|Chicago II (Repackaged)
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Chicago's sophomore album includes the hits \""\""Make Me Smile,\""\"" \""\""Colour My World,\""\"" and \""\""25 or 6 to 4.\""\"" Bonus tracks include the single versions of \""\""Make Me Smile\""\"" and \""\""25 or 6 to 4.\""\""
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Media Type: CD
Title: CHICAGO 2
Street Release Date: 07/16/2002
- Great Album, Unnecisarily Horrible Sound
Not satisfied with the sound on this CD? Pick up a copy of the DVD-A version of Chicago II. The sound is amazing. In fact, the sound is so good, you will wonder why rhino even bothered to press these CD's and waste their time and materials, and our money. Basically, all the LP's and CD's pressed up until now were made from a horribly done stereo mix of the original multi-track tapes. The original multi-track tapes were there all along, but it took more than 3 decades for someone to come along and create a new master from the original tapes. So I thank Rhino for that. But all these years, we have been listening to this horrible version of Chicago II, not even knowing a better sounding copy was even possible. You have never heard these songs sound so well, even from the original LP!
Unfortunately, your MP3 player (or in my case, iPod playing apple lossless) will never have the joy of containing a proper sounding version of this title. Rhino refuses to use these original tapes to give us a CD of similar quality... wich of course would not sound quite as good as the DVD-A, but would still be loads better than the current CD version. But I hope and pray they change their minds....more info
- Their Best By Far
Chicago made three decent albums and then went downhill fast after the death of their best songwriter. The "Make Me Smile" suite is a highlight, as are "Fancy Colours" and the other single, "25 or 6 to 4." (Hey, it only took me 15 years to get that this song is about a guy who's awake at 3:34 or 3:35 a.m.) I also liked the closer (of the original record), "Where Do We Go From Here?" But in retrospect that songs sounds a little too much like their future singles, most of which are abominations on the face of the earth. Anyway, get this if you want a little meat to go with your cheese....more info
- Rhino finally gets it right
Recently I reviewed Rhino's remastered CD of this album, as follows:
I have always loved most of the music on this album (though I do find "It Better End Soon" to be pretty tedious). I was hoping that Rhino's remaster would work a minor miracle with the sound, which was bad even on the original LP that I bought when it was first released. Alas, the latest version STILL sounds lifeless and flat -- a real shame, considering how well some of these songs ROCK. I actually wrote to Rhino and they assured me that the remaster was done from the original master tapes. I'm sure they did as much as they could to improve the sound.
Anyway, this disc is still worth having for the quality of the music alone. The creativity and energy in most of these songs is phenomenal. One great musical moment, often overlooked, is in track 4 when the horns blend seamlessly into Terry Kath's vocal for the final chorus. Sweet!
I'd like to give this four stars, but it loses one for its marginal sound quality. (end of original review)
Well, I just acquired the DVD-Audio version of this album, and to my great delight, it really is significantly better than ALL other versions of this album that I have bought. That includes the LP, which I always thought sounded horribly compressed and distorted.
This disc will never sound quite as clean as I want it to, but I think I have finally bought Chicago II for the last time. The multichannel mix really does open things up, and the whole thing sounds much richer, with deeper bass and less distortion. Thanks, Rhino!...more info
- A great follow-up album with strong writing/performing
I remember this being a strongly anticipated release when it came out on LP. I also remember the disappointment at the quality of the audio on side 2 (the "Ballet"). When I picked up the CD release in the 80s, sadly the quality had not been improved in the transfer. Of course, I had to give the 2002 remaster a try, in the hope that someone had taken the time to do a proper transfer from the original multitracks.
It's not bad; in fact, I do believe it's an improvement over the 80s release. But the "Ballet" still sounds as though it was taken from a copy of a copy of the original tape. The rest of the album sounds just fine; in fact, it looks like the mastering team took plenty of care with the tapes and backed off the aggressive noise reduction used in the 80s. I wish it sounded as good as the first album, but if you listen to the music you won't be disappointed with what this group created!
Incidentally, I've heard some fulsome praise for the DTS (DVD-Audio) release of this album. Don't be deceived; while the DVDA is a bit cleaner than the CD, someone got the bright idea to compress the living heck out of the dynamic range, resulting in another victim of the "loudness war". The remastered CD at least has more dynamics and (again, except for the "Ballet" which benefits from any increase in clarity) is probably your best choice.
