Chicago, “In the Country” from Chicago II (1970): Saturdays in the Park

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The sun is shining, the birds are singing, you feel the soft springy carpet of grass under your feet. There’s not another soul for miles around besides you and that special someone. Both of you feel free like you can tell each other anything but at the same time you don’t need to.

Chicago guitarist Terry Kath was a city boy. Until performing a concert at Tanglewood in 1970, the mere concept of being “In the Country” was foreign to him. So, Terry decided to take this unique experience and put it to music.

Every time I listen to “In the Country” from 1970’s Chicago II, I feel the freedom of the solitude and being alone in my thoughts, I feel the sun beating down on me, the gentle breeze tousling my hair.

From a musical standpoint, “In the Country” was a preview of things to come. Peter Cetera’s bass chops were becoming more prevalent. The whole chemistry of a rhythm section that had already been tight on Chicago’s debut was even tighter now, and there was more of a cohesiveness to their sound. The horns feel a bit looser and more relaxed as they meander around and dance around Terry and Peter’s vocals. The Chicago rhythm section chugs along at a leisurely pace, giving the whole song the feel of “a walk in the country with nature’s sweet charm.”

While Peter Cetera’s bass is audible, it’s buried slightly deeper in the mix than it would be on later albums, but it does seem more audible in the mix than it had been on Chicago Transit Authority. I’m not sure if this is due to Peter gaining confidence as a bass player or James William Guercio as a producer making a concerted effort to draw more attention to Cetera’s chops. Peter and Terry Kath played off each other brilliantly both vocally and rhythmically. Guercio did an exceptional job of showcasing not only the tightness of the rhythm section but also their vocal chemistry on “In the Country.”

To this day, it remains one of Chicago’s better album cuts – and one of the most complete full band efforts Chicago ever recorded.

Perplexio

Perplexio

Perplexio also maintains a stand-alone blog called The Review Revue, where he explores music, movies and books. He spearheaded 'Saturdays in the Park,' our weekly multi-writer, song-by-song series focused on the music of Chicago. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelse reviews.com.
Perplexio
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