Monday’s Music Moves Me: Leonid & Friends

When I was in high school, I loved the band Chicago. I would spend hours in my room, playing their albums over and over, hanging on every note. Don’t believe me? Ask Mark, a/k/a lecycliste, my closest friend from high school. I like to think I was the one who turned him on to Chicago, and he’s about as into them as I am. Or ask Kip, who had to put up with it.

There’s been quite a turnover in Chicago, with the death of guitarist Terry Kath, the departure of bassist Peter Cetera, and the unceremonious termination of drummer Danny Seraphine. Recently, woodwinds player Walt Parazaider has had to stop touring due to bad health. Other, more recent members have come and gone, and the sound is still there, albeit different ecause of all the changes. Dave, The Real Music Observer on YouTube, talks quite a bit about Chicago, recently expressing the opinion that the current lineup of the band, three original members (keyboardist Robert Lamm, trombonist Jim Pankow, and trumpeter Lee Loughnane) notwithstanding, is really nothing more than a tribute band. Of course, there’s all kinds of arguments over that, but tucked in among the comments are people who have been saying that, if they want to hear a Chicago tribute band, they’d rather listen to Leonid & Friends.

Now I’ve seen Leonid’s tribute videos pop up in my YouTube feed, but until this morning, I hadn’t taken the time to listen. What I heard brought me to tears, and no, I’m not just saying that. Leonid Vorobyev and a group of highly-talented and dedicated musicians from Russia have recreated the music of Chicago and have given it new life. Leonid tells us, on the band’s Facebook page

That was my crazy idea – 2014’ fall I’ve reached a pension age – (60 in Russia) but I didn’t retire from business, I just decided to make something special to celebrate the date. The best way is to gather my friends for recording one of my favourite songs. I didn’t expect such effect. Every musician have a job and lack of time. But they are my friends and I was strongly determined to drive the nail home. I’ve started to make it just for myself and partly for my peers-musicians to encourage them, but later I saw everybody love it more and more. Step by step… and in the end it seemed good enough to call two guys with camera and shoot the video. When the first video (Brand New Love Affair) got so warm reception every participant told me – “let’s do the next one”. What have I gotten into? I said Okay, Make Me Smile is the next! Now we have seven songs finished and four more songs in progression. So it’s just started over.☺

Basically, these guys (and a few women) are doing this for, pardon the expression, shits and giggles, and have created something beautiful. They’re not perfect (you hear the occasional Russian accent, and the arrangements are a little off in places), but that just proves that these aren’t musicians pretending to play and sing these songs while the original songs are piped in. No, this is a labor of love; as they say at the beginning of each video, “As a tribute to the one of the greatest bands in the world!” Here’s my playlist for this week.

  1. Old Days
  2. Make Me Smile
  3. 25 or 6 to 4
  4. If You Leave Me Now
  5. Hard To Say I’m Sorry/Get Away
  6. Questions 67 and 68
  7. Beginnings
  8. Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?
  9. Saturday In The Park
  10. Wishing You Were Here

Their first album, Chicagovich, is available on iTunes and a few other places. I’ve been listening to it as I wrote this.

Spasibo, Leonid & Friends. You’ve made this old Chicago fan happier than you can imagine. That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for July 9, 2018.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, Alana, Michelle and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.