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CHICAGO 13

Chicago

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Kazuhiro
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars "Hot Street" that had been announced in 1978 might have had the strong impression for the part, the fan, and the listener where a strong shade of meaning was exactly included for the band for the turning point and the music character.

It flows with the situation of a problem with James William Guercio for the band to demonstrate existence as a substantial patron and the producer at first money with the relation. Or, Terry Kath lost due to an unexpected accident exists. They to get over shock and the severe trial that the band had received had to have them greatly revolutionize the band at this time.

The part where guitar player's Donnie Dacus had sent the band a new wind fortunately included a lot of parts of the expectation as one vigor. And, the band that harmoniously attempted the renewal of Columbia and the contract in 1979 is daring the tour of North America in July, 1979. And, the band is announcing this "13" to inform them of the existence of the band in August of the same year.

It is said that the band had work for about six months with Phil Ramone received as a producer as well as "Hot Street" in the studio in Montreal and Los Angeles for the production of this album. It is a part in Front Cover in which it emphasized it as for the logo mark that should be called their symbols. Or, the part where the album name had been converted from the Roman numeral into the Arabic numeral might have symbolized a revival of the band and a steady orbit.

There might be an impression gotten the answer from the band to Disco Music to have carried everything before one the market for this album at this time, too. However, the interpretation concerning the appointment of the means that the member of each band distributes it to the whole volume and the music character might arrange the impression refined with the preference. Moreover, they had the situation in which the point of contact with an outside musician had been developed at this time. In the situation of the session with the outside, having remarkably appeared at this time is also true. The respect might have been proof that directionality and the activity of the band gain one's liberty. In the problem of the dismissal of Donnie Dacus that surfaces the problem of behavior as a result of sales of this album in respect, having tended well for the band is true. The band guesses that groping for development continued in the situation.

"Street Player" might be a tune of which the flavor of disco music that the band thinks about went out. The song to make good use of the upper register twines round a steady rhythm. Or, ensemble and solo of the trumpet that supports the tune by the same compass might be splendid. And, the contribution of the percussion instrument by Airto Moreira is also remarkable in this album. Especially, the rhythm of Latin of the tune in the middle part has the composition calculated well. Solo of the guitar also sends the band a new wind.

The flavor of the song of Peter Cetera might go out of "Mama Take". Playing the guitar that there are exhilaration one feels in a heavily steady rhythm twines. The melody will give a bright, pastoral impression. The composition and the Brass section of the rhythm have a grand impression.

As for "Must Have Been Crazy", friendly Rock rules the general feel. Part of performance of Cutting of guitar and chorus's ensemble. Or, the part of syncopation might expand the width of the tune. The tune offers relief with stability. Solo of the guitar contributes well though is compared with the performance of Terry Kath a thin impression.

"Window Dreamin'" has the composition of the Hard Boogie to emphasize groove. It is possible to listen to a powerful expression of the song and twining of the Brass section well. It matches it to the tune with the part where solo of the guitar is intense. However, I cannot feel a unique part so much as an impression.

"Paradise Alley" is Funk Rock of the city type by Robert Lamm. The melody of the refinement that reflects the age gives the impression of steady funk. Part of coming in succession by song and chorus. Or, room by the band will be seen with stability of the Brass section.

"Aloha Mama" is a tune where Jazz with the flavor of Dixie exists together to Rock. There might be a part calculated in the route besides the element of Jazz where it goes to the first stage. The part of Old Time Felling is put on the rhythm of the shuffle and it progresses. Part where rhythm of minor chord stability and a little reggae is recollected. And, the chorus part is expressed well.

In "Reruns", the melody where it runs fluently is a feature. Part of song that Robert Lamm to get on arrangement of horn is powerful. The composition with flexibility follows the element that the band originally had. Members other than Peter Cetera follow an initial style well and occasionally reflect it in the tune as a result. The melody of the Brass section is splendid. The flavor of the band at this time including the device of the rhythm is emphasized.

"Loser With A Broken Heart" is a ballade with which a sweet part and the expression of feelings taste of Peter Cetera overflow exactly. The arpeggio of the rhythm and the guitar that flows gently decides the atmosphere of the tune. And, the music character that original Chicago has might be reflected a little.

"Life What It Is" is a tune that Laudir De Oliveira offered. It is a wonderful tune where a complete anacatesthesia and a transparent feeling are had both. A few dash feelings are put on the flavor of Latin. Peter Cetera sung in this tune completely contributes to the tune. Arrangement of Horn section and chorus part. The refined composition is complete.

