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

Jimmie John: Solid Rock (1959)

Jimmie John: Solid Rock (1959)

Rockabilly is a genre that seems to enjoy the fact that it doesn't change or grow, develop or move too far from a simple template of a backbeat and the invitation to dance. It is shamelessly... > Read more

LaVern Baker: Voodoo Voodoo (1961)

LaVern Baker: Voodoo Voodoo (1961)

The sudden revival of Wanda Jackson's career - courtesy of Jack White and the album The Party Ain't Over in early 2011 -- has singled her out as a great female rock'n'roller at a time (the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST ARTIST JOSEPHINE CACHEMAILLE on her new exhibition and current practice

GUEST ARTIST JOSEPHINE CACHEMAILLE on her new exhibition and current practice

I am interested in making objects, paintings and installations that provoke questions about our magical thinking tendencies. Magical thinking refers to causal reasoning that looks for... > Read more

Oyster Pie: A "firm favourite" as summer wanes

Oyster Pie: A "firm favourite" as summer wanes

The Bluff oyster season usually opens in March in New Zealand so people might be looking for something more to do with those big, rich delights than just eating them raw or with a splash of... > Read more