Chicago Transit Authority I

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Chicago Transit Authority I
(1969) Columbia label gatefold jacket. Reissue purchased new in 1987 at the Wherehouse in Westwood, I think.  This is a double record set.  Four fabulous sides to enjoy.  This is Chicago’s first album.  The jazz-rock fusion on this album makes me wish they had stayed truer to this sound rather than go down the pop music lane. Interesting reading from the liner notes:

The name of this endeavor is simply “The Chicago Transit Authority.”  For the last thirteen months these seven individuals have performed in Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco as the C.T.A.  So if for nothing else than practical logic, they have chosen to title this work appropriately after their professional identity.  The purpose of this commentary, however, is an attempt at documenting the complete rejection of any name, label, title, or verbal reference relative to the performance contained herein.  Corporately as well as individually, this artist endeavors to be judged in terms of contribution alone rather than through the tag affixed upon it.  The printed word can never aspire to document a truly musical experience, so if you must call them something, speak of the city where all save one were born, where all of them were schooled and bred, and where all of this incredible music went down barely noticed; call them CHICAGO.

On this album Chicago are: Daniel Seraphine drums, James Pankow trombone, Walter Parazaider woodwinds and background vocals, Lee Loughnane trumpet and background vocals, Peter Cetera bass and lead vocals, Terry Kath guitar and lead vocals, Robert Lamm keyboards and lead vocals.

SIDE 1

  1. Introduction  (6:35)
  2. Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?  (4:33)
  3. Beginnings  (7:58)

SIDE 2

  1. Questions 67 And 68  (5:04)
  2. Listen  (3:22)
  3. Poem 58  (8:37)

SIDE 3

  1. Free Form Guitar  (6:53)
  2. South California Purples  (6:10)
  3. I’m A Man  (7:40)

SIDE 4

  1. Prologue, August 29, 1968  (0.57)
  2. Someday (August 29, 1968)  (4:13)
  3. Liberation  (15:41)

This album is all over the place.  Pop tunes, harmonies, horn blasts, then you have 6:53 minutes of Free Form Guitar.  The cover of Steve Winwood’s I’m A Man is one of my favorite tracks. Then listen to the start of Liberation and what comes to mind is The Blues Brothers.  There is definitely a Chicago sound and as the liner notes clearly outline, these artists are what they are because of where they are from.

Chicago Transit Authority I

Tracy Chapman Tracy Chapman

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Tracy Chapman Tracy Chapman
(1988) Elektra label. Original inner sleeve with lyrics. Purchased new at Tower Records Westwood.  A new kind of girl power began in 1988 in music.  Tracy Chapman, Shawn Colvin, Indigo Girls, Wilson Phillips.  This mushrooming of awkward girls with beautiful voices and much to say.  Heavy acoustic guitar, good storytelling.  I saw Tracy Chapman in 1988 for the Amnesty International Human Rights Now! concert tour at the LA Colosseum. She played with Sting, Peter Gabriel, Bruce Springsteen.  Great Show.

SIDE ONE

  1. Talkin’ Bout A Revolution  (2:38)
  2. Fast Car  (4:58)
  3. Across The Lines  (3:22)
  4. Behind The Wall  (1:46)
  5. Baby Can I Hold You  (3:16)

SIDE TWO

  1. Mountains O’ Things (4:37)
  2. She’s Got Her Ticket  (3:54)
  3. Why?  (2:01)
  4. For My Lover  (3:15)
  5. If Not Now  (2:55)
  6. For You  (3:09)

Behind The Wall is a chilling song about domestic abuse.  The song talks about hearing the screaming “behind the wall”.  I can relate to it.  In 1986 I moved to Gardena and shared an apartment with a very nice woman named Tori*.  I worked with a friend of hers and he told me she was looking for a roommate. The apartment was very cool: upstairs unit, two bedrooms with a separate entrance for Tori and one for me.  We hardly ever saw each other.  She was busy doing something (I cannot remember) and I was surfing, working, and goofing around. Tori had a boyfriend. I cannot remember his name.  I do remember he towered over her. This big, thick guy with fists the size of hams. The first night I heard the yelling I stayed in my room with the door shut and listened.  When I heard the smack and the crying I was paralyzed with fear. Then I heard her door slam and he was gone. I never got up to check on her.  I didn’t know what to do. So I did nothing. We weren’t friends.  We weren’t close.  We never did anything together– not even shopping or do laundry together or give each other a lift somewhere. Strictly business.  Somehow I felt it wasn’t my business to interfere.

