...when you've been waiting for something for years and it finally comes to pass.
15 years ago, when I was younger and in college I had heard a rumor of a new Chicago album. One that had never come into existence, sadly, because of something that went wrong. I wasn't well enough connected to find out what went wrong. All I knew was that they weren't with Warner Brothers any longer and were going to strike out on their own.
They started a label, they released a few more albums, and I sort of forgot about the one that never came out. I knew it wasn't any of the ones that had come out and it didn't occur to me to search the 'net about it and what happened years earlier.
Then, one day, while my mind wandered when I was listening to a streaming radio station and '25 or 6 to 4' came on, it popped into my head and I searched. Warner Brothers had apparently hated the album and were going to refuse to promote it. The band was working on a deal with them about releasing a comprehensive back catalog of stuff. Everything stalled and they went their separate ways.
But the band kept the master recordings. How smart that was. And fortunate because that's when I found out about that lost album. People who were connected had well worn cassette tapes of it. Less well connected people had copies of those cassette tapes. And someone reasonably connected had gotten mp3s of the master recordings and had them posted on the 'net on a web page.
I sat for a few moments, a few years ago, thinking about the implications of what I was about to do. I was about to download the songs from the 'net for a bootleg album. Considering how I normally feel about copyright and artists rights, this did not sit well with me, but the temptation was too great. After all, the band didn't have a label at the time because they had folded their own and it was likely that this was never ever going to see the light of day.
So I did it. I listened to it and walked away. I came back and listened again. I downloaded it at home so that I would have it there and had DH burn a CD for me. It became the most listened to CD in my collection that year. It was different and yet, sorta the same. I could see why Warner at the time hated it - it wasn't Chicago, and yet, it was.
It wasn't the power ballad entity of 17 & 18 that they were looking for. But it was the Chicago of the early CBS days when they did a little bit of everything.
Fast forward a few years. They've put out a Christmas album and re-released it with additional tracks. 5 more greatest hits compilations have come out (no joke, and one of them was a live album that's out of print that I wish I had a second copy of to sell on eBay). They signed with Rhino records and remastered the original albums and are slowly releasing them.
And here we are, 15 years after that lost album was turned down and it's finally here on CD. I bought a copy yesterday and it's clear they've cleaned some things up. That well loved bootleg CD will continue to live on my racks because they dropped one track, and added cleaned up demos of other things that I had from other sources. But now I don't feel as guilty anymore. I've been waiting 5 years to throw money at someone for an officially pressed, officially released version of this thing as my penance for downloading it in the first place...
...and now I'm very happy I have.
Chicago's 'Stone of Sisyphus' (originally 22, and now numbered 32) is out as of yesterday, is definitely worth a listen and was #11 on Amazon's music best sellers the day of release. That certainly says something about this old band that's been around for 40 years...