Chicago Transit Authority I

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.


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


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


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


  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

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