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STONE OF SISYPHUS (XXXII)

Chicago

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Chicago Stone of Sisyphus (XXXII) album cover
3.82 | 23 ratings | 2 reviews | 22% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2008

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Stone Of Sisyphus (4:11)
2. Bigger Than Elvis (4:31)
3. All The Years (4:16)
4. Mah-Jong (4:42)
5. Sleeping In The Middle Of The Bed (4:45)
6. Let s Take A Lifetime (4:56)
7. The Pull (4:17)
8. Here With Me (Candle For The Dark) (4:11)
9. Plaid (4:59)
10. Cry For The Lost (5:18)
11. The Show Must Go On (5:25)

Bonus tracks
12. Love Is Forever (Demo) (4:14)
13. Mah-Jong (Demo) (4:59)
14. Let's Take A Lifetime (Demo) (4:15)
15. Stone Of Sisyphus (No rhythm loop) (4:35)

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

Robert Lamm - keyboards, lead & backing vocals
Walter Parazaider - woodwinds, backing vocals
Lee Loughnane - trumpet, flugelhorn, backing vocals
James Pankow - trombone, backing vocals, horn arrangements, horn co-arrangement on "Stone of Sisyphus"
Bill Champlin - keyboards, rhythm guitars, lead & backing vocals
Jason Scheff - bass, lead & backing vocals
Dawayne Bailey - rhythm guitar, lead guitar ("Bigger Than Elvis", "Stone of Sisyphus", "Love Is Forever"), lead & backing vocals, horn co-arrangement on "Stone of Sisyphus"
Tris Imboden - drums, percussion, harmonica

Additional musicians

Bruce Gaitsch - guitar
The Jordanaires - backing vocals on "Bigger Than Elvis"
Sheldon Reynolds - guitar
Jerry Scheff - bass on "Bigger Than Elvis"
Joseph Williams - backing vocals on "Let's Take A Lifetime"
Peter Wolf - arranger, keyboard bass, keyboards

Releases information

Stone Of Sisyphus, the once shelved album that has attained legendary status among fans and critics alike. Recorded in 1993 and originally intended as Chicago XXII, the disc marked a return to the genre-transcending, adventurous fusion of sounds that defined the group's 1970s-era heyday. Three tracks from it surfaced on Rhino's 2003 Chicago box, but the album itself is previously unissued

Rhino Records

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Stone of Sisyphus (XXXII)Stone of Sisyphus (XXXII)
Rhino Records 2008
Audio CD$7.58
$7.21 (used)
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CHICAGO Stone of Sisyphus (XXXII) ratings distribution


3.82
(23 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
22%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
39%
Good, but non-essential (17%)
17%
Collectors/fans only (13%)
13%
Poor. Only for completionists (9%)
9%

CHICAGO Stone of Sisyphus (XXXII) reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Muzikman
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars In 1993, Chicago decided to take back the control of their music and make an album without the interference of suits from the label and their unreasonable demands to make syrupy top forty pop to please the executives and maintain chart position. This album was an effort to get back to their roots and as it turns out, one of their finest hours titled Stone of Sisyphus.

Although the band felt confident and excited about this recording the label hated it so the album was canned, leaving the band in shock and disbelief. It took all of this time for Chicago fans to hear this commendable production as an official release. So now the album has been transformed from a heralded boot legged classic into a legitimate release. The CD goes from the planned XXII to XXXII, and now celebrated by the band and their fans.

I love Chicago and always have but never heard of this album before. I am not a diehard fan that has everything they ever recorded however they were one of the first bands I took a liking to immediately when I first heard them back in the early seventies. I also feel that they are the first progressive rock band in a non-traditional sense (not as we know prog rock today). Their mixture of horns and keyboards was similar to what the early configuration of the Santana band was doing, just on a different level. I think it helped to spawn an entire generation of new music.

Stone of Sisyphus stands as lost gem reborn; a true representation of what Chicago was all about, a great mixture of rock, pop, and jazz-a progressive recording in the world of pop oriented music that only a band like Chicago could pull off. The title and lead off track is trademark Chicago followed by "Bigger Than Elvis", which reminded me of hit bound tracks like "Harry Truman" for instance from Chicago VIII. This album is loaded with potential hits, which is nothing new when this band releases an album.

"Sleeping In The Middle Of The Bed" is a departure from the norm. The track jumps from a rap to a rocking guitar into a pop gem that would find itself typically lodged in the top ten of any mainstream playlist. The insertion of rap into the recording I thought was very clever yet different and most difficult to pull off for a band like Chicago however, they do an exceptional job and allow for quick transitions back to their meat and potatoes sound to keep you interested. "Let's Take a Lifetime" is a great ballad and one the band's best most catchy tracks on the album. It pulls on your heartstrings while offering the simple but true lyrics that every listener familiar with their history can relate to. In simple terms this stands as a rock solid release with no weak tracks, even the bonus demos are good.

