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Chicago - 1980 Chicago XIV



ARTIST: Chicago
ALBUM: Chicago XIV
LABEL: Columbia
SERIAL: FC 36517
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: 1995, Chicago Records, CRD-3014 * 2003, Rhino (USA), R2 76183 (bonus, remaster)

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Peter Cetera - bass, vocals * Robert Lamm - keyboards, vocals * Laudir De Oliveria - percussion * Lee Loughane - trumpet, vocals * James Pankow - trombone * Walter Parazaider - woodwinds * Danny Seraphine - drums

Additional Musicians: Chris Pinnick - guitar * Mark Goldenberg - guitar * David Wolinski - keyboards * Ian Underwood - programming

TRACK LISTING: 01 Manipulation * 02 Upon Arrival * 03 Song For You * 04 Where Did The Lovin' Go * 05 Birthday Boy * 06 Hold On * 07 Overnight Cafe * 08 Thunder And Lightning * 09 I'd Rather Be Rich * 10 The American Dream

WEBLINKS: www.chicagotheband.com


Background
My original intent for some time has been to review the 1970 self-titled Chicago album. A classic in every sense of the word, we'll definitely get to it in the future but recently snatching up the majority of their catalog on CD, quite inexpensively I might add, has forced an unforeseen change of heart towards the band's fourteenth album released in 1980. Not a good year for the windy city outfit as record buyers shifted their fickle tastes away from Chicago's fusiony rock to arena dominating AOR and more importantly new wave pop. Gone quicker than a bad perm was guitarist Donnie Dacus following the way-too disco influenced '13' and sales overall were plummeting which didn't go unnoticed with the top brass at CBS. Replacing Dacus with session guitarist Chris Pinnick and bringing in producer Tom Dowd (Allman Brothers, James Gang, Lynyrd Skynyrd) gave the band the opportunity to update their sound but again, no one was buying what Chicago were selling.


The Songs
Certainly not helped by CBS who did little to promote 'XIV'; it's safe to assume name recognition alone propelled the album to #71 at Billboard. Two singles were minor hits and I do remember hearing Peter Cetera's tear-jerking 'Song For You' on the radio once in a great while although the more typically Chicago 'Thunder and Lightning' did significantly better, almost but not quite hitting the top 40. Looking back both songs should have placed higher on the charts and while the LP is not without shortfalls, it's much better than the critical drubbing it received at the time. Yes, noticeably missing is their trademark brass and orchestration in favor of the-then trendy stripped down approach although horns are used to great effect on the hard rocking opener 'Manipulation' with vocals from Robert Lamm and the rich mid-tempo balladry of 'Upon Arrival' as well as 'Where Did The Lovin' Go' which are both pure Peter Cetera. From here the album hits some difficult moments. 'Hold On' is a rather average AOR rocker that sounds painfully forced with an uninspired chorus and the less I attention I give to the reggae influenced 'Overnight Cafe' the better although 'I'd Rather Be Rich'; a holdover from 1975 is no great shakes either and probably should have stayed in that year. James Pankow's edgy 'The American Dream' closes the album as one of the better tracks and is as lyrically relevant as it was in the Jimmy Carter era.


In Summary
A recommended listen and while far from their peak, some fine moments for those willing to give the record a chance. Rhino did a wonderful job on their 2003 reissue of 'XIV' including three bonus tracks, two of which were previously unreleased. Buy before it disappears.


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Comments
#1 | rkbluez on July 03 2012 18:01:31
I like this one as they tried to rock out a little more with good result.
 
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