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CHICAGO X

Chicago

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Chicago Chicago X album cover
3.02 | 59 ratings | 5 reviews | 8% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Once Or Twice (3:01)
2. You Are On My Mind (3:24)
3. Skin Tight (3:20)
4. If You Leave Me Now (3:58)
5. Together Again (3:53)
6. Another Rainy Day In New York City (3:03)
7. Mama Mama (3:31)
8. Scrapbook (3:28)
9. Gently I'll Wake You (3:36)
10. You Get It Up (3:34)
11. Hope For Love (3:04)

Total Time: 38:01

Bonus tracks on 2003 remaster:
12. I'd Rather Be Rich (Original Version/Rehearsal) (2:37)
13. Your Love's An Attitude (6:00)

Line-up / Musicians

- Terry Kath / guitars, lead (1,11,13) & backing vocals
- Robert Lamm / keyboards, lead (8,9,12) & backing vocals, string arrangements (9)
- James Pankow / trombone, lead (2) vocals, brass arrangements (5)
- Lee Loughnane / trumpet, lead (5) & backing vocals
- Walter Parazaider / woodwinds, vocals
- Peter Cetera / bass, lead (3,4,6,7) & backing vocals
- Daniel Seraphine / drums, vocals
- Laudir de Oliveira / percussion

With:
- James William Guercio / acoustic guitar & bass (4), guitar (11), producer
- David Wolinski / piano & Mellotron (11)
- Jimmie Haskell / string & French horn orchestration (4,7), string conductor (9)
- Othello Molineaux / steel drums (6)
- Leroy Williams / steel drums (6)

Releases information

Artwork: John Berg with Nick Fasciano

LP Columbia ‎- 34200 (1976, US)

CD CBS/Sony ‎- 28DP 1008 (1987, Japan)
CD Rhino Records ‎- R2 76179 (2003, US) Remaster w/ 2 bonus tracks from 1975, prev. unreleased

Thanks to snobb for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

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CHICAGO Chicago X ratings distribution


3.02
(59 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
8%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(14%)
14%
Good, but non-essential (56%)
56%
Collectors/fans only (19%)
19%
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)
3%

CHICAGO Chicago X reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Kazuhiro
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars There might have been some changes in the market and flows of revitalization as a diversification of music and a change in the situation since the middle of the 1970's. The definition of Rock that consisted by the latter half of the especially 70's to some degree had the part that existed as an opinion that drew the flow that had been established. Insistence on part besides politics and system. Music represented the listener's existence and insistence and there was a part where the activity that influenced the society had been at least approved for the item of Rock in the 70's.

The form of Rock in the 70's will present the aspect that changes completely before long with the existence of Punk Rock in the latter half of the 70's. It might also have had the flow made a ruin as a style superficially received from young people.

However, the music character of Chicago where shape and the message existed partially of the symbol as a strong part and Rock might have acquired a wide-ranging oppositely fan in the flow that took the part of construction and POP of the refined music character and repeated groping. It will have been time of "V" from which the part where the tendency had appeared gradually had been announced in 1972. This time was time when the element as Brass Rock had been suited enough. Single Hit was made to succeed one after another while putting out the color of the sociality and the message and it ensured existence as one group.

The flow that the album to announce afterwards also contributes to the chart has been established. It is also certain that the part where shape concerning the composition of Peter Cetera and Robert Lamm began to appear mutually and clearly at this time is remarkably projected to the album.

And, there was a part that was not the form that acted around an originally complete leader for the group in the band. The part of the composition and the song might be in simple Jazz Rock and Brass Rock because each member was related and there be a flow that did not become it either in Chicago.

However, it is also certain that there were some frictions for circumstances in the band. Sensibility of POP that Peter Cetera has. Or, it is a flow of the directionality of Robert Lamm and Terry Kath that tried to emphasize the part of a more novel idea and Rock to the music character of Chicago. And, the member might always have been stimulating each other with James William Guercio that always supported the music character of the band.

The position of this album is hit at the time of maturity as the band exactly established when thinking about the situation and the history of the band. Fact to which "If You Leave Me Now" that had been collected to this album acquired the first place of single for the first time for band in the United States. Or, the point that James Pankow and Lee Loughnane take charge of the song by the tune. The band exactly announced the work it made to the tenth work and with evenness.

"Once Or Twice" is straight Rock And Roll where the music character of Terry Kath appears. The Horn section and ensemble are splendidly constructed. Melody of Funky with piano. Or, the dash feeling that you may combine Solo of Sax is given.

"You Are On My Mind" is a tune by James Pankow. And, James Pankow takes charge of the song. Exhilaration one feels in which you may make the rhythm of Samba a base are produced. The melody of Brass remarkably shows the music character of Chicago. The flow that construction and the tension of the part and the melody by the chorus are introduced well might be good.

