Asbury Park Press 8-10-69 CTA review
CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY (Columbia (Columbia GP 8)-The 8)-The 8)-The CTA is the most interest-esting interest-esting interest-esting rock group to arrive in the past year, and this is a marvelously inventive two-record two-record two-record two-record collection that demonstrates the trend toward toward a more musical rock. The CTA is a seven-man seven-man seven-man group whose strength lies in its brass arrangements and in its originality. In some ways it is like Blood, Sweat and Tears. It lacks a vocalist with the persuasion of David Clayton Thomas, the BST singer, but it is a far more original group with much greater potential. There is lots of waste in this set, especially the nearly seven minutes devoted to a demonstration of a FendeivStra-tocaster FendeivStra-tocaster FendeivStra-tocaster guitar by Terry Kath. It is nothing more than electronic noise simulating speeding speeding cars and other non-musical non-musical non-musical sounds. And ' some of the vocal areas of the LP lack feeling. feeling. Only one of the three vocalists (there is no indication which one) sings with the power and emotion needed to convey his material. But James Pankow's brass scores are excellent, excellent, more inventive than anything heard in the rock idiom. He has written the arrangements arrangements for his own trombone and Lee Lough-nane's Lough-nane's Lough-nane's trumpet, yet the sound is much larger, larger, giving the impression of an entire section. There is also improvisation here that is far above the norm for rock. Kath has good ideas, though he often loses them in an electronic electronic maze. And Robert Lamm is similarly gifted on the keyboard, especially when he plays standard piano. But when he turns to the electronic instrument he, too, loses his thoughts. The material for the most part is good, especially Lamm's "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" This track is indicative of the group's total ability. Lamm's piano introduction, Pankow's brass scoring, the vocal, and the instrumental solos are all first rate. "Introduction," which is just that, is also well done. But there are many moments of unusually good rock here. The CTA is headed in the right direction.