The next time it happened, I did the same– stayed in my room until I heard his departing door slam.  This time she was crying really hard so I got up and knocked on her bedroom door.  She instantly stopped crying.

“Tori, are you ok?”  No answer.

“Tori, are you ok?”  No answer.

So I went back to my room and closed the door.  The next morning I saw her note on the refrigerator door apologizing for waking me up.  No further explanation. That’s how it would be.  I didn’t do anything further like call the police or confront him. When he hit her again (which he did a few more times), she didn’t do anything about it either.  It was pretty awful. I lived there for about 9 months then found another roommate and moved to North Hollywood.

*not her real name

 

Tracy Chapman Tracy Chapman

The Cars The Cars

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The Cars  The Cars
(1978) Elektra /Asylum label.  Original inner sleeve with lyrics. Purchased new through membership in the Columbia House Record Club. Oh my god did my mom hate it when I would join the Columbia House Record Club!  I don’t think I EVER satisfied my commitment of membership.  EVER.

For those that don’t know what I am referring to let me explain:  The Columbia House Record Club was an opportunity to buy 11 records for  ONE PENNY (plus shipping) if you committed to buying 6 or 8 or 10 more records AT REGULAR PRICE within the next three years.  Every month after receiving your initial 11 you received a Columbia catalog with new releases and a SELECTION OF THE MONTH picked out for you based on your favorites. If you liked the monthly selection you DO NOTHING as it will come to your home automatically in the mail, all you had to do was pay for it at full retail price including shipping. If on the the other hand you didn’t want that month’s selection, you had to send back the reply card by a certain date.  Then the whole process would start all over again the next month.

Sounds simple right?  Well one of the wrinkles was sometimes Columbia House Record Club would send more than one monthly selection for your consideration– these were extra opportunities to enjoy purchasing at home but it also required you to watch the calendar and get that no thank you reply back to them in time or you would end up with that selection.  Then of course there were days when you completely forgot to send the reply in time.  Or your mom didn’t have stamps.  Or you moved 4 times in one year. Or you lived in the dorms.  Or you had “roommates” that signed up but used your name– rright. Bottomline: I loved the Columbia House Record Club.  There’s a great scene in the Coen Brothers film A Serious Man where main character Larry Gopnik is on the phone with the Columbia House Record Club explaining to the caller he had no idea what this club is and that he never signed up for it.  My mom had similar experiences…

SIDE ONE

  1. Good Times Roll  (3:44)
  2. My Best Friend’s Girl  (3:44)
  3. Just What I Needed  (3:44)
  4. I’m In Touch With Your World  (3:31)
  5. Don’t Cha Stop  (3:01)

SIDE TWO

  1. You’re All I’ve Got Tonight  (4:13)
  2. Bye Bye Love  (4:14)
  3. Moving In Stereo  (5:15)
  4. All Mixed Up  (4:14)

And now to this album… The Cars are Ric Ocasek vocals and rhythm guitar; Benjamin Orr vocals and bass; David Robinson drums, percussion, syndrums, and backing vocals; Elliot Easton lead guitar and backing vocals; Greg Hawkes keyboards, percussion, saxophone, and backing vocals.  When this album arrived in the mail I couldn’t wait to play it.  I remember taking it over to Kelli’s house for a party and everybody loved it.  The Cars crossed over between punk and rock and roll in this new wave fashion and they were very popular with my friends.  Surprisingly, with the amount of parties this album has been played at, it is in really good shape.

This is their debut album.  Every track is a solid hit.  I remember seeing The Cars at the US Festival in 1982.  I remember owning Candy O and Panorama— don’t know where those records ended up.  I remember playing this album for the first time for my children– they loved it then and now.  This album never gets old.

