Chicago – Christmas With Chicago (1998)

frontcover1In 1998 Chicago released their 25th album, called “The Christmas Album”.

And William Ruhlmann wrote about this album in “All Music Guide” (12/1999):

When Chicago first achieved national recognition in the late 1960s and early ’70s, it wasn’t hip for rock bands to make Christmas albums. Things changed, of course, but it took until 1998 for Chicago finally to fill this missing item in its catalog, at a time when the group seemed to have entered that phase of its career when it wanted to keep putting out records but didn’t want to risk releasing new material. (Chicago’s three previous releases had consisted of an album of big band standards and two greatest hits sets.) Whatever the circumstances, however, it was good to hear the Chicago style applied to seasonal standards. As ever, the group was a cooperative unit, with the three lead singers-Bill Champlin, Robert Lamm, and Jason Scheff-taking turns on the different songs, arranged by various band members and always allowing for generous contributions by the horn players Lee Loughnane, James Pankow, and Walt Parazaider. The songs were all seasonal favorites except for Loughnane and John Durrill’s “Child’s Prayer, ” featuring a choir dominated by the musicians’ children, which sounded so much like a Middle Ages English hymn that it fit right in. Highlights included a particularly moving vocal on “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” by the gruff-voiced Champlin, a wonderful doubled flute passage by Parazaider on “O Come All Ye Faithful, ” and a rare lead vocal by Loughnane on “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” But the whole album, pristinely produced by E Street Band pianist Roy Bittan, was well performed. It sounded exactly like you would expect a Chicago Christmas album to sound, and if you liked the band and holiday music, you’d like the record, too.

And here ist a very rare live performance from Chicgo, to promote this album, recorded live at the House Of Blues, Los Angeles, CA, December 8, 1998 —  it´s a broadcast recording … so, we can hear the sound of Chicago in an excellent quality …

Enjoy this album … but I have to say …  the early incarnation of Chicago (Transit Authority) was much better !

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Personnel:
Bill Champlin (vocals, keyboards, guitar)
Keith Howland (guitar, keyboards)
Tris Imboden (drums)
Robert Lamm (vocals, piano)
Lee Loughnane (trumpet, flügelhorn, vocals)
James Pankow (trombone)
Walter Parazaider (woodwinds)
Jason Scheff (vocals, bass)

studioalbum

The Christmas studio album (coming soon in this blog)

Tracklist:
01. Intro 1.23
02.Little Drummer Boy (Davis/Onorati/Simeone) 4.39
03. You´re The Inspiration () 4.30
04. Hard Habit To Break () 3.49
05. The Christmas Song () 3.59
06. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (Kahn/Styne) 4.03
07. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (Traditional) 3.43
08. Saturday In The Park () 2.55
09. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Martin/Blane) 4.17
10.  Just You N Me () 6.04
11. Hard To Say Sorry + Get Away () 5.31
12. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (Gillespie/Coots) 4.11
13. Outro 1.18

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