"Skin Tight" is a tune with the element of Jazz Funk where the originality of Chicago appears. As for the chorus and the melody to get on complete Groove, the band gives a good arrangement to the progress of Chord of the base of Rock And Roll. The part of Solo of the guitar and a few Bluesy is suitable for the tune well, too.

"If You Leave Me Now" is a tune where the element of POP and Love Song of Peter Cetera appears completely. Progress of beautiful melody and Chord. Strings are effectively introduced and the width of the album has been expanded as a complete Love ballade.

"Together Again" is a tune by Lee Loughnane. Progress of melody with exhilaration one feels in which age is caught. Or, the melody with an anacatesthesia and a transparent feeling in which it introduces it on the way. The composition in which the sound of the decoration twines round the part of the tune to recollect their initial works might be splendid. The atmosphere of this tune is succeeded by the content of "XI".

"Another Rainy Day In New York City" has introduced the element of the calypso as a basis of the rhythm. A fresh impression is given to the listener overall while mixing the progress of Chord with expression of feelings.

"Mama Mama" is a tune with the atmosphere of good AOR that catches the age. Progress of melody and Chord with transparent feeling and exhilaration one feels. The impression of the tune is completely decided while effectively introducing strings. The flexibility of the band appears in the melody of Brass. However, the tendency to the work at this time might have been time as the impression of the tune when the element of POP and AOR a little had begun to appear. It might be proof from which the music character of Peter Cetera is gradually projected to the work.

"Scrapbook" is a tune of which the element of Jazz Funk has gone out. Part where emphasized song and sound effect were introduced. A good music character of Robert Lamm might appear originally in the part where the complex melody that the band had had was used well. It is possible to improve it as a tune with the element of Funk. The guitar of Terry Kath is perfect.

In "Gently I'll Wake You", a beautiful piano melody and a gentle chorus are features. And, the width of the tune has been expanded by effectively introducing the melody of Bluesy. It is a tune where the idea of Robert Lamm shines. There is a part where an initial work is a little reminiscent as the impression.

"You Get It Up" is a tune where the arrangement of the band shines. Part of arrangement by Brass. The flavor of complete Jazz Funk and the flavor of Soul Music might go out ahead. The work of the guitar and the keyboard twines round the tune well. There is little song. However, it can enjoy the capability of the band enough.

"Hope For Love" is a tune by Terry Kath. The music character of Terry Kath is indeed flexible. The flow of a beautiful ballade might be suitable for the end of this album. Part of grand melody and strings. The impression with a good melody of the piano and the emphasized song is given.

The band that established it while constructing the directionality of groping and the band at this time tried to enter the next step indeed with fame. The band was exactly rushing into at the time of maturity.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars How could we let it slip away

Having suffered from collective exhaustion during the recording of "Chicago VIII", the band took their time in returning to the studio to record their next album. To retain the public's attention, a greatest hits album was released in the meanwhile, being given the sub- title "Chicago IX" in the numeric discography. In retrospect, this proved to be a classic case of bad timing, as the band's biggest singles success and first ever number one was to appear on "Chicago X".

It was spring 1976 before Chicago got around to recording "Chicago X", the group once again retiring to deepest Colorado (USA) for the sessions. By now, any remaining hints of the jazz rock band which recorded their innovative early albums had been firmly cast aside, in the studio at least. The longest track on this album runs to under 4 minutes, the tracks being simple, commercially orientated pop affairs. Despite this, the song which sealed the band's destiny, the Grammy award winning "If you leave me now", was actually a last minute addition.

Peter Cetera had presented "If you leave me now" to the band who, while impressed with the results of the recording, felt that it was not a Chicago song. Producer James Guercio however was struggling to find a guaranteed hit single on the album, and over- ruled any misgivings the band had about its inclusion. The song will be familiar to virtually everyone, being one of radio's most played songs over the years. It may be a smooth, romantic ballad, awash with strings, but it touched a chord with the record buying public and the rest is history. Despite the fact that by this time the band had been all but forgotten outside their native USA, the single found success throughout the world, reminding us at least what a fine band Chicago once were.

It should not therefore be assumed that "If you leave me now" is representative of the album as a whole, it is not. The opening "Once or twice" is a thunderous slice of boogie rock, Terry Kath's gruff vocal being reminiscent of fellow traveller David Clayton Thomas (BS&T). As a committed non-singer in the band, James Pankow traditionally "auditioned" the band's singers before deciding who should sing his compositions. When it came to "You are on my mind" though, he found that none of the singers captured the song the way he envisioned. The result is that he makes his vocal début here, and does a decent job of it too. It is fair to say the hustle nature of the composition is hardly vocally testing, but the arrangement is one of the more interesting on the album.