 

The Cars The Cars

Carpenters Carpenters

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Carpenters  Carpenters
(1971) A&M label. Original jacket, gatefold styled like an invitation.  Used and I’m completely unsure how I own this record.  This is the third studio album released by the Carpenters.  This brother and sister duo etched their names in pop bedrock with songs like Close To You and We’ve Only Just Begun. What I need to do is find a copy of Close To You as I clearly remember buying that record from Kmart when I was a kid. I remember watching the Carpenters on American Bandstand and freaking out that their drummer was a girl!!! Beyond their tremendous contribution to pop music and forever being the soundtrack to every dentist’s waiting room in America, the tragic loss of Karen Carpenter from the effects of anorexia has stayed with me over the years.  I think her death was the first I had ever heard of resulting from an eating disorder.

SIDE ONE

  1. Rainy Days And Mondays  (3:40)
  2. Saturday  (1:20)
  3. Let Me Be The One  (2:25)
  4. (A Place To) Hideaway  (3:40)
  5. For All We Know  (2:34)

SIDE TWO

  1. Superstar  (3:49)
  2. Druscilla Penny  (2:18)
  3. One Love  (3:23)
  4. Bacharach/David Medley  (5:25)
  5. Sometimes  (2:52)

The jacket for this album is one of those designs that makes me wish we had never left albums. The heavy material and notched closure like an invitation makes such a neat and tidy presentation.  And it really protects the album inside from dust and damage.  Listening to this music reminds me of 1970’s variety TV shows, my mom’s Jewish friend Susie who really loved the Carpenters, and listening to Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 Countdown on my transistor radio.  And the Bacharach/David medley reminds me of the SNL sketch with Ana Gasteyer and Will Ferrell singing hits with keyboard and polyester.

Carpenters Carpenters

Kate Bush The Red Shoes

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Kate Bush The Red Shoes
(1993)  EMI label.  Original inner sleeve with lyrics.  Purchased from Acoustic Sounds catalog.  This is the last LP I own by Kate Bush.  I have Aerial on cd.  Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Prince all appear on this album.  According to the liner notes this album is dedicated to the memory of Kate’s mother Hannah.

SIDE ONE

  1. Rubberband Girl  (4:44)
  2. And So Is Love  (4:18)
  3. Eat The Music  (5:11)
  4. Moments Of Pleasure  (5:17)
  5. The Song Of Solomon  (4:28)
  6. Lily  (3:53)

SIDE TWO

  1. The Red Shoes  (4:02)
  2. Top Of The City  (4:14)
  3. Constellation Of The Heart  (4:47)
  4. Big Stripey Lie  (3:33)
  5. Why Should I Love You?  (5:02)
  6. You’re The One  (5:51)

My favorite tracks are Lily, The Red Shoes, and Why Should I Love You?.  Lily because it has the otherworldly quality of side 2 of Hounds of Love.  The Red Shoes because of its jam and rhythm. And Why Should I Love You? because of the Prince collaboration. This is it for the albums of Kate Bush.  When I am in the mood to “put on a record” I would select The Dreaming or Hounds of Love— they remain my go to.

Kate Bush The Red Shoes

Kate Bush The Sensual World

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Kate Bush The Sensual World
(1989) Columbia label. Original inner sleeve with lyrics.  Purchased used at Record Surplus in Westwood in 1991. By the time I purchased this album I was deep in the collecting of anything I could find by Kate Bush.  However, I didn’t listen to her as much.  My life was changing.  I was pregnant with my first child.  My life was in transition on every level possible.  Unhappy at my job.  Afraid for the future.  Unsure how I was going to care for this child.  It was a tumultuous time.  There were also moments of quiet joy flitting in and out of the chaos.

SIDE 1

  1. The Sensual World  (3:56)
  2. Love And Anger  (4:43)
  3. The Fog  (5:01)
  4. Reaching Out  (3:16)
  5. Heads We’re Dancing  (5:17)

SIDE 2

  1. Deeper Understanding  (4:45)
  2. Between A Man And A Woman  (3:28)
  3. Never Be Mine  (3:41)
  4. Rocket’s Tail  (4:06)
  5. This Woman’s Work  (3:34)
Kate Bush The Sensual World

Kate Bush The Whole Story

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Kate Bush The Whole Story
(1986) EMI America label.  Gatefold jacket, purchased used in 1989 at Penny Lane Records Westwood.  This album is a greatest hits package.  Rather than discuss each track, I am going to link the youtube videos for each song.  Kate Bush’s videos are very artistic and usually well produced.  Many times they are Kate in a costume, in typical 80’s fashion–close up of her expressive eyes and her face over gesturing for the sake of the video. But some of them are storytelling productions.  Look for Donald Sutherland in Cloudbursting.  Remember, as her career was gaining momentum, MTV and video releases were a major part of a marketing package.  It allowed for a whole new arena for artists to stretch their creativity.

