Monday, December 28, 2009

Chicago Transit Authority - Live at the Itchy Foot Moose Sept. 1, 1968

Imagine, if you will, getting to hear your favorite band before they hit it big. Chicago Transit Authority (originally "The Big Thing" and later just "Chicago") was formed by a gentleman's agreement in woodwind player, Walt Parazaider's apartment in February 1967. The original six members Terry Kath, Danny Seraphine, Robert Lamm, Walt Parazaider, James Pankow, and Lee Loughnane were augmented a few months later by tenor vocalist/bass player, Peter Cetera who left the group he'd been with, the Exceptions, to join The Big Thing.

Through the rather fortuitous friendship of James William Guercio and Walt Parazaider, The Big Thing were pitched to Columbia Records. One of Guercio's first steps as producer/manager of the band was to change their name to Chicago Transit Authority, after the public transportation he'd grown up riding and held a special nostalgia for.

This bootleg is a snapshot of that era, before Chicago became Chicago, before their 3 worldwide #1 hits, before becoming only second to the Beach Boys in record sales by an American band-- the band playing on this bootleg is a younger, hungrier, and much more raw band than what they'd later turn into.

The Setlist
1. It Better End Soon (later released on Chicago II)
2. Girl (later released as Someday on Chicago Transit Authority with completely different lyrics referencing the '68 Democratic Convention in Chicago)
3. Once Upon a Life (never released)
4. Terry's Blues (cut ending)
5. Terry's Blues (one hell of a showcase of guitarist Terry Kath's talents, at the end of the song he refers to the song as Toe Jam)
6. Questions 67 & 68 (later released on Chicago Transit Authority)
7. Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry cover, sung by Terry Kath with interesting "new" lyrics interespersed with the Chuck Berry lyrics making reference to marijuana)
8. Rock Around the Clock (Bill Haley & His Comets cover sung by Peter Cetera)
9. Gimme Some Lovin' (Spencer Davis Group cover sung by Robert Lamm, I have a bootleg from the 80s that features Peter Cetera singing this instead of Robert Lamm)
10. Listen (later released on Chicago Transit Authority)
11. Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? (later released on Chicago Transit Authority)
12. Mississippi Delta City Blues (later released on Live in Japan in 1972with a new arrangement, and on Chicago XI in 1978 with yet a different arrangement)
13. Got to Get You Into My Life (Beatles cover sung by Peter Cetera)
14. It's Not Unusual (Tom Jones cover sung by Terry Kath)
15. Poem 58 (later released on Chicago Transit Authority)
16. I'll Be Back Again (Beatles cover sung by Robert Lamm & Peter Cetera)
17. Dedicated to Girl Number One (unreleased, this is the song Chicago recorded as their demo. The demo is apparently lost forever somewhere in the Sony vaults. This is one of two live versions I know of, sung by Robert Lamm)
18. Liberation (later released on Chicago Transit Authority)

The sound quality is uneven. On some songs its surprisingly good but on all tracks, despite a few flubs here and there, it's very listenable. This is one of three Chicago bootlegs from 1968 known to be floating around fan collector circles. Of the three, this one has the best sound quality although one of the other two bootlegs (both recorded at Barnaby's) have arguably a superior song selection with covers of Hendrix (Hey Joe, Foxy Lady, & Purple Haze), Cream (Sunshine of Your Love), the Beach Boys (Darlin'), the Beatles (Lady Madonna, Sgt. Peppers, With a Little Help From My Friends), Marvin Gaye (One More Heartache), Martha & the Vandellas (Dancing in the Streets), Brenda Lee (Losing You), and Wilson Pickett (99 and a Half Just Won't Do).

Hearing the band at this stage in their careers is quite refreshing considering what the band has turned into in more recent years. Members have come and gone and the hunger has been replaced by greed. There's a love for the music they're performing-- both the covers and the original material that is, arguably, lacking in the current incarnation of the band's performances.

But all in all this is how Chicago should be heard, young and hungry. Full of energy, a balls-on horntastic blast of music.

