Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “A Song For Richard and His Friends” from At Carnegie Hall (1971): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “A Song For Richard and His Friends” from At Carnegie Hall (1971): Saturdays in the Park

‘Chicago at Carnegie Hall,’ a sprawling four-record set, was ripe for abuse from so-called leading critics of the time.

Chicago, “Elegy” from Chicago III (1971): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “Elegy” from Chicago III (1971): Saturdays in the Park

“Elegy” is not an easy listen, but it shows the range of styles that Chicago’s original lineup could pull off – and pull off very well.

Chicago, “An Hour In the Shower” from Chicago III (1971): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “An Hour In the Shower” from Chicago III (1971): Saturdays in the Park

“Hour in the Shower” is a welcome reminder that as serious as Chicago took themselves at times, they still knew how to have fun.

Chicago, “This Christmas” from What’s It Gonna Be, Santa (2003): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “This Christmas” from What’s It Gonna Be, Santa (2003): Saturdays in the Park

Earnest and sweet, this update of Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas” showcases one of Chicago’s longest tenured non-original members.

Chicago, “Little Drummer Boy” from Chicago XXV (1998): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “Little Drummer Boy” from Chicago XXV (1998): Saturdays in the Park

Since it arrived on 1998’s ‘Chicago XXV,’ this update of “Little Drummer Boy” has grown to become a personal favorite – and, in my opinion, the definitive version.

Chicago, “Jolly Old St. Nicholas” from What’s It Gonna Be, Santa? (2003): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “Jolly Old St. Nicholas” from What’s It Gonna Be, Santa? (2003): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago guitarist Keith Howland added his first lead vocal to one of five new tracks included on 2003’s ‘What’s It Gonna Be, Santa?’

Chicago, “Let It Snow” from Chicago XXV: The Christmas Album (1998)

Chicago, “Let It Snow” from Chicago XXV: The Christmas Album (1998)

“Let It Snow” closes with one of the famed Chicago horn section’s 10 best moments. When listening in my car, I always play it a second time.

Chicago, “Winter Wonderland” from Chicago Christmas: What’s It Gonna Be Santa? (2003)

Chicago, “Winter Wonderland” from Chicago Christmas: What’s It Gonna Be Santa? (2003)

Chicago tosses out the often-corny way “Winder Wonderland” is usually rendered in this Robert Lamm-sung version.

Chicago, “Lowdown” from Chicago III (1971): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “Lowdown” from Chicago III (1971): Saturdays in the Park

Given the results of the recent election, the opening lyrics to Chicago’s “Lowdown” feel especially true for many right now.

Chicago, “Mother” from Chicago III (1971): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “Mother” from Chicago III (1971): Saturdays in the Park

A highlight from Chicago’s most jazz-oriented album to date, “Mother” is a perfect example of the era’s political activism and musical eclecticism.