Group Portrait [4 CD]

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Weighing in at four discs and 63 songs, Group Portrait offers an excellent, comprehensive overview of Chicago's prime period. Be forewarned: this does not dip into the group's early-'80s hits or post-Peter Cetera recordings, choosing to end the story before their 1982 comeback. Although this music is missed, this isn't a fatal flaw, since instead of telling the band's story, this box sketches a portrait of the group at their creative peak. And it works very well indeed. Chicago most certainly made albums, yet those albums, no matter if they were intended conceptually, really played better as a series of moments. This collects those moments, whether they're hits or album tracks, spotlighting Chicago at their very best. Is it for everybody? No, since most casual listeners will be content with the fine hits collections, and some hardcore fans will still swear by the albums -- yet for the audience that wants all of prime '70s Chicago in one set, this box set couldn't be better.

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