"Run Away" is grand Rock by James Pankow. The emphasis and exhilaration one feels for the melody by the chorus might be splendid. The band including the arrangement of the Horn section is producing Groove that you may combine.

It is not possible to know whether the band at this time is time when it is sluggish and gropes for sales. However, room and the free expression that they showed in a situation at that time at the time of rush into in the 80's are followed by the album and expressed.

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Send comments to Kazuhiro (BETA) | Report this review (#292060)
Posted Monday, July 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Get down Rufus

In an apparent acknowledgement that that there had been at least one too many changes on 'Hot streets' (AKA 'Chicago 12'), 'Chicago 13' appeared with the band's traditional logo displayed predominantly on the front cover, and not one band member in sight. The line up remains intact from that which recorded 'Hot streets' although this would be newbie Donnie Dacus last album with the band.

If 'Hot streets' had seen the band continuing largely on adrenaline, '13' found the full impact of the tragic loss of Terry Kath hitting home hard. Recordings took place primarily in Montreal, Canada, with Phil Ramone again at hand to assist with production. Once again, all the band members contribute to the song-writing, which leads to a diversity both in terms of style and quality.

It is fair to say that 'Chicago 13' (note the numeric rather than Roman numerals) is widely regarded by critics and fans to be as difficult as the Apollo mission which bore that number. A significant amount of the derision can be laid at the feet of the 9+ minute opening track 'Street player'. While the lengthy nature of the track may raise hopes of a return to the band's golden age, the song is in fact a pop/dance/R&B based number, with a heavy emphasis on the percussion. I actually find the track to be rather good in its own way, but it is easy to see why it might have caught a waiting audience somewhat unawares. Significantly, the track had already been recorded as the title track of an album by the funk band Rufus (Featuring Chaka Khan) before Chicago recorded their own version.

After the shock of 'Street player', we have a succession of at best ordinary songs which are generally much more in line with the band's style if not proven ability. Tracks such as the Parazaider/Loughnane composed 'Window dreamin'' and Robert Lamm's 'Paradise alley' are poor relations of songs on even some of the more recent Chicago albums, let alone their classic early works. 'Aloha mama' is equally low, but it does at least boast a nice horn arrangement, something sadly lacking through most of the album. Both 'Aloha mama' and 'Window dreamin'' credit lead vocals to P.C. Moblee, a thinly disguised reference to Peter Cetera singing in a lower voice.

Once of the few brighter spots is Robert Lamm's 'Reruns', which has a more traditional Chicago feel to it. Peter Cetera tries to rekindle the 'If you leave me now' ballad success with 'Loser with a broken heart', but significantly singles success would prove elusive when it came to extracting songs from the album. The closing 'Run away' is another of the better tracks, being a simple mid-paced pop song with a decent arrangement.

In all, a poor album in the Chicago discography. In fairness, the loss of Terry Kath took a much greater toll here than it did on 'Hot streets', and to that extent we can forgive the band for being distracted. There are a couple of tracks which will be of some interest to Chicago fans, but in truth there is little here of relevance to this fine band's place in history.

The Rhino remaster of the album released in 2003 contains two bonus tracks. 'Closer to you' was written by Donnie Dacus with his former employer Stephen Stills and Warner Schwebke, and had previously been recorded by Stills. This version was recorded by Chicago during the 'Hot streets' sessions, and released as a single B-side. Dacus does a decent job on vocals, but the song is not a good fit for the Chicago style. If the opening track 'Street player' had not been a step too far already, here we have a 'Dance mix' of the track taken from the 12' single version. Think 'Saturday night fever' Bee Gees and you pretty much have it.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#381659)
Posted Monday, January 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars As regards the history of this group, it's time now to share a shred of good news. Chicago XIII is better than Chicago XII (otherwise known as "Hot Streets"). I must issue a note of caution, however. In this case the word "better" must be buffeted with an enormous amount of perspective being applied. It's the equivalent of announcing in April 1912 that, unfortunately, the Titanic is still nestled at the bottom of the Atlantic but they did manage to recover some bodies. For those of us who'd hoped that the ocean liner Chicago, contrary to rumor, had merely sprung a serious leak on their long journey this was hardly consolation but at this juncture we'd gladly take any positive information we could get. Their once-glorious ship had been taking on water ever since album VII but the untimely death of guitarist Terry Kath had proved to be their dark iceberg. They'd been given the opportunity to make crucial repairs and shock the world by emerging from that tragedy with a renewed jazz/rock fusion-fed spirit of adventure yet they'd failed to do so. All they did was save themselves by hopping into the convenient boats of commerciality and watch from afar as what was left of their prog legacy sank below the waves.