SIDE ONE

  1. Wuthering Heights
  2. Cloudbursting
  3. The Man With The Child In His Eyes
  4. Breathing
  5. Wow
  6. Hounds Of Love

SIDE TWO

  1. Running Up That Hill
  2. Army Dreamers
  3. Sat In Your Lap
  4. Experiment IV
  5. The Dreaming
  6. Babooshka
Kate Bush The Whole Story

Kate Bush Running Up That Hill EP

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Kate Bush Running Up That Hill EP
(1985) EMI America label.  Purchased used in 1991 probably at Record Surplus in LA.  This is an EP with three tracks.  Again, purchased for the previously unreleased material.

SIDE 1

  1. Running Up That Hill (extended version)   (5:56)

SIDE 2

  1. Running Up That Hill (instrumental)  (4:57)
  2. Under The Ivy  (2:11)

Listening today as I write, makes this the second time I have ever listened to this album.

Kate Bush Running Up That Hill EP

Kate Bush Hounds Of Love

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Kate Bush  Hounds Of Love
(1985) EMI Manhattan label. Purchased new Tower Records Westwood in 1989.  Recorded entirely in Kate’s home studio– she had complete artistic control. Running Up That Hill was her first US hit.  I remember when it had airplay.  But at the time it didn’t make me start to collect her albums.  It wasn’t until 1989 that I began collecting Kate Bush albums. Credit goes to two individuals I worked with who were really into Kate Bush and one of them gave me The Dreaming to listen to on cassette.  It was one of those conversations where someone will be surprised that you are not into a particular artist or group.  And you think to yourself… “yeah, I wonder why I am NOT into him/her/them?”  Timing is everything.

1

  1. Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)
  2. Hounds Of Love
  3. The Big Sky
  4. Mother Stands For Comfort
  5. Cloudbursting

2

  1. And Dream Of Sheep
  2. Under Ice
  3. Waking The Witch
  4. Watching You Without me
  5. Jig Of Life
  6. Hello Earth
  7. The Morning Fog

The mystical line between this life and the after life; parenting relationships; physics energy and awareness larger than our puny human lives can comprehend– all explored in this album.  On the surface it is reported that the story of this record is about a person floating on the sea and struggling to stay awake/stay alive.  There may be something to this. I think you could also make a comparison between this album and Pink Floyd’s The Wall– there are many audio similarities.

I prefer to look at the gems hidden in each song.  Lines such as “I just know that something good is gonna happen.  I don’t know when but just saying it could even make it happen” speaking again to how our words can have power to effect change from Cloudbursting.  In Watching You Without Me the metronome click of the clock and the bending of the synthesizers, and the repetition of the words “you can’t hear me” sung backwards is spooky and I imagine truthful on some level.  And don’t get me started on Jig Of Life– the strings, the drums, the timing– “I put this moment here.  I put this moment here.  I put this moment over HERE.”

I love this album.  I dedicate it to my son and my daughters.  Play this and remember me when I am no longer here– and magically I will be with you.  I promise.

Kate Bush Hounds Of Love

Kate Bush Kate Bush

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Kate Bush  Kate Bush Mini LP
(1983) EMI America label mini LP. Purchased used and I have no recollection where or when.  This mini LP has five tracks.  Three are from The Dreaming, one is from the Live EP, and the other is the French version of The Infant Kiss from Never For Ever

SIDE 1

  1. Sat In Your Lap  (3:29)
  2. James And The Cold Gun  (6:20)

SIDE 2

  1. Babooshka  (3:20)
  2. Suspended in Gaffa  (3:56)
  3. Un Baisser D’Enfant  (3:00)

This is another example of collecting everything you can get your hands on from or by a particular artist.  I have all of the tracks on this LP with exception of the last one on SIDE 2– which is why I bought this.  You find these single tracks on EPs/mini LPs or released in other countries and as a collector you snap them up.  Then boxed sets come out and these limited or previously unreleased tracks come out and you think, “Well, now I have that one again”.

Kate Bush Kate Bush