- Colour This A Hit
Chicago has always had the ability to make solid, entertaining music. They aren't going to make any major musical statements or blow you away, but they make well crafted pop songs that are spiked with jazz influences. Chicago II is one of their best efforts. "Colour My World" is a sweet ballad with a beautiful, lilting melody and on the other side "25 or 6 to 4" is a rocker with a buzzing guitar. The most impressive part of the album is the musical suite from "Make Me Smile" to "Now More Than Ever" (which was side two of disc one on the original album). Songs slide into one another and the playing is effortless. The band combined the above two songs for a single release that hit the top ten as did "25 or 6 to 4". Chicago had a run in the 70's of five consecutive number one albums, but II which is arguably their best album, only managed to reach number four....more info
- Good, though not as good as the first album
A great sophmore effort by Chicago, though it doesn't compare to their debut. The best songs to be found here are 25 or 6 to 4 (My personal favorite), To Be Free, Poem For the People, and the It Had Better End Soon suite.
However, I have one major problem with this album, and that is the overly-long Ballet for a Girl in Buchanan. A twelve-part suite consisting of mostly either brief instrumental bridges or uninspired lyrics describes it quite nicely, at least in my mind. In fact, there are only four good parts of the suite; 25 or 6 to 4 (A hard, head-banging classic and, as I said, the best song to be found on the album), Now More Than Ever, To Be Free and Color My World. Even then, Color My World scores in the mid-sixes, which is another way of saying "Just barely good". The antiwar suite It Had Better End Soon is a lot stronger.
Where's all the jamming? They should've definitely ditched most of Ballet for something along the lines of Poem 58, South California Purples, or I'm A Man from their debut album. But both Chicago and Chicago II should belong to any classic rock fan.
- Chicago II Review
I have owned many versions of this recording. I am afraid to purchase the new Rhino one though because all of the others were substandard. Chicago II is a great album musically, and I have enjoyed it for years. It just isn't up to their own standard, recording-wise. I have tried to find out why Chicago II was not recorded well, but have been unable to get any information. Even Chicago I was recorded better, much better....more info
- remastering is not remixing
i'm sorry but i have to give my two cents. i haven't bought these remastered versions simply because the original vinyl releases are superior. this is not to say i won't eventually though. analog is the most accurate in that it reproduces the full spectrum of sound. as far as the presence of tape hiss being on remastered cd's, that's a good sign. the older the recording, the more hiss in most cases. it still being there is a sign of the engineer not messing with the mix with noise reduction or re-equalizing, which cannot be done without taking some of the "musicality " away. for me, i have no problem with tape hiss, or the pops and crackles of vinyl; i listen to the MUSIC and therefore any background noise is blocked out. Rhino is usually very good at preserving the orginal sound, as opposed to Motown for example, which when remastering Stevie Wonders classic albums, sucked the life out of the music with obvioius re-equalizing. I praise Rhino for having what i call respect for the original engineers and their hard work(much moreso than today). Long live tape hiss!!!...more info
This album is possibly Chicago's best ever, and that's saying quite a bit.
Chicago was unusual in that they had a horn section in addition to the usual lead, rhythm and bass guitars and percussion. Their lyrics were singable and understable, and their rhythmic and harmonic progressions were to die for.
I purchased my copy just for the "Ballet For A Girl From Buchannon" but the other tracks are well worth listening to as well.
Over the years, I've grown to appreciate much of the excellent rock and roll from the 60's, 70's and 80's. Chicago has certainly stood the test of time, and this album especially so....more info
- Early Peak Chicago
I agree with others that this "early Chicago" is their best. Great instrumentalists (particularly Terry Kath's guitar and Danny Seraphine's drums) and very musically interesting songs with long-lined atypical (but still singable) melodic lines and song structures -- not your usual pop Verse Chorus Verse Chorus Bridge Chorus Chorus pattern.
"25 or 6 to 4" is famous of course, and very catchy, in a more conventional mode (but with a fabulous instrumental section). "In the Country" is equally good, especially with Terry Kath's lead vocals, assisted ably by Peter Cetera. The two long suites (Better End Soon and the Wake Up Sunshine "Ballet") provide a stimulating different path from conventional "songs" at all. In that sense, some of it is almost "classical" in form.
The instrumental jams pack a lot of power, and though they have a lot of dissonance, it isn't painful to listen to.
The political "down with the system" message sounds earnest, though I wonder what ever happened to that anger as Chicago evolved into the poppy ballad-oriented band later in their career (I forget exactly when, but in Chicago V they were still pretty protest-oriented in songs like Dialogue).
