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

RM Hubbert: Sunbeam Melts the Hour (2012)

RM Hubbert: Sunbeam Melts the Hour (2012)

Okay, here's what you need to do. Just play the posted track, shut your eyes and try to pick where you think this piece might have come from. Don't read on. If you've done that and... > Read more

The Wedge: So Long Marianne (1969)

The Wedge: So Long Marianne (1969)

Two decades before Straitjacket Fits did their version of this Leonard Cohen classic – which ended up as the b-side to their single Hail and on their Hail album – Wellington's The Wedge... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

YOUSSOU N'DOUR; RETURN TO GOREE, a doco by PIERRE-YVES BORGEAUD (Roadshow DVD)

YOUSSOU N'DOUR; RETURN TO GOREE, a doco by PIERRE-YVES BORGEAUD (Roadshow DVD)

Goree is the island off the coast of Senegal through which thousands of slaves passed on their way to Middle Passage and, if they survived, various parts of the "New World", notably the... > Read more

GRAND DESIGNS: SERIES SIX with KEVIN McCLOUD (Roadshow DVD)

GRAND DESIGNS: SERIES SIX with KEVIN McCLOUD (Roadshow DVD)

Some people watch celebrity chefs on television and buy glossy monthlies with enticing recipes -- and yet still make the same six meals which come easy and never fail. Then there are others... > Read more