Chicago

Chicago XXVI -- The Live Album

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Perhaps a Chicago live album sounds terribly unfashionable. Indeed, the band fell into decline in the early '90s, but by decade's end, the hit-making group known for its horn charts and high harmonies was in fighting shape, as this live set will attest. Four of the six original members are here, and they cook up some delicious sounds from the group's early history -- a stunning "Seachin' So Long," a convincing "Call On Me," a suitably dramatic "Just You 'N' Me," and a solid "Beginnings." Later material like "Hard Habit to Break" is here, but, wisely, the late '80s material was left out of the final mix. Sadly, the new material, produced by Roy Bittan, doesn't have any bite, and an appalling cover of Jackie Wilson's "Higher and Higher," sung by Doobie Brother Michael McDonald, closes the show.

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