Whether you agree with or care about their lyrics, though, it's the musical energy that carries this album to excellence....more info
- THIS IS THE REAL CHICAGE
this cd is faboulous in sound and quality among being one of the best ones they made. great selection and value for the money. extremly satisfied. they are one of the best groups of the 60's and 70's....more info
- Great Songs with Bad Filler = Mixed Bag
So, why do you want to purchase this album? Have a scratched LP copy? Interested in the wonderful music Chicago produced? If so, then here's the plusses and minuses of this purchase. This review is *not* designed to pass judgment on the band as a whole, just about this purchase.
This album has great Chicago songs: Wake Up Sunshine, So Much to Say, So Much to Give, Colour My World, Fancy Colours, 25 or 6 to 4...and over the middle stretch of this originally four sided LP, the album has a thematic structure like a rock opera. Unfortunately, the entire first side (from Moving In to In the Country) has no redeeming value. One boring song after another. Side four (It Better End soon and Where Do We Go From Here) isn't listenable either -- both make lame excuses for Vietnam era songs. If you can't get the great songs any other way, then get this CD....more info
- Chicago's sophomore effort soulfully rocks!
Fans of the band originally known as Chicago Transit Authority have doubled their listening pleasure with their 2 LP debut album. This sophomore effort is a 2 LP set as well featuring 2 Top 10 hits like 25 OR 6 TO 4 and COLOUR MY WORLD. Tracks 7-12 on this CD is a series entitled "A Girl In Buchannon". CMW is part of this series. Track 12,NOW MORE THAN EVER features a reprise of Track 6,MAKE ME SMILE(toward the end of track 12). I also like MOVIN' IN,THE ROAD,FANCY COLOURS and MEMORIES OF LOVE which is a nice,easy listening piece where you'll hear strings,a harp and a flute. Side 4 of the LP(tracks 19-22 on the CD) features another series entitled "It Better End Soon". The tracks are entitled,1ST MOVEMENT,2ND MOVEMENT,3RD MOVEMENT and 4TH MOVEMENT. The other songs are great....more info
- As Fresh Today As When It Was Released
"Chicago II" is Chicago's masterpiece, and it is as vibrant today as when it was first released. The horns are solid, the songs are dynamic, and the vocals are unbelievable. Every song is so tight, so well constructed, that it is nearly an emotional experience listening to it. Actually, it is.
"Movin' In," with Terry Kath on vocals, is an upbeat proclamation of Chicago's intents on the album. "Poem For The People" carries Robert Lamm's social messages from "Transit Authority" a bit further, and his vocals are extraordinary. "The Road," and "In The Country" add to make "side one" memorable. "Wake Up Sunshine" is one of the best ballads Lamm ever came up with, and it is a great lead-in to James Pankow's "Ballet For A Girl In Buchannon," which includes "Make Me Smile" and "Colour My World." What more can be said about this? Kath at his vocal best, and just fantastic song-writing.
"Fancy Colours" and the classic "25 or 6 to 4" lead off the "third side," both of which are Lamm compositions, showing him at his song-writing best. Kath's guitar work on "25 or 6 to 4" is legendary and well deserved so. The surprise is Kath's "AM Mourning" and "PM Mourning," which lead into his soulful "Memories of Love." The strings and horns in these insturmentals are so finely designed that they can bring one close to tears. Outstanding.
The album closes with the opus "It Better End Soon," and Peter Cetera's first composition, "Where Do We Go From Here." "It Better End Soon" is Chicago at its finest. Again, Kath on vocals, and tight horns, building up and punching the listener to and fro... it never got any better than this. Cetera's song is a mite weak, but it is acceptable because it ties the fury of "It Better End Soon" into a hopeful prayer.
This album, in my opinion, stands up to the scrutiny of time just as the best Beatles' albums do. The only down factor of listening to it is knowing what the original Chicago seven was capable of... and how sad it was that it all culminated into sappy pop ballads, and Bill Champlin. Listen to "Chicago II," and you're swept back into the magic of the best of the early 70s....more info
- Great CD but poor sound
After hearing the debut CD Chicago Transit Authority with it's amazing drum sound I was shocked to hear the poor mix they did with the 2nd disc, I am surprised they didn't re-mix this one.