I am glad this album has finally seen the light of day and now I realize why the band was so excited about this effort and was in total shock when the label turned their back on it. Chicago is the only band to chart in the Billboard top 40 for five consecutive decades and this is one testament to that accomplishment.

MuzikReviews.com-www.muzikreviews.com

Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck-July 6, 2008

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Send comments to Muzikman (BETA) | Report this review (#279474) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, April 26, 2010

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars 32 was 22 in 94

One of the things which has always distinguished Chicago's albums is the way they are numbered sequentially, with the odd exception such as "Hot Streets". Up to "Twenty 1", that numbering has been pretty straight forward, the studio albums being interrupted only by the occasional live set or greatest hits package. From here on though, it gets a bit messier.

"Twenty 1" is widely accepted to be a right turkey in the band's discography. When their determination to find commercial success at the expense of making credible albums turned sour, even the band realised that the game was up. In 1993, they returned to the studio with the intent of recording an album which would restore their reputation for making serious music. The result was "Stone of Sisyphus", scheduled to be released in 1994 as "Chicago 22".

The Record Company however was unhappy with the product which was delivered, and refused to release the album. More recently, it has also been revealed that the shelving of the album was due to a stalemate between the band's management and the record company over the re-releasing of their back catalogue. Tracks from the album trickled out over the succeeding years on bootlegs, compilations, and in the live set. In 2008, Rhino Records finally gained permission to release the complete album, it being given the number 32 "XXXII" in the sequence ("31" was yet another compilation). For reasons unknown, one track, "Get on This", was dropped. The listing of the album as a 2008 release is therefore correct, but this is a 1993/4 album and needs to be seen in that context.

For this album, Producer Peter Wolf was brought in, the line up remaining unchanged from "Twenty 1", although this time new drummer Tris Imboden plays on all the tracks. Incidentally, the album title comes from Greek mythology, Sisyphus being a king who was punished by the gods by being made to continually push a boulder (stone) up a hill.

The album is sometime hailed as a lost classic, offering a major return to the glory days, and to a certain extent this is true. The opening title track is certainly a horns driven slice of Chicago rock. It remains far more commercial in nature than the band's jazz rock experiments of the early double LPs, but it is pure Chicago. The following "Bigger than Elvis" reverts to the ballad style the band relies so heavily upon on more recent albums. To some extent though the AOR is suppressed, the ambitious vocal arrangement resulting in a highly impressive, if hardly ground breaking song.

Robert Lamm's "All the years" is something of a party piece, with an all-together-now chorus. The track includes radio snippets and a reprise of "The who world's watching" chant from the very first album. The song also appeared on Lamm's solo album "Life Is Good in My Neighborhood". Jason Scheff's "Mah-Jong" similarly appeared on his solo album, this rather funky affair being more in line with material on the band's albums around "VII" to "X". Lamm's second composition, "Sleeping in the Middle of the Bed" sees the band exploring hip hop (honest), the mixture of hard brass based rock and rapping actually working reasonably well.

Scheff's "Let's take a lifetime" is the second ballad of the album, indicating a marked reduction in the quota of that style here. His Peter Cetera like vocal means the track sounds more like the recent output of the band, but the real horns and sympathetic arrangement make for a decent song of its type.

Robert Lamm's third track, "The pull" is the best of his contributions. OK, it is a bit close to the Foreigner/Starship stuff the band released in the late 80's and early 90's, but it is arranged superbly, with screaming lead guitar, brass fills and a powerful vocal.

James Pankow's sole writing contribution, in conjunction with Lamm, is "Here with Me (Candle for the Dark)", a power ballad. Hardly the most distinguished track on the album, but it does bear a nice vocal performance. Bill Champlin co-writes the last three tracks on the regular album. "Plaid" Is a funky pop rock number which demonstrates his ever increasing confidence as a singer, while "Cry for the Lost" is reminiscent of the fine work of Level 42 and indeed of Todd Rundgren.

The final track, "The show must go on" is, like all the songs here, an original not a version of other songs of the same name. Although slightly longer than the other tracks on the album, it is another mid-paced rock song.

The decision by the band's record label to reject this set has to be seen as one of the daftest ever. This album may not represent the band's best work, nor does it signal a total return to their roots, but it is light years better than anything they recorded in the ten years before it was completed. We can only be thankful that good sense eventually prevailed, and it was added to the official discography.

The album boats four "bonus tracks". The first of these, "Love is forever" is a demo from the "Twenty 1" sessions. Given how bad that album was, we might expect that for a song to have been rejected must mean it really stinks. In actual fact, it is an OK ballad, which probably just did not fit. The two following tracks are demos of two tracks on this album, while the final song is an alternative mix of the title track.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#394102) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, February 04, 2011

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