Friday, November 18, 2005

Chicago - Hot Streets (1978)

I've always felt Donnie Dacus got a bad rep. His vocals on this album are crisp and tight and his guitar style, while a departure from that of the late Terry Kath, works for this particular album.

The remixed version sounds so much crisper & cleaner than the original CD releases by Columbia and later Chicago records. The one thing that shines through on all of the Rhino remasters is Peter Cetera's exceptional bass playing. Known for his stellar stratospheric vocals, Peter's bass talents were often overlooked. The rhythm section is just as tight with Cetera, Seraphine, Olivera and Dacus as it was with Cetera, Seraphine, Olivera and Kath.

The title track really showcases the songwriting talent of Robert Lamm, the guitaristry of Donnie Dacus, and features a flute solo by Walt Parazaider that harkens back to his flute solo during It Better End Soon from the Live at Carnegie Hall album and left me hungry for more.

Other stand-out moments on this fantastic album are Lamm's piano chops on the song Gone Long Gone, Dacus all out wail and driving rhythm on Ain't it Time, the fantastic vocal interplay between Cetera and Dacus on the catchy ballad No Tell Lover, and the oft-overlooked vocals and guitar solo on the much underrated Take a Chance.

Unfortunately this album is marred by a substandard bonus track, an alternate vocal version of Love Was New featuring Dacus on vocals instead of Lamm. Dacus is an exceptional singer and had he sung in his normal range it may have actually worked, his breathy falsetto really doesn't work for the song at all (the original album version of this song with Lamm's vocals is far superior). The other half strike (only a half-strike because some may see this as a plus not a minus) against this album is that it sounds decidedly dated as compared to some of the other albums in Chicago's back catalog.


Matthew Blumenstein said...

I've grown to like this album much more, the more I listen to it, but it severely lacking.

The only noteworthy tracks here are Alive Again, Hot Streets, Little Miss Lovin', Gone Long Gone, No Tell Lover, and Ain't It Time, in my opinion.

I do like Hot Streets (the song) a lot, but I think the instrumentals were a bit extraneous at times, particularly the Dacus guitar solo at the end. Too long, not interesting enough. Kath could have pulled it off with ease.

However, Alive Again, Ain't It Time, and Little Miss Lovin' do sport some really well-dont guitar work from Dacus.

Little Miss Lovin', Little Miss Lovin'. Great melody, great guitar riffs, HORRIBLE lyrics. The lyrics make me somewhat embarrassed to listen to it.

The rest of the album is less memorable, but not bad, particularly Show Me The Way.

blake kersey said...

The whole album is perfection.