CHICAGO XI was issued in September 1977 and in hindsight has emerged as an era-closer. They dispensed with James William Guercio's production services (feeling he was dominating too much) and in January 1978, Terry Kath accidentally shot himself and died. Remarkably, his presence on CHICAGO XI is at its most intense since the third album in 1971, with him singing 4 out of the 11 songs. Peter Cetera wrote the only big hit on the album "Baby What A Big Surprise" and the album topped out at # 6 at home, a big hit, but clearly Chicago were beginning to lose ground on the charts by this time. Still there are many highlights here. "Mississippi Delta City Blues", an old Terry Kath number from the early days, gives the album a great beginning, full of his great playing and vocals as well as those trademark horns. Robert Lamm's sympathetic "Policeman" is a very affecting ballad, while "Take Me Back To Chicago" (which was NOT autobiographical, though it had personal relevance) proved that the band also had a talented songwriter in drummer Danny Seraphine. Lee Loughnane's "This Time" is also a mid-tempo pleaser, while the album ends on a poignant and high-spirited note with Danny's "Prelude (Little One)" and "Little One" itself, sung memorably by Terry Kath. You really feel the loss of Terry on these last two cuts - in fact, on the whole album. The band were devastated by his tragic passing, yet persevered and decided to carry on. Unfortunately, the widely-changed musical climate would be very difficult for Chicago to excel like they had the past 8 years. CHICAGO XI stands as the closing chapter on the band's first (and greatest) era.