Chicago, “This Time” from Chicago XI (1977): Saturdays in the Park

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Following the raw piss and vinegar grit of “Takin’ It On Uptown,” Chicago’s “This Time” makes for an interesting shift. Featuring Lee Loughnane on a vocal that seems to be channeling Terry Kath, the track finds Kath contributing a beautifully polished and melodic guitar solo. That’s quite a departure from the raw power of the previous song, making “This Time” something of a melodic counterpoint to “Takin’ It On Uptown.”

Written by Lee Loughnane, “This Time” almost comes across as a plea from the band for Terry to stick around. While the lyrics speak more to Lee’s love du jour of the time, the music — a true whole band effort – feels more like a plea for a fresh start and new beginning, and a clearing of the air.

Shortly after 1977’s Chicago XI, the band made a momentous decision. For better or worse (most would argue, in hindsight, for worse), they severed ties with their benefactor, the only manager and producer they had ever known, the “man behind the curtain” who bankrolled the group’s move from Chicago to L.A. and got them their contract with Columbia: James William Guercio. And unfortunately, not long after that, Chicago was rocked to the core with the untimely passing of Terry Kath.

In hindsight, “This Time” is an encapsulation of what could have been had Chicago XI been a starting point in a new direction for the band, instead of a sad and abrupt end of an era. It’s a statement of hope for the future, a hope that was tragically snuffed out on Jan. 23, 1978.

“This Time” is also, in a way, a precursor of the music Chicago would record in the ’80s. It was the next step in the band’s evolution (or some might argue, regression) from a rock and roll band with horns to a pop band with horns – a song with a glimpse of a future that might have been under less unfortunate circumstances.


‘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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