A Song I Love – Movin’ In – Chicago

I’m aware that horn-driven rock isn’t for everyone. And further that Chicago have sometimes tarnished their own reputation by playing some treacly, watered-down shit. But in the early days they were a smokin’ hot band. 

I recently watched a documentary on TV about the great band Chicago. Every once in a while, they would punctuate the soundtrack with a snippet of a terrific, soulful song. I said to myself “I gotta know what that song is.” So I eventually figured out it was a tune called “Movin’ In,” from their second album, appropriately named Chicago (or Chicago II.) I kinda knew it but had forgotten about it.

This album came out in 1970, back when it wasn’t unusual for bands to mix rock and jazz together. The two most prominent bands that did this were the Chicago Transit Authority and Blood, Sweat, and Tears. I think the former got a little more respect but personally I liked ’em both.

So why do I love this song? Well, firstly it’s the overall feel. It’s just funky and has a great horn arrangement. But as much as anything else, it’s Terry Kath’s voice. If you don’t know Kath, you should. He was not only an outstanding singer, he was a tremendous guitarist. That’s him wailing away on one of my favorite guitar solos of all time on “25 or 6 to 4.”

This song goes on its funky, soulful way for about a minute or so and then it swings into a nice jazzy piece. The only thing that mars it for me, quite frankly, is that the sax player decides to go all Coltrane on his solo but it doesn’t work. The trumpeter pulls his ass out of hot water with a nice, tasty solo. Then some trombone action, and then back to the slower, funky thing.

A doubletime thing happens onto the flourish ending. Love it. I can listen to this song over and over:

Spotify link

I’ll be doing a series on Chicago one fine day. If you dug this, stay tuned.

26 thoughts on “A Song I Love – Movin’ In – Chicago

  1. I have also wanted to do a series on Chicago. The only thing is they dropped off a cliff after Kath died. With Kath = anywhere from good to awesome, without = from garbage. I’m not sure I could listen to all their sappy 80’s albums.
    I feel without Kath’s amazing guitar work, also without his harder edged rock input during the album making process, the band may as well have quit and called it a day for me.
    I also thought of a series of bands that ruled in the 70’s and sucked in the 80’s, and they fit this mold nicely.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Right. But I think a post (maybe two) that honors Kath and the band’s early work is well worth it. Recall my Los Lobos post the other day. More than one person said the only song they knew by those guys was ‘La Bamba.’ So it turned some people on to a good band that should be heard. (Not to equate these two bands, just making a point.)

    So I want people who think “Chicago? That wedding band my mom likes?” to say, whoa! There was some shit happening back then. And wasn’t it nice to hear ‘Movin’ In?” again. And if their cruddy stuff gets mentioned in my series, so be it. Let those chips fall where they may.

    And Rolling Stone magazine – please put Terry Kath on your Top 100 guitarists. Thank you very much. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If you want to do a collaboration Chicago series let me know.
      I will even suck it up and listen to the later albums. Who knows? Maybe there are a few gems in some of those later albums.

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        1. You know, I’m not sure how that collaboration would work but it could be fun. Maybe work on something off-line, go back and forth, “simul-publish.” Sure. I’m not quite there yet on doing a series but maybe a short bit down the road we can figure something out. Keep following this post and I’ll pop you a note on it, see if you’re ready to roll.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. They have 36 albums, so one person doing it would have to invest a ton of time into it.
          I did one on The Tragically Hip and it was a lot of work, with only about 1/3 of the albums.
          Perhaps a group thing would take the pressure off.
          Let me know if you want to do it.
          Maybe Bruce and some other bloggers can help out.
          Looking into their discography I realize how many albums they have.
          I’m curious to hear their.music from the 90’s onward.

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        3. Oh, shit, there’s no way I’m that thorough. I was just planning maybe a two, maybe three-post series highlighting their history. A couple of songs from the glory days, maybe a gem from later stuff (assuming there is one.) Have to pass on that collaboration I’m afraid. They’re good but they ain’t THAT good. 😀

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        4. I am not thorough at all.
          I have only done 1 post in the last month.
          If I ever do a Chicago post it will be the Kath albums individually and probably 1 more for all the rest.
          I wrongly assumed you were doing a complete one.

