Sunday, November 28, 2010

Chicago - Live 1973 - Australia & Japan

Live in 1973

Australia & Sapporo, Japan
FM (Australia) and Audience (Japan) Recordings, Very Good & Good Quality
mp3 @ 192 (Aus) & 320 (Jap)

To wrap up this extended look at Chicago bands and artists from the early 1970's, here's a couple shows from the most famous Chicago band of them all, the group that took the name of their home city as their musical identity (although they were first known as the Chicago Transit Authority, or CTA, but shortened it to Chicago when the real CTA threatened legal action). Originally, I had not intended to include Chicago in this roundup, because even by the early '70's Chicago was already a big hit band, and not really a local act anymore (you'd have to go back to around 1967-1968, the CTA days, to catch them as a local band). But it seems ridiculous to leave them out of this review, as the early seventies were probably their best period. So, I have included 2 shows from 1973 here (which is the year I first saw them, at the old Chicago Stadium). The first is a high quality (but short) radio recording from Australia (date, city, venue unknown). The second is a more complete show from the '73 tour, a good quality audience recording from Sapporo Japan. Chicago VI was their current album at this time, and guitarist Terry Kath was in prime form. Included in both shows is probably Chicago's greatest composition, the epic 'Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon', as well as several songs from Chicago V and VI. the Japan show also includes a cover of the Beatle's 'Magical Mystery Tour'. This original lineup of Chicago was, of course, the best, and was together through most of the '70's, until Kath's tragic death in 1978. So, enjoy these gems from this classic period of Chicago.

1973 Australia
01. Now That You've Gone
02. Something in this City Changes People
03. Hollywood
04. Just You 'N Me
05. Dialogue Parts I&II
06. Feelin Stronger Every Day
07. Aire
08. Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon

New Link! (07/05/20)

1973-04-06 - Sapporo Japan
01. Magical Mystery Tour
02. State of the Union
03. Just You 'n Me
04. Aire
05. Beginnings
06. Rediscovery
07. Now That You're Gone
08. Saturday in the Park
09. Dialogue Parts I & II
10. 25 or 6 to 4
11. Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon
a. Make me Smile
b. So Much To Say, So Much To Give
c. Anxiety's Moment
d. West Virginia Fantasies
e. Colour My World
f. To Be Free
g. Now More Than Ever


Friday, November 19, 2010

Styx - 1975 - Providence, RI KBFH

Providence, RI, KBFH
& Detroit, MI
FM Broadcast recording, very good quality
mp3 @ 192

OK, We're still in Chicago in the early '70's here at the 'Chronicles', and another act that was beginning to make it's mark was Styx (OK, before you start in ranting about Styx, remember this is only early, progressive-rock Styx I'm talking about). So, I wanted to post a show from what I still believe was their best period, 1972-1975, their ''Wooden Nickel' years, with original guitarist John 'JC' Curulewski, pre-Tommy Shaw, pre-mega-stardom, the good stuff. Well, I couldn't find a single live recording from that period, nothing at all. But first, let's go back to the beginning. The genesis of Styx actually started way back in the early sixties, when schoolmates Dennis DeYoung and the Panozza brothers (John and Chuck) formed a band called 'The Tradewinds'. By 1969, the group had changed its name to 'TW4', added guitarists John Curulewski (JC) and James Young (JY), and eventually landed a recording contract with local label Wooden Nickel records. In 1972, shortly before recording their first album, they changed their name to Styx, after the name of the legendary underworld river. So, this was the band that I came to know in 1972-73, when their first couple albums were released and became a sensation around Chicago. At that time, although they mixed in straight-forward hard rock, they were really more of a progressive rock band, and it was pretty cool having a local Chicago band that sounded like some British import. Sure, they could be somewhat pretentious and pompous (even then) with sometimes forced mixes of classical and rock tunes, but that was all part of the fun of it, right? Anyway, with their first album, Styx, in 1972, the track 'Best Thing' received alot of airplay (but only on progressive FM stations, like WXRT), and established the band as a local favorite. In 1973, with the release of Styx II, they seemed to have put it all together for their big breakthrough. In summer 1973, shortly after the release of Styx II, they appeared on the Chicago's Public Television music show 'Made in Chicago' and were the hottest band in town, with several songs from the album getting substantial airplay (including 'Lady, 'You Need Love', and 'I'm Gonna Make You Feel It'). As I've said before, I had at one time a tape from that show, but it is long gone now. I saw them live myself in either late '73 or early '74 (around the time of the release of The Serpent is Rising) in some high school gymnasium. They were great, with both DeYoung and Curulewski being commanding presences on stage. By 1975, the rest of the country was finally catching on to the band, as 'Lady' became a national hit (almost 2 years after it was a local hit on Chicago radio), and Styx moved on to a national record label (A&M) for their 5th album, Equinox, which became their most successful album to date and spawned multiple singles and AOR hits. However, just before embarking on their big tour in support of Equinox, guitarist JC suddenly quit the band to spend more time with his family. In a frantic last-minute search for a replacement, the band chose Tommy Shaw as their new guitarist, who immediately started out with them on the biggest tour of their career. And it is from that point that most fans know of Styx, the Tommy Shaw years and beyond. And yeah, they were quite successful after that, but I've never been a fan 'that' Styx. I never liked Shaw (as a guitarist, songwriter, singer, anything), so I pretty much stopped following them once JC was gone (OK, sure, they did put out some decent stuff on the Grand Illusion, Pieces of Eight, and Paradise Theater albums, but they were a totally different band and not one I particularly liked). To me, they lost alot of what the band was all about when JC left, and were a totally different band moving in a drastically different direction. I would still say that Styx II and Equinox were their best albums. JC went on to become a highly respected guitar teacher in the Chicago area, and tutored and mentored many area guitar players and bands. Tragically, however, Curulewski died quite young, in 1988 at age 37, of a brain aneurysm. And, as I said, unfortunately, I could not find any recordings from those early days while JC was still with the band. So, I had to go with the earliest stuff I could find, from their Equinox tour. And although JC was not there, all of the songs were ones that he originally recorded with them. This is part of a King Biscuit Flower Hour Show, so it is a high quality recording, but unfortunately only consists of 4 songs. I have added to this some additional live songs from this period (Equinox and before) from a Detroit show from their next tour (1976, in support of Crystal Ball, their first album with Shaw). I was going to post the whole Detroit show, but opted instead for just adding selected songs to the KBFH show, because, frankly, some of the Crystal Ball songs (and Shaw's guitar-playing) were just too painful to listen to (and the rest of the songs were repeats of those already in the KBFH show). The final track included, '22 years', is fittingly, a John Curulewski song, and one of the only JC-penned tracks that the band continued to play after he left. Unfortunately, most people, even those that are big fans of Styx, have never heard of and know nothing about JC, since most of the band's success occurred after he left. So, this post is dedicated to the memory of John Curulewski, Styx's original (and best) guitarist and a unique personality, and someone that could never be replaced.

