Chicago, “Once or Twice” from Chicago X (1976): Saturdays in the Park

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Chicago X bursts out of the gate with the promise of “Once or Twice.” Opening with an in-your-face horn chart accompanied by the killer piano chops of Robert Lamm, this would not have sounded out of place in a roadhouse bar.

“Once or Twice” chugs along at a feverish pace, as the horns provide a backdrop for Terry Kath’s gritty, soulful vocals, then Walt Parazaider gets a chance to complete one of the better solos he’s ever played for Chicago. Fans often tout Terry’s lead guitar playing, but it could be argued that “Once or Twice” is one of the best showcases of Kath’s rhythm guitar playing in their entire back catalog.

However, as strong as an album opener “Once or Twice” is, the band does sound decidedly looser – and some might even say sloppier, even on what is possibly the best track on Chicago X. That sloppiness unfortunately pervades all this studio project, making it easily the weakest of the albums recorded at the Caribou Ranch – and some might say the weakest of the records from the original line-up.

It’s unfortunate that an album that starts out so strong with “Once or Twice” is so uneven, thus making “Once or Twice” an unfulfilled promise of a much stronger effort than Chicago X ended up being.


‘Saturdays in the Park’ is a multi-writer, song-by-song examination of the music of Chicago. Find it here at Something Else! each weekend.

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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