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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Chicago "25 Or 6 To 4" Isolated Vocals

Here's the last isolated vocal entry for the week, and this time it's "25 Or 6 To 4" by Chicago from the bands second album, also entitled Chicago. Chicago is always overlooked as one of the great American bands, and they're still going strong and sounding better than ever after 40 years. This track shows just how good they were even back then in 1970, because it's the little things that they do well that their contemporaries didn't at the time.

The track below consists of the piano, horns, sometimes a rhythm guitar and all the vocals. Be sure to listen for:

1. Bassist Peter Cetera's lead vocal is terrific. There's not a single bad note to be found.

2. The background vocals are equally good. Listen to how tight they are, especially the releases.

3. The vocals feature a long delayed and bright plate reverb that actually sounds much better on the horns than on the vocals. Of course, they usually only had one reverb to work with that had to work on everything back then, which wasn't actually as limiting as you might think.

4. The lead vocal is ever so slightly sibilant thanks to the compression, but you can't really hear the compressor working other than that.

5. The piano is playing a very disciplined simple patter. Robert Lamm is capable of playing more notes, but he stays in the pocket and does what's best for the song.

6. Terry Kath's rhythm guitar playing is outstanding. It's solid as a rock and used almost as percussion instrument, pushing the solo along to a peak. What a fabulous guitar player. He died far too young.


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Reb said...

Great point about the piano and rhythm guitar. I imagine it would have been tempting for them to add substitute chords and rhythm variations, but that could have scattered the energy of the tune.

Interesting that the vox are so tight here and they were so loose on the Yes Roundabout track. Yes always came across as so much tighter than other bands.

I enjoy your blog very much - always learning something new from it.

Gian Nicola Beraldo said...

The chords are the same of "Babe I'm gonna geave you" by Led Zeppelin.
More or less I mean.
Gian Nicola

Rand Bliss said...

Not that Peter would risk anything recording his vocals whilst also playing bass at the session, it's still fascinating to me how some bassists are able to sing melodies while simultaneously playing bass patterns (Maestro McCartney first comes to mind, etc.) either on stage or even recording as well.

By the way, interesting comment about the Zeppelin song chord similarity. Zeppelin's version of 'Babe..' was originally written by Anne Bredon, which was also covered by the great Joan Baez of whom's version inspired Jimmy's.

What's ironic is that of all bands involved in song similarities the mighty Led Zeppelin is infamous for not only 'borrowing' heavily from the blues greats, but within a Page's hair width of outright plagiarism.

Don't get me wrong, I've always loved them since day one, but even I was shocked and have to admit disappointed as well. Here's what I mean, have a look at this as an example:


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