Over at the Chicagofans site (free registration required), there is a new discussion about Chicago III (1971). For those who don’t know, III was
Anyway, the consensus is mixed on III. Some love its obvious musical experimentation while some hate the mix or the overlong songs. In order to get my take on III, you have to know how I break down
Of the decade that I call the Originals,
All this is to allow me to put Chicago III in context. While LP#1 of Chicago VII was their attempt to *return* to their experimental time, Chicago III was made when they were in the *middle* of it. You can tell they did not care about song lengths because they made three suites of music. And with four sides of music, only side 1/LP1 did not contain a suite. In their minds, they were creating extended musical statements, not necessarily extended solos.
Chicago III was, to my mind, the last record they made *for themselves* until 1993 and the still-unreleased Stone of Sisyphus. They did whatever they wanted.
How do I rank III? While I have never ranked it among my Top 5 favorite records (CTA, II, Stone of Sisyphus, V, 17), it is in the top 10, usually jockeying with VII for positions number 6 or 7.In short, Chicago III has a little bit of everything. And that might be its undoing in the eyes of many fans. There are other, more streamlined and precise LPs, even in the early catalog. But III, as a whole, is a bit untidy. And that, to me, is one of its graces.