Aorta

Aorta

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This is the debut album by a relatively obscure Chicago-based group whose membership can be linked to various other Chicago-area groups who have wider name recognition, including the Rotary Connection, Lovecraft (formerly H.P. Lovecraft), and New Colony Six. After first recording a single for Atlantic Records in 1968, the group -- previously a lounge act called the Exceptions -- signed with Columbia Records, the label who issued this eponymous debut, in 1969, during the same month that debut albums by three other Chicago-area acts were issued by Columbia: Illinois Speed Press, the Flock, and Chicago Transit Authority (featuring Peter Cetera). Columbia marketed each of these albums together as a part of a so-called "Chicago Sound," and all four entered the Billboard Top 200. Despite using numerous sound library effects (crying babies, ringing telephones, etc.) and the fact that songs on each side of the album run together with no break in between, Aorta probably shouldn't be viewed as a "psychedelic" album. Instead, a more accurate description would emphasize the group's jazzier art rock side, not to mention their abundant use of dramatic pseudo-soul vocals and histrionic guitar/organ arrangements. In truth, Aorta sound more like a few other keyboard-heavy rock acts of their day, especially Three Dog Night and Argent. The only single taken from the LP was "Strange" (an edited version of the track issued earlier by Atlantic) b/w the wonderfully titled "Ode to Missy Mxyzosptlk." Aorta's album ended up peaking at around number 168 and remained on Billboard's charts for a respectable six weeks. Aorta was reissued on CD in 1996.

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