The miniscule improvement I speak of is in the overall fidelity of the recordings. The band had brought in experienced producer Phil Ramone (replacing the out-of-touch James Guercio) for the previous album but he must've been handcuffed by certain elements in the membership because it sounded completely flat and lifeless. For XIII he was able to give the tracks a slick, inviting sheen that at least makes listening to the material less of a chore and for that I'm thankful because the tunes, for the most part, are low grade. In an attempt to inspire everybody to get fully involved in the endeavor they allowed each man to contribute a minimum of one number but that ploy rarely results in a cohesive collection of songs and it didn't in this case, either. The album has all the earmarks of a group of individuals that have no clue as to what they're supposed to do next.

Chicago's final LP of the 70s opens with drummer Danny Seraphine's "Street Player," a nine-minute foray into the land of a thousand dances. It's glossy west coast R&B from the word go but, in its favor, it does have some redeeming qualities. Their heralded horn section is crisp and punchy and the tune projects a friendly Boz Scaggs atmosphere insofar that it flirts with stepping over into disco territory but never completely surrenders its soul to its mind-numbing lure. Bringing in Maynard Ferguson to deliver a hot trumpet solo was a very good idea as well as having the gifted Airto Moreira assist in the percussion department. The breakdown section in the second half, punctuated by a spirited flurry of horns, is entertaining yet the number's blatant attempt to draw in the Saturday Night Fever crowd is nonetheless unnerving. The rolling pop rock motif of bassist Peter Cetera's "Mama Take" isn't degrading in itself but the song is just too weak to be memorable and nothing occurs dynamically to distinguish the presentation. Once again they're guilty of playing it way too safe. Kath's replacement, Donnie Dacus, wrote "Must Have Been Crazy" and it, more than any other cut, highlights the identity crisis the group was caught up in. It's a cookie-cutter copy of what a host of other boring rock groups of that era were putting out and it most definitely doesn't sound like Chicago at all (which could be a good or bad characteristic when you think about it). Walter Parazaider and Lee Loughnane cooked up "Window Dreamin'," a mild rocker with a highly predictable arrangement. The white boy funkster approach never worked too well for them in the past but evidently they were determined to keep trying even if it evoked nausea in the listener. This is poor with a capital P.

Keyboardist Robert Lamm's role as principal songwriter had dwindled to next to nada over the years but, to his credit, he delivers one of the few bright spots on XIII in the form of his "Paradise Alley." While it does have a questionable Caucasian funk foundation he included enough of a jazzy edge to make it worthwhile. The tight horns add spice and, by playing around a bit with the time signature, they manage to create something relatively decent. Seraphine's "Aloha Mama" owns a New Orleans flavor that is slightly refreshing yet one can't help but feel that they had a golden opportunity here to spring loose with some stimulating jazz excursions. Sadly they didn't, seemingly content to tread complacently in their tepid comfort zone. A discouraging disco throb resonates throughout Lamm's contemporary rocker, "Reruns," dating it horribly. Once again the anemic composing dooms the track as the tune goes nowhere and does nothing on the way. Cetera's "Loser With a Broken Heart" is a dreadful ballad delivered without a trace of the horn section to be found (perhaps they were smart enough to call in sick that day and steer clear of this turkey). It comes off like an unfinished demo and Ramone should've had the balls to step in and stop this turd from ever going public. Conga man Laudir De Oliveira at least offers a breath of oxygen at this point via the jazzy feel his "Life is What it Is" has but it's extremely lightweight and hasn't a chance in hell of saving the album from itself and its trying-too-hard-to-be-trendy vibe. James Pankow's "Run Away" sports an aggressive beginning but soon the number takes a familiar path and all that potential excitement goes swirling down the drain. It's mediocre pop that's so lacking in anything interesting as to render itself woefully irrelevant. It brings to mind the motto of the crusaders in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." Run away, indeed.

To say Chicago was drifting aimlessly at sea without a rudder as the 70s came to a close is a gross understatement. The record fell short of breaking into the top 20 on the album charts and spawned nary a hit single so within the ranks panic was on the verge of erupting. AM radio fare had become their bread and butter during the decade and now even that profitable aspect of their art was fading fast. Like many groups, they started to point fingers at everyone except themselves and hirings and firings were soon to be in store. I find the pretentious cover art significant. The band had all the outward appearances of being a sturdy skyscraper but the building was almost vacant, built on shifting sand and could topple at any moment. Chicago XIII isn't as putrid as XII but, in retrospect, what does it matter? 1.2 stars.

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Send comments to Chicapah (BETA) | Report this review (#679672)
Posted Friday, March 23, 2012 | Review Permalink

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