna Live Without Your Love
80. We Can Last Forever
81. You're Not Alone
82. Hearts in Trouble
83. Only Time Can Heal the Wounded
84. You Come to My Senses
85. God Save the Queen
86. Chasin' the Wind
87. All the Years
88. Stone of Sisyphus
89. Bigger Than Elvis
90. Caravan
91. Here in My Heart
92. The Only One
93. All Roads Lead to You
94. Show Me a Sign

Disc 6- Special Archival Bonus DVD
95. Backstage & Buildup
96. Now That You've Gone
97. Devil's Sweet
98. Saturday in the Park
99. Dialogue
100. End Credits
101. Intro
102. Must Have Been Crazy
103. Cat Pranks
104. Run Away
105. Street Player


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