First in a series of Demo Discs for Bass.
Talk about beefy bass; this album is the poster boy for rock solid bottom end. When you have a copy of Chicago’s first album with a hot side three you have a Bass Demo Disc LP that’s going to rock your world, not to mention the foundation of your house. (How they managed to get the bass so right and screw up so many other things I will never know.)
Not many musicians qualify to be placed on the list of Most Underrated, but if there were any justice in this world Peter Cetera’s name would be found right up at the top. Meaning that he can’t even get credit for being the most underrated!
His bass playing alone — forget his singing, which is as good as any pop singer of his generation — qualifies him for Most Talented (but for some reason) Most Overlooked Musician. The huge bass sound Peter got out of his axe is the meat and potatoes of this album.
Again, it’s hard to believe this is the same guy that sang and played on ‘Hard To Say I’m Sorry’. His jazz-rock chops anchor the rhythm section with the kind of energy a band with as many pieces as this one simply cannot do without.
Chicago boasts seven top players, but Cetera’s brilliance cuts through on practically every song. People may not be able to appreciate his playing because they have bad records or bad stereos, but we’re here to rectify that situation, as least the record part of it.
So Many Faults, So Little Time
The average copy of this album is an unmitigated DISASTER. The smeary brass alone is enough to drive anyone from the room. To a list of its faults you can confidently add some or all of the following:
1) blobby, blurry, out of control bass;
2) opaque veiled mids;
3) rolled off highs, or no highs, whichever the case may be, common to virtually every pressing you find;
4) plain old distortion; and, last but not least,
5) the kind of compressed, lifeless sound that manages to make this groundbreaking album boring — and that’s not easy to do.
The music ROCKS! It’s the crappy records Columbia pressed that suck.
…along these lines can be found below.
This is the band’s Masterpiece in our opinion.
What qualifies a record to be a Masterpiece needs little in the way of explanation. We will make every effort to limit the list to one entry per artist or group, although some exceptions have already occurred to me, so that rule will no doubt be broken from time to time. As Ralph Waldo Emerson so famously wrote, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds…”
This listing will show you How to Get the Most Out Of Your Records .
You may find our recommendations for Record Cleaning helpful as well.
You can find your very own Hot Stamper pressings by using the techniques we lay out in Hot Stamper Shootouts — The Four Pillars of Success.
Record shootouts are the fastest and easiest way to hone your listening skills, a subject we discuss often on the site and directly address in this commentary from way back in 2005.