Chicago Transit Authority: Free Form Guitar (1969)

 |   |  1 min read

Chicago Transit Authority: Free Form Guitar (1969)

This band -- who later shortened their name and became simply "Chicago" -- have appeared at Elsewhere previously with their thunderous and extended version of the old Spencer Davis Group hit I'm a Man (here).

The point was made then that after a fine start as an underground and somewhat radical band -- their debut double album from which this and I'm a Man come from had recordings of black militant speakers at the '68 Democratic Convention in Chicago -- they morphed into a real MOR outfit.

The band's guitarist Terry Kath -- who died of an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound in'78 -- was an early contender to be introduced into that pantheon of legendary guitarists alongside Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton et al.

On the CTA debut album he opened with lengthy workout simply entitled Introduction which -- with the horns -- owed as much to James Brown funk, Latin music and Duke Ellington as it did the emerging acid rock scene.

But his real statement was in Free Form Guitar (in a Spinal Tap-like moment it was entitled Free From Guitar on many copies of the album. cf Tap's Clam Caravan/Calm Caravan). This extended solo exploration of feedback and noise -- he plugged his guitar direct into the amp and let fly -- owed a nod to Hendrix of course . . . but in its unadorned purity (no effects) these seven minutes come at you like the template for the pure noise experiments of Sonic Youth, Gate and others.

For more one-off or unusual songs with an interesting backstory see From the Vaults

Share It

Your Comments

Grahamn Hooper - Aug 27, 2016

Reminds me of Stoned Guitar By Human Instinct But the Hendrix influence is Strong ..

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

National Lampoon: I'm A Woman (1975)

National Lampoon: I'm A Woman (1975)

Before they got into movies like Animal House and the Vacation series (with Chevy Chase), National Lampoon was a satirical magazine which also delivered a very funny sideline in records such as... > Read more

The Pretty Things: Don't Bring Me Down (1964)

The Pretty Things: Don't Bring Me Down (1964)

Most people lie about their school days: no one wants to admit they were ordinary. Better to say you hung around behind the bike shed, that teachers and kids hated you for your music, clothes or... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Joe Bonamassa: Blues of Desperation (Southbound)

Joe Bonamassa: Blues of Desperation (Southbound)

Despite commercial success and enthusiastic audiences at his shows, bluesman Bonamassa is also a divisive figure: many blues guitarists for example see him only as a sum of his considerable... > Read more

LISA MARIE PRESLEY REMEMBERED (2015): A child of her time

LISA MARIE PRESLEY REMEMBERED (2015): A child of her time

Mercer Ellington did it, so did two of Sinatra's kids Frank Jnr and Nancy. Two Lennon's and George Harrison's son Dhani did it too (in fact every Beatle has a kid who's done it). So did a few... > Read more