Friday, August 31, 2012

Fat Friday Feature: Peter Cetera On Chicago's "Make Me Smile"

"Fat Friday Feature" is a regular feature that showcases bad ass bass players/bass parts.  

It's been a while since there's been a "Fat Friday Feature", so let's start off with a controversial choice:  Peter Cetera.  That's right:  Peter fuckin' Cetera.  The motherfucker whose music plagued my junior high years.  Peter "Karate Kid" Cetera.  I could not escape his music as a child either. There was always a radio on in our house, and Chicago was all over it.  And one of the family favorite 8-track tapes - a compilation of music that you got when you bought a new Oldsmobile - had "Make Me Smile" on it, so I heard that tune in particular with great frequency.

But open your mind and let the bass in.  It's pretty damn good.  If you've read even a couple "Fat Friday Features", you know of my fondness for aggressive playing (particularly when the guitar player is soloing), and that's here in abundance.  A part of me wants to believe that a d-bag ballad singer like Cetera can't play bass that well.  I looked for live versions of this tune on You Tube; and sure enough, not only is it there with Cetera playing/singing harmonies, but he's playing it even faster than the LP version.*  So listen closely and I think you'll come to my point of view - Peter Cetera can play a damn bass.  Don't let haters tell you otherwise.  To put it another way:  Peter, I am a man who will fight for your honor.

* - Ultimately, I opted out of any live versions I found on You Tube because as great as Peter Cetera's playing may have been, Terry Kath's vocals always overshadowed everything else.  That guy could sing.

4 comments:

  1. Terry Kath was also an occasionally badass guitar player. The first Chicago album, CTA, is actually a lot different than the adult alternative crap they've become mainly known for. In retrospect, their songs are actually not so bad, "Make Me Smile" being a prime example.

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    1. Kath's solo in "Make Me Smile" is actually smokin' in my estimation. So he's pretty under rated as both a guitarist AND a vocalist. I always thought he and Al Kooper were among two coolest vocalists of the 1970s.

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  2. Chicago's first lineup had Kath on bass and Cetera on guitar.
    When vocal chores started lining up, Cetera had Kath take the guitar chair.
    One of the original 2 keyboard players of CTA was an assist-prof at Ohio State and would tell us stories of the band.
    He would have Lamm come down to Columbus and give master classes in modern harmonic theory; very, very, cool.

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  3. that IS very cool, actually. And I didn't know that Cetera started out in Chicago on guitar. Good stuff - thanks for sounding off!

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