Chicago 2 has a classical influence and is very non-commercial. A nice change....more info
- Great 2nd Album by Adventurous Band
Early Chicago varies vastly from the bland and faceless outfit that delivered a string of hits during the 80s. In contrast to that limp outfit, the Chicago of the late 60s and 70s was an energetic jazz-rock band that few could match. The first few albums were edgy and vigorous, combining the horns of Blood, Sweat and Tears with the acid-rock guitar of Hendrix. In addition, the early years were tremendously fertile: the first 3 albums were all double-LP sets. Following 1969's wild Chicago Transit Authority, 1970's Chicago (aka Chicago II) takes a decidedly poppier direction and employs various "suites". How well does this work?
The first five tracks are the most conventional pieces. All four are relatively poppy Chicago songs, with harmonies, horns and guitar work `a plenty. Nothing too tremendously outstanding, but nothing odd.
Then, we reach the 15 minute "Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon." However, the CD breaks the ballet down into several pieces. We start with "Make me Smile," a blustering song with big horns, fast jazz rhythms, well-executed vocals and chorus, and of course, excellent guitar work. That then segues into shorter pieces like "Anxiety's Moment" and "West Virginia Fantasies," which are pretty much variations on that first track's motif. We then go to "Colour My World," which is a good song caught in the middle of all this. This is followed by "To Be Free," and the ballet concludes with "Now More Than Ever," which is pretty much a reprise and a conclusion to "Make Me Smile" All this reeks of prog rock excess, but its delivered in a surprisingly tasteful manner. Clearly, this is meant to be the centerpiece of the album.
The next songs are more conventional, with nothing really comparing to the awesome "25 or 6 to 4." Man, that track rules. Crazy rhythms, powerful horns and Terry Kath's mind-blowingly awesome wah-wah solo. It's a classic in and of itself!
The last side is comprised of two rather dour songs, and one of them, "It Better End Soon," is split into four parts. It doesn't work as well as the ballet, but its still a good experiment.
Overall, if you're keen to the idea of meshing horns with loud guitars in a daring and tasteful way, check out the album. The main reasons for buying this album are clear: The beauty of the ballet and its primary components ("Make Me Smile" and "Colour My World"), and the monstrously awesome "25 or 6 to 4." The rest of the material makes for a pleasant listen, but nothing truly scales the heights reached by those compositions. As a result of the disparity between the best and the rest, chose to give this album 4 stars.
Again, if you like pop-rock but want a dab of horns and urgency, try this out. If you're looking for something more even more adventurous than that, purchase Chicago Transit Authority. ...more info
- BUYER BEWARE !!!! KEEP YOUR OLD COPIES !!!!
If you already own the Chicago catalog on CD from its original Columbia release or it's Chicago Records release don't bother picking this up. While the packaging Rhino came up with is wonderful, that money would have been better spent on ACTUALLY REMASTERING this classic album.
I compared the "remasters" of CTA, Chicago (II) and Chicago III to the earlier Columbia CD issues. After adjusting the levels to be even the only difference between the 2 CD copies was that the "remasters" had a very blary in-your-face mid range feel that actually buried the vocals and drums at times in the mix. On some tracks it actually became annoying. Not a hint more bottom on the toms or bass guitars, not a hint brighter on the cymbals or other perscussion. There is ALMOST NO increase in overall dynamic range from the original CDs.
If you're into the liner notes and / or packaging then this CD is worth it. HOWEVER if you actual buy CDs for the MUSICAL CONTENT, you are simply wasting your time and money. You can find my copies on [local store], I'll stick with the "[poor]" packing of the originals....more info
- One of the Top Three Chicago CDs
When I was in college in the early 70's this and their first album were all the rage. It seemed that every dance you went to played "Colour My World" as the slow number. I actually got sick of it but have never tired of most of the other tunes, especially "25 or 6 to 4".
I'm listening to the 2002 remastered CD and have to agree with one of the previous reviewers that the sound does seem a little "compressed" or mid-range only and I too always thought that about the vinyl LPs. But, it's still great to listen to and well worth it. Stereo separation is great and tape hiss is not too bad except I did notice it at the beginning of track 19. Some of this is very daring and experimental. Just listen to the 2nd movement of "It Better End Soon" (Track 20) - WOW!! It's clearly one of their top 3 albums. I prefer the album versions but it's great to have the single versions of "Make Me Smile" and "25 or 6 to 4". Total time of the CD is over 73 minutes.
By the way I saw this band recently and they were great!! So go see them if you can. Robert Lamm and the brass section are still first rate. I also have to compliment the new guitar player - can't remember his name (seemed 30 years younger than rest of the band!) but he did an incredible job on "25 or 6 to 4". It rocked like I have NEVER heard it before - thanks for keeping it a guitar-dominated song.