1. KBFH Intro
2. Born For Adventure
3. Suite Madame Blue
4. Lady
5. Midnight Ride
6. Lorelei
7. Mademoiselle
8. Light Up
9. 22 Years

tracks 1-5, 1975 KBFH, Providence RI
tracks 6-9, 1976-11-29, Ford Auditorium, Detroit, MI

New Link! (Updated 12/27/13)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ides of March - More than a One-Hit Wonder

Ides of March
More than a One-Hit Wonder

Another Chicago band from this era that I wanted to feature was The Ides of March, best-known for their horn-infused 1970 hit, 'Vehicle'. But those from around the Chicago area, and most of the Midwest, know that IOM was much more than a one-hit wonder. Unfortunately, I could not find any unofficial recordings to include here. The Ides of March first began as a band in 1964, when 4 high school kids from Berwyn (Jim Peterik, Larry Millas, Bob Bergland, and Mike Borch) formed a group heavily influenced by the Mersey sound that they dubbed 'The Shon-dels'. In 1966, after Tommy James' group was putting out records under the name 'The Shondels', and inspired by reading Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, they changed their name to The Ides of March. While still in High School, the group released a series of singles (1966-67) that received airplay on Chicago radio stations (including 'You Wouldn't Listen', which reached #7 on the WLS pop chart). By the end of the '60's, and inspired by the brass sound of groups like Chicago and Blood, Sweat, and Tears, Jim asked a couple of trumpet-playing friends to help out the band on some songs. Having now acquired a recording contract with Warner Brothers, the band released the single 'Vehicle' with the new horn sound, which, of course became a smash hit. The Vehicle album also was a solid hit and featured several other songs that used the horns prominently. The success of Vehicle to some degree forced them to continue with the horn-influenced sound, even though that was not really representative of the bulk of the group's music. Somewhere along the way they added a keyboards player and trombone player, becoming an 8-piece band. For their 2nd album, Common Bond (1971), they continued a mix of 'brassy' songs with those with more of a folk-rock, CSN-style harmony vocals feel, including their second smash hit single (at least in Chicago), 'L.A. Goodbye', which stayed at #1 on the Chicago pop charts for five weeks in 1971. To me, this was a much better song (and more representative of the band's sound), and a bigger hit than Vehicle. Unfortunately, apparently the rest of the country didn't agree (or never heard it), because the single stalled at #78 on the national charts. The band released 2 more albums, World Woven (1972) and Midnight Oil (1973) on RCA, both of which continued more along the folk-rock style, with horns added for effect. Although these were solid albums, they failed to garner much national attenetion and did not produce any hits (although 'Colorado Morning' from Woven and 'Hot Water' from Oil, both fine songs, received local radio airplay). The Ides appeared on WTTW's (public broadcasting) 'Made in Chicago' in the summer of 1973, promoting Midnight Oil, and performed all the songs previously mentioned here. I had a tape of the FM broadcast, but it was lost or became unpalayble over the years (at any rate I no longer have it, so I don't have any live recordings to share). After 1973, the group disbanded, but it was not the end. Jim Peterik, the group's principal songwriter continued collaborations with others, writing hit songs for groups like .38 Special, Sammy Hagar, and others. In the '80's, Peterik also formed a new group, Survivor, which also had some big hits (although we won't hold that against him). Then in 1990, the band members were contacted about doing a reunion show at their hometown's Summerfest, of which all the member's attended. They then decided to get back together permananetly and have been going ever since, with extensive touring, releasing reissues, re-recordings and live versions of their old songs, as well as performing some new material and highlights from Peterik's other bands and songs (Here is their website: And recently, in 2010, they released their first full-length studio album of all-new songs since 1973. Apparently they have also set a new record for being the longest-lived band (over 45 years) that still has all of the original members. They also recently received an exclusive honor from their hometown, Berwyn IL, as the road in front of their old high school was officially renamed 'Ides of March Way'. So, sorry I don't have any live recordings, but as a sample of their music, here is their single L.A. Goodbye from Common Bond.

L.A. Goodbye - 1971 single megaupload

Band website: