Graham Reid | | 1 min read
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.