Pankow allows Peter Cetera to deliver "Skin tight", a song which, despite a good horn arrangement, is one of the worst recorded by the band up to this point. Lee Loughnane's "Together again" continues the pop rock, although the incorporation of time changes in the song does at least offer something a little more challenging. Robert Lamm's "Another rainy day in New York City", sung once again by Cetera, was also plucked from the album as a successful single release. The song has a bit of a reggae/calypso rhythm, clearly designed to attract pop buyers.

Cetera's domination of the album continues with his self composed "Mama mama", a mid- paced piece of smooth pop saved by a good horn arrangement. Robert Lamm's three compositions on the album are played back to back, Lamm taking lead vocals on two, while the band collectively sing the third. "Scrapbook" is a funky reminiscence of various artists the band have toured with over the years (Zappa, Hendrix, the Beach Boys and The Mothers all get a name check). "Gently I'll wake you" is inevitably a soft ballad, Lamm's multi-tracked vocals being decidedly un-Chicago like. "You get it up" is little more than a piece of collective buffoonery. The album closes with Terry Kath's "Hope for love", a pleasing ballad featuring mellotron (played by David Wolinski), Kath's soulful vocals being perfectly suited to his song.

While the band may have returned to the studio invigorated after their break, it seems their collective yearning for commercial success was winning the battle against their artistic integrity. While the brass section is still here, it is firmly relegated to a supporting role throughout, the emphasis being repeatedly placed on finding a hit single. The fact that the album spawned what for many is now the band's signature song is something of a double edged sword. It may have vindicated their efforts to find chart success, but it drew the band into territories already well served by many other pop acts, while depriving the jazz rock world of one of its finest ambassadors.

Review by Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars One could say that CHICAGO X was the 'Dark Side Of The Moon' for the band's career - for sure the commercial success of the album attaining Grammy awards for best album packaging (a gatefold LP with a picture of a partially unwrapped 'Chicago' stamped chocolate bar on the outer, and an amusing police-chase scene on the inner, an inner sleeve & lyrics sheet) along with the Hit Single (with a bullet, actually, several bullets world-wide - going to 'If You Leave Me Now') indeed garnered them a household name and plenty of bucks. All said, the musicality and execution of the 11 songs presented on this release are, for the most part, flawless. Accessible for sure, it's catchy and many melodies are memorable, the instrumental display, at times, impressive. This is the only album I've noticed to have every track over 3 minutes and under 4 minutes. Said smash hit, the Cetera penned 'If You Leave Me Now' was a last minute addition to the album (and it does show), forced by manager and director James William Guercio (whose dictatorship would dissolve after the following album) sees Cetera taking the lead vocal and acoustic guitar duties (Guercio on bass) along with a rather wistful Orchestral arrangement backing the track - well, for this listener it's a pleasant M.O.R. ride with some unusual key changes amongst its structure, but for most it may be a horribly over- played and way-too-pedestrian ballad. This piece paved the way for future Cetera successes and showed him off as a great singer/songwriter - but having many forget what a great Bassist he actually is (or can be). Keyboardist Robert Lamm has expanded on his choice of sounds by utilising varied e-piano textures, and adding occasional mini-moog and Hammond parts here and there. Elsewhere, there are some minor gems to be found as 'You Are On My Mind' (with excellently placed drum fills from Danny Seraphine), the funkiness of 'Skin Tight' (which boasts a great bass-line and a top brass arrangement), and the band jam 'You Get It Up' (a blowing groove with killer bass (again) from Cetera - and being a bassist, I listen closely to what he does - many may be inspired by his approach). Overall, quite an acceptable album of classic-rock/brass-rock which some Proggers may find engaging elements within. Any weaknesses I can attribute go to the syrupy 'Mama Mama', 'Hope For Love' (which colleague David Wolinski couldn't save with his mellotron...) and the try-hard ballsiness of 'Gently I'll Wake You' (with a rather goofy piano riff) . 3 stars never-the-less.
Review by Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Being a fan of Chicago has been at times an extremely rewarding attraction and at other times an incredibly frustrating one. After hearing them initially in '69 when they opened up a Jimi Hendrix concert I attended they quickly became one of my favorite bands and I almost wore the grooves out of their first three double LPs because they were so progressive-minded and innovative. I developed a real sense of kinship with them. But, like all extended family members can, they began to test my patience. My Chicago cousins started to delve into realms they were unsuited for, moves I found perplexing and, on occasion, downright idiotic. Instead of continuing to develop their unique ability to fuse rock with jazz they foolishly wandered into other genres because they liked them, not because they were talented at working in them. It happens. I get it. But it's one thing to admire, say, The Rolling Stones, quite another to incorporate their sound into yours without coming off as a cheap imitation. I attribute the uneven nature of albums V and VI to that tendency. The courageous return they made to their fusion foundations on VII was cause for exuberant celebration but just one year later they plunged to rock bottom with the dull, lifeless VIII, leaving me scratching my head in confusion. So in 1976 they were at a crucial fork in the road and I wondered which path they'd take. Finally, after 15 months of waiting (and not being appeased by a greatest hits package in the interim), I got my answer in the form of number X. Unfortunately it didn't bode well as to where their future endeavors would be headed.