The "It Better End Soon" Suite is much better than I remember it. And, unfortunately, it's as relevant today as it was in 1970. ...more info
- When Chicago was at their best...
"Chicago II" takes the momentum created by their first album, "Chicago Transit Authority" and raises their crisp, clear "sound" to a higher level. The album flows naturally from one song into the next. The listener will get a better feel for "stand-alone" singles like "Make Me Smile", "Colour My World" and "24 or 6 to 4" when they listen to them in the sequence in which they were recorded.
The six song set called Ballet For a Girls in Buchannon is reason alone to get this album. What great songwriting and orchestration!
Earlier reviewers panned the remastering of this album by stating that the "hiss" in the original recording hasn't been improved by 21st Century technology. Don't let a comment like that keep you from purchasing this album. The sound quality is fine and the music far outshadows any recording shortcomings.
For longtime Chicago fans, the remastering of "Chicago II" will be like receiving an early Christmas present. New fans will gain immediate respect for one of the 70's pioneer "brass-oriented" groups. Either way, no one loses with this great album! Enjoy!...more info
- Remastered = Rediscovered
I recently picked up the Rhino remaster of this amazing album and it sounds great. It's strange ... when I go back and listen to albums like 16 thru 19 (which featured some great Chicago tunes in their own right), that material sounds dated to me, yet on this masterpiece the music does not. In my opinion, side one of this record is one of the best album sides ever. I still get goosebumps sometimes listening to songs like Movin' In and The Road....more info
- A Timeless Classic!
Normally, "supergroups" consist of ex-members of previously famous bands, but Chicago a fresh group, easily to be considered a "supergroup". The joyful "Movin' In" is a wonderful soul piece with excellent solos by each of the individual brass instruments in the band. "The Road" is a light, bouncy piece which is lovely when the singer and guitarist play the same thing at the same time. The darker yet beautiful piece "Poem for the People" is a moving addition. Beyond the obvious hits, my outright favorite song on the album is the follower, "In the Country". Clocking in at over six minutes, it is a highly addictive love song with a sweeping chorus that is impossible not to sing out loud. An appropriate follow-up to the previous work, "Wake Up Sunshine" is a great song that, like it's predecessor, has trading off vocal duties between Peter and Terry. The next seven tracks once and for all declare James Pankow one of the greatest songwriters of the century. The "Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon" was written by the trombone player as one 15 minute piece of music, but was broken up into movements on the suggestion of the producer. Thus, "Make Me Smile", "Colour My World", and "25 or 6 to 4" were born, three of the septet's most memorable tracks. The next four songs are pleasantly light little pieces that showcase the band's founder, Walt Parazaider,'s flute playing. Then, the group lets all the angry feelings loose on the anti-war five-piece work "It Better End Soon", which is closed by the lead singer's writing debut, "Where Do We Go from Here", a considerably more positive tune in comparison to the rest of the movements in the piece. The bonus selections are obvious, and nothing gets better than the single versions of "Make Me Smile" and "25 or 6 to 4". This second album from a legendary group is truly an enduring masterpiece....more info
- Chicago II
This album/CD was along with the original Chicago Transit Authority work the very best of CHICAGO. The music will transcend not only decades but perhaps many many decades to come!...more info
- Never understood the "flat" sound of this album
One of Chicago's greatest efforts. I still love the album today from an artistic standpoint. However, ever since 1970 I've wondered why this album has such a incredibly distant, super-compressed, mid-range sound with absolutely no bass or dynamic range? Was it intentional?...more info
- I'm disappointed
This album has always been my favorite by any group. The sound quality on Rhino's "remastered" edition is pitiful. My belief is that they played an old 33 1/3 and recorded it, since there are even skips in the CD version!...more info
- Chicago at its best--even their rock opera is worth the cost
This is Chicago at the real beginning of their career...and this second album is by far their greatest. Compared to all their later material (even without Terry Kath), this is the group's finest hour. The centerpiece of the album, James Pankow's rock opera, "Ballet For A Girl In Buchanon" (which spawned the hit singles "Make Me Smile" and "Colour My World"), alone is worth the cost of this album. Pankow's cantata, written after The Who's "Tommy" but before Webber/Rice's "Jesus Christ, Superstar", may have been Chicago's only attempt at a rock opera, but it is an example of Chicago's innovative sound. All praise, however, should be given to Pankow, and not the group, for propelling this album to great heights. If you're looking for an album to start your Chicago collection, this is it....more info