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        5. No way Jose. I try to keep my series to, max, three posts. Whatever I can squeeze into that limited real estate, that’s it. After that I’m pretty much worn out. 😀 As to Chicago, anything after those Seventies albums is gonna get short shrift. Cannot fucking stand Peter Cetera and the direction he led them in.

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        6. BTW, if you decide to do one in the meantime on Chicago, go for it. I’d enjoy your take on it which might be a different spin than mine. I don’t have them on the queue in the immediate future which is part of why I wanted to put a taste out there with Movin’ in.

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        7. I like Cetera’s voice. However, I liked it better when mixed with the other voices in early Chicago.
          Kind of like The Eagles, they had a lot of talent.
          As for him leading them in the erong direction, I wonder if it was a combination of Kath dying (along with his input as to where the album direction went), the changing scope of music, lessening album sales, and label pressure moved the band to where they went.
          It worked out in terms of album sales, but lost long time rock fans.
          Of course, I don’t know enough to know all the ins and outs.
          I hated Chicago when I first heard them in the 80’s and it wasn’t until much later I learned of the brilliance of the early tunes.
          I saw a live band in the early 90’s with horns that did a bunch of early Chicago covers and I was hooked.

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        8. Yeah, I think your analysis of the factors is solid. That said, every band needs a leader. So Kath led them in a ballsy direction, Cetera, a wimpy one IMHO. Also, every band in the ’70’s had to grapple with disco in some way. Stones, Dead did it. And so yeah, bands have to be chameleon-like to survive for so many years. It just sucks when they have to lose their integrity to do it.

          But the old records are still there so I can continue to party like it’s 1972.

          Liked by 1 person

        9. That sounds like a groovy party man.
          Peace.

          I just had a thought.

          I wonder what kind of awesome sauce would have happened if Chicago of that era had done a collaboration with Maggot Brain era Funkadelic.
          Oh the licks that Kath and Eddie Hazel could have laid down.
          The horns. The bass. Wow.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah, these guys got schmaltzy later in the ’80’s and on for reasons I was discussing with boppinsblog. But boy were they good back in the early days. Glad you dug it.

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  4. I wasn’t going to chime in here. I never gave these guys anytime at all. But when you and Bruce (Vinyl Connection) give something a thumbs up, CB pays attention (a bit anyway). Listened to the cut and your take is bang on. Love the Coltrane reference (Still laughing). I do remember ’25 or 6 to 4′. I liked that song and the guitar. Kind of a memorable riff at the start. I guess I got exposed to what you stated in your opening paragraph. That was not CB’s style. Sounds like a similar thing to Fleetwood Mac. A tale of two bands in one.

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  5. Yeah, it’s tough if you jump on the train to Chicago when they are headed toward wimptown. But boy, that first couple of albums had some good stuff. And then after that, for a while they still had some good songs, could still pull it off. That’s the Chicago I prefer to remember. BTW, I saw them on cable TV maybe a year back. It was a live gig. That horn section is still intact and they had a hot new guitarist. They can easily pull off that old stuff if they want to. But that early band deserves recognition and I wanted to put that out there. More later when I eventually do a series.

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    1. I cant get that sax solo out of my head or the smile off my face. It took CB a while to warm up and find the groove with horn/rock. Van and Bruce helped me early on with their sound, mostly sax but it paved the way . Just because I trust you and have an inquiring mind (don’t want to miss good music ) I am going to do a little listening research on this Band. I will stick with the early stuff. Go Bruins!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I think you’re right, it’s a cool song and Chicago is a terrific band, especially their first few albums. Growing up in the 80s, I have a weak spot for the music of that decade, so admittedly, I also like some of the mega-ballads Chicago released during that period. That being said, nothing beats “25 or 6 to 4!” Kath was a hell of a guitarist. In fact, Jimi Hendrix reportedly once told Walter Parazaider, “Your horn players are one set of lungs and your guitar player is better than me.”

    I did a post back in Feb about Chicago’s 50th anniversary…

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    1. I’ll definitely check your post out. But yeah, it’s hard for me to start with their early work, then hear “If You Should Leave Me Now,” or whatever it’s called and really enjoy it. Just not the same.

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  7. Great song, and I reallt agree about Terry Kath – a great guitar player and a fantastic voice.. I’ve been listening to Chocago non-stop since I saw the documentary. If you have Spotify you’ll find Steven Wilson remix of this album (II) there.

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