What does it sound like?:
I was rather surprised to read late last year that Steven Wilson had been asked to remix this album, given that he’s best known for his work with prog artists such as Yes and Jethro Tull.
Nevertheless, I’m pleased to report that he’s done a superb job on this, Chicago’s second album, originally released as a double set back in 1970. Listeners mainly familiar with the band’s much later period of AOR music may not be aware of their terrific early albums, which contained a heady combination of blues, rock and soul powered by a terrific brass section and even combined at times with some politically charged lyrics. The album combines a selection of shorter pieces such as the big hit single ’25 or 6 to 4’, with a number of longer more ambitious and dramatic compositions. Overall these have aged remarkably well, although there are one or two parts, especially lyrically, that are a bit ‘of their time.’
The downside of the original sprawling set was the quality of the recording process used, which gave the whole thing rather a muddy sound. The work Steven Wilson has done in remixing the original master tapes is nothing short of a revelation – so many new sounds, so much musical detail now springs into sonic clarity for the first time. Songs like the epic centre piece of the album ‘Ballet For A Girl In Buchannon’ have never sounded so good before. It’s almost like listening to a different album compared to the original. I’d go as far as to say this is one of the most successful remixes Wilson has done, and I speak as one who’s pretty familiar with most, if not all, of them.
What does it all *mean*?
If you’ve never heard this music before, there’s no better way to hear it than on this new take on a classic album. Astonishing to think it’s almost fifty years old now!
Goes well with…
A glass or two of good bourbon..
Might suit people who like…
Rock, blues, soul, brass, inventionary music, it’s all here.