They begin with guitarist Terry Kath's "Once or Twice," a tune that can't be categorized as being anything other than full-frontal rock & roll with no apologies offered. While not all that memorable the enthusiasm they exude at least makes it appear that all eight members were on the same page once again after looking like F-Troop rejects on the mess that was VIII. Trombonist James Pankow's "You Are On My Mind" fosters hope for better things. It's a jazzy little number with a subtle Latin feel and a funky middle section that provides a healthy amount of contrast. Both Pankow's vocal debut on the track and his ever-reliable trombone make a good impression. His "Skin Tight" is next, a slice of contemporary funk with a big band attitude where the bright horns and Kath's spunky guitar really stand out. At this point I felt pretty optimistic about the direction they were going in but that bubble of anticipation burst as soon as Peter Cetera's schmaltzy "If You Leave Me Now" commenced to play. I realize this wasn't the first time they'd waded into the pop ballad pool but it was the first time they'd so blatantly bathed in it. What I'm saying is that inside songs like "Wishing You Were Here" and "Color My World" there were still ingredients that identified it as being a product of Chicago but this tepid tune could've been done by Barry Manilow and no one would've known the difference. I've read that they had serious misgivings about it and that it was their overbearing producer James Guercio who insisted they include this saccharine cup cake on the record but, in the end, they have to take responsibility for giving in to his demands. Despite the fact that the song became their first #1 hit single the damage it did to their already fading reputation as rebels was devastating. From that moment on they ceased to be viewed as serious jazz/rock fusion explorers.

Trumpeter Lee Loughnane's "Together Again" follows, a lukewarm specimen of "lite rock" that drifts in and out of flowerland without ever finding a place to stake its claim. Lee tries his hand at singing lead but his voice is unremarkably pedestrian and the tune's drawn-out ending is uneventful. Dipping their toes into Caribbean waves on keyboard man Robert Lamm's "Another Rainy Day in New York" is a welcome change of pace but the results are mundane at best because they generate zilch in the excitement department. Cetera contributes "Mama Mama," a song propelled by a halfhearted R&B groove blended with pop sensibilities that water down a tune that had the potential to transcend the norm if they'd taken a more aggressive tact. A hard funk/rock beat generates a spark under Lamm's "Scrapbook," providing a brief respite from the mediocre. The track's rowdy horns and Terry's playful guitar solo give the number character while the nostalgic lyrics of "Jimi was so kind to us/had us on the tour/we got some education/like we never got before" strike a chord. Robert's "Gently I'll Wake You" is hard to label. It starts out as a low-key, piano bar sing-along kinda deal but then it escalates into something bigger. It does show they were trying to push themselves a bit yet the composition isn't strong enough to make a lasting impression. The apex of the album is Lamm's "You Get it Up," a sexy, motivating, mostly instrumental piece that features a group-sung chorus and contains more oomph than anything else on the record. It sounds like they were giving their egos a night off and letting themselves have fun recording it. Kath's heartbreak song, "Hope for Love," is the closer, a simple tune they unwisely over-produce and, in the process, drain it of any emotional impact it might've had before it evaporates into nothing, just like my hopes did for the band to reinvigorate themselves.

In some circles X was viewed as a success. It went to #3 on the album charts, won three Grammys and gave them the elusive Top 40 topper their record company had dreamed of them delivering to them for seven years. Guercio was proven right but his commercial tactic only serves to remind me of the scripture that warns of gaining the whole world at the expense of losing one's very soul. Chicago would go on to become one of the most enduring and affable acts on the planet but in June of '76 with the release of this, their eighth studio project; they officially forfeited their "coolness." The signs were there on VIII but this confirmed their willful decision to never rock the boat again and just go with the popular flow. They had become, sadly, satisfied with being average musically but profitable financially. The establishment they once railed against had devoured them. 2.2 stars.

Review by TCat
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The feel of Chicago X is really very close to Chicago VIII (Chicago IX was a greatest hits collection, so we'll skip that one). Just like VIII, X has a great variety of blues and jazz infused rock, streamlined shorter yet well developed tracks, but this one is not as guitar oriented as VIII was. Still, the tracks are still enjoyable and their are plenty of things to love about it. You will notice the trend though especially after this album. Things are less interesting on "XI" and "Hot Streets", then after that, Chicago lost my interest completely. So, I still love this album, again it is not perfect, but it is still enjoyable and better that "V" and "VI". They didn't give it all up to pop quite yet, but it is getting close. Another excellent album and addition to your rock collection. 4 stars.

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