While I treasure the early Chicago albums for their jazzy experimentation and prog rock moves, ‘VIII’ has plenty to offer with a clutch of outstanding tracks.
Written by: Eric
ALBUM: Chicago VIII
SERIAL: PC 33100
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Peter Cetera – bass, lead and backing vocals * Terry Kath – electric and acoustic guitars, lead and backing vocals * Robert Lamm – keyboards, lead and backing vocals * Lee Loughnane – trumpet, backing vocals * James Pankow – trombone, brass arrangements * Walter Parazaider – sax, flute, clarinet * Danny Seraphine – drums * Laudir de Oliveira – percussion
TRACK LISTING: 01 Anyway You Want * 02 Brand New Love Affair – Part I and II * 03 Never Been In Love Before * 04 Hideaway * 05 Till We Meet Again * 06 Harry Truman * 07 Oh, Thank You Great Spirit * 08 Long Time No See * 09 Ain’t It Blue * 10 Old Days
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Doing a quick Google search I was surprised to find there’s not a whole lot of love for Chicago’s 7th album from both fans and critics alike and it’s hard to understand why? Everything on the Internet must be true right? Whatever, but as the story goes Chicago was burnt out from constant touring and had little to offer in the way of material for a new record and in turn moved towards a simpler approach, away from the brass heavy jazz rock that was their calling card to a straight rock sound.
This was not necessarily a bad thing and while I treasure the early Chicago albums for their jazzy experimentation and prog rock moves, ‘VIII’ has plenty to offer with a clutch of outstanding tracks. The album kicks off with Peter Cetera’s bouncy ‘Anyway You Want’ and nothing to be ashamed of while the dramatic ‘Brand New Love Affair – Part I and II’ with Terry Kath’s soulful vocals became a moderately charting single.
Glory Daze readers will thrill over ‘Never Been In Love Before’ which points directly to the AOR balladry Chicago would become famous for a decade later. Well done. But I’m not sure what to make of ‘Harry Truman’? The tune sounds suspiciously like Randy Newman and even reached #13 on the Billboard charts, yet as fun as it is, it seems just a tad out of place on the record.
Kath returns with his Jimi Hendrix tribute ‘Oh, Thank You Great Spirit’ and cuts loose with his trademark red-hot soloing. Although it’s the closing hook-drenched ‘Old Days’ which proves how talented this band were in the face of alleged exhaustion that they were still able to pull off a classic of 70’s pop.
‘VIII’ was the first Chicago album I ever heard from start to finish and in their vast catalog, it’s one of a handful of the band’s output I reach for when I need a fix. The still in print Rhino reissue contains three bonus tracks including two previously unreleased cuts and a swinging live version of the classic Duke Ellington jazz standard ‘Satin Doll’ making for an essential purchase.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)