Writers Workshop: More Pepper And My Favorite Album

Seeing as how Kat was nice enough to add a prompt that said "Write about a pet you named Pepper," I figured I’d start with some more pictures of her…

That last picture is of her with her "kitten," Tuffy. From the time they saw each other, they bonded.

We’ve had more than a few cats pass through the doors at Chez Holton. Most are gone now. I miss them…

So, that’s prompts 1 and 6. The one I really wanted to get to was 4, "Tell us about a song you listened to nonstop as a teen."

My favorite band when I was in high school was Chicago. I pretty much played their first three albums nonstop. I had their live album, Chicago At Carnegie Hall, which was a pretty underwhelming experience. I’ve heard that they’ve reworked it, cutting out some of the tuning and general stage noise and focusing more on the music, so I might look that up at some point and give it a listen.

Anyway, in summer 1972 Chicago released their fifth album, Chicago V, and I risked life and limb riding my bicycle over bicycle-unfriendly roads to be the first one to bu it, mostly because I was worried they’d be out of it when I got there, because it was a pretty well-anticipated album. I was a little disappointed at first: all of their previous albums were multi-record sets, while this one was a single record, meaning less jamming, but I took it home and listened to it straight through a couple of times. And I had to admit that it was a pretty good record, and listened to it a few more times. And most of the summer, as I recall…

The first ten songs were on the vinyl album; the last three were extras added when Rhino reissued the album. There were a few songs I didn’t like, mostly the ones that relied on ’70’s anti-war, anti-cop, "don’t trust anyone over 30" rhetoric, but there were a couple of songs that got into odd time signatures ("A Hit By Varese" and "Goodbye"), "Darlin’ Dear" with its nasty slide guitar, and of course "Saturday In The Park," the first single.

In final analysis, it was worth the money and the dangerous bike ride to get it.

16 thoughts on “Writers Workshop: More Pepper And My Favorite Album

  1. Kids today don’t know how good they have it with their digital downloads! Although there was a special appreciation to be had for albums when you spent hard-earned money for them and listened to them all the way through cover to cover! Who doesn’t love Chicago!?

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    1. There was a mystique about going to the record store, picking up the album or 45, paying for it, and bringing it home. Even cassettes or CD’s were an event. It’s almost too easy now.

      I think the wheels came off for Chicago when Terry Kath died. He was the heart and soul of the band. They’ve carried on well without him, but now four of the original guys are gone, and the sound isn’t the same. The band that does their music better than they do is Leonid and Friends out of Russia. Leonid has written their arrangements out by ear and gotten them right, and the band sound more like Chicago than Chicago does. They’ve branched out and now do some Earth Wind & Fire, Blood Sweat & Tears, The Ides of March, Steely Dan, and even a few originals. There’s a young woman who performs with them named Ksenia Buzina who has the looks and the voice of an international superstar. She performs in Las Vegas as Ksenona. She’s done a few YouTubes, as have Leonid and Friends. YouTube is the greatest place to find new music these days. I have a list of the artists and bands that I’ve discovered through YT, and there must be 40-50 names on it…

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  2. Pepper is so sweet…reminds me of our Nady who gad the same look. My brother loves Chicago. They are excellent and have actusl people play actual instruments.

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    1. Has your brother heard Leonid and Friends? I think they sound more like Chicago than Chicago does nowadays. And yes, Pepper was very sweet and a pretty kitty.

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  3. Chicago did some fantastic music. I often avoided live albums because the crowd noises and other extraneous aural annoyances. Then there were those obligatory drum solos that could take up as much as an entire album side. Though there the occasional gems, I could have done without most of the drum solos. I guess they are mostly a “had to be there” moment.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I think the live album really detracted from the music. The sound quality was terrible. I think I heard there’s a remastered version out there. Maybe that will redeem it…

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      1. Yes! She was a gorgeous cat. Our Angel Amanda was a very photogenic cat but Calllie not so much. Her markings are beautiful but don’t show up well in photos.

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