Chicago, “Bright Eyes” from Chicago VIII (2002 reissue): Saturdays in the Park
Despite the fact 1975’s Chicago VIII was a No. 1 album with two big hits, the album always left me unimpressed. Chicago seems a little tired, just needing some time off the road and out of the studio. That being said, I find the three bonus tracks added to the remastered 2002 Rhino release quite engaging.
“Bright Eyes,” a Robert Lamm’s contribution, may not be as strong as the two bonus instrumentals but it is still a delight. Jazzy and infectious, riding on a wave of Rhodes, hi-hat, bass drum and Laudir de Oliveira shakers and bongos, the song has a delicate samba feel. Drummer Danny Seraphine keeps things simple and elegant as Terry Kath adds delicate jazz licks to the sonic stew.
Lamm’s vocals are carefree, with an almost first-take feel, and there are just slight hints of Peter Cetera’s bass. The fabled Chicago horns are not included on “Bright Eyes,” as producer James Guercio knows exactly how to employ the less-is-more approach. The song could have been included in Chicago VII – and, in fact, may have been pushed off by some of the more pop-oriented songs. Luckily, it finally made it onto VIII, 27 years later.