Related Links
Chicago (Official Site)
Chicago (wikipedia)
Peter Cetera (Official Site)
Peter Cetera (wikipedia)
Terry Kath (Official Site)
Terry Kath (wikipedia)
Danny Seraphine (wikipedia)
James Pankow (wikipedia)
Walt Parazaider (wikipedia)
Lee Loughnane (wikipedia)
Robert Lamm (Official Site)
Robert Lamm (wikipedia)

25 comments:

Sean Coleman said...

This sounds like a great set. I love bootlegs as they present artists in their rawest form, mistakes and all.

Perplexio said...

Sean: If you're interested I'll see if I can zip this and the 2 Chicago bootlegs from Barnaby's and send them your way. They are quite raw but also quite enjoyable. Jimi Hendrix is credited as once telling Walt Parazaider that "your guitarist is better than me." Most folks just chalk that up to humility on Hendrix part, but there's still no denying Kath's talents and they are in plentiful evidence on this bootleg.

drewzepmeister said...

Even though I do have a few albums from Chicago, I'm a not a huge fan of them. I DO like their early stuff.(25 or 6 to 4 ROCKS!) I certainly wouldn't mind hearing this recording.

Sean Coleman said...

Thank you, I would definitely appreciate that.

I swap music with a few other like-minded souls, so if there's anything that you've been looking for, don't hesitate to ask.

Perplexio said...

Sean and Drew: Over the holidays I zipped up this boot, so it's ready to send. I'm just not sure what the best method of transfer is. If either of you have any ideas, please let me know.

Charlie said...

Darrin, this is great! Thank you, thank you, for cluing me in. It's too bad about the sound quality but this is the Chicago I love, the early band with balls. How this concert makes me wish Chicago had broken up years ago so their legacy would never have been tarnished. Anyway, this "makes me smile."

Tim Abdellah said...

This is a fab tape! By the way, track 3, which is labeled "once upon a life", is in fact The Beatles' song "I'll Be Back" (from A Hard Day's Night)!

Tim Abdellah said...

Oops - never mind that last comment - that was a different Chicago tape - from Barnaby's May 1 1968...

JimmyDee said...

The Bar was called "Itchy Foot Mose", not Moose. I know because my cousins, Manny and Ronny Ybarra, were part owners. My brother and I spent a summer out there with them once and I remember sweeping up the peanut shells from the barroom floor when in walked these 7 or 8 musicians to warm up for the night's show. Turned out it was CTA. They even gave me an autographed 8X10 b&W photo that I have lost through the years. I wish I still had that damn photo.

Lisa Brown said...

omg i WANT these songs so bad... particularly their cover of "Gimme Some Lovin'", which I've heard is amazing: wild guitar by the late & great Mr. Kath.... WHERE can i purchase/listen to these songs?

Anonymous said...

Jimmy Dee: I was there the night the CTA played! My GF took me there. IFM was a TINY place, but really fun to party in. Not easy to find in those Alhambra hills. God, that was SO long ago. I miss those days!

beaug said...
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beaug said...
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Perplexio said...

You mean this?

beaug said...

Thank You very much!!!!!! how about this i got to sit down with Danny Seraphine last week. He is married to a good friend of mine's sister. He signed his book for me. Super nice guy

Nanette Haynes said...

I downloaded the Itchey Foot Mose show and it is awesome. I would love to get the Barnaby's shows, if it is still possible. Don't know if you can email or not. Let me know and it is very much appreciated. Can't get enough vintage Terry Kath!

Matt Levy said...

IFM show is great! Would love to hear the Barnaby's stuff if somebody could post it.

Anonymous said...

Any chance to get this bootleg???

Bentley Cushing said...

I sure would love to have that bootleg having been fortunate to be blown away by proximity that night in September. Please contact me at my business address info@Bentleysdisplay.com

Unknown said...

Sounds like a great show. Terry Kath was awesome. Also love bootlegs. I have 3 or 4 versions of some songs because they are all just a little different.

william Boyd said...

Sounds like a great show. Terry Kath was awesome. Also love bootlegs. I have 3 or 4 versions of some songs because they are all just a little different.

william Boyd said...

I would love to get this and the Barnaby shows.

william Boyd said...

I would love to get this and the Barnaby shows.

paul barraza said...

Was it on Valley Blvd in LA, near Cal State LA

paul barraza said...

One if the best Drum players ever