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Kansas - Song For America CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.13 | 661 ratings

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4 stars This was the first Kansas album I bought in 1975. I went into my usual record store hangout (Giant Music where 90% of my record collection came from!) and was talking prog with one of the sales reps and he pulls out this album saying If you're into Yes or ELP, you'll like these guys! So I figured what the heck and bought it.

Funny thing is, the first thing that came into my mind when I first played it was how identical Walsh's voice was to Mark Farner's of Grand Funk Railroad! Seriously, listen to I'm Your Captain and tell me the two don't sound alike! That aside, I certainly noticed the influence the previous said artists had on them but still keeping a rather Americana sound at the same time. Besides the keyboard injections inspired by Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman, the dualing lead guitars of Livgren and Williams were certainly inspired by the works of Duane Allman and Dicky Betts with The Allman Brothers Band. So there you have it folks, Yes meets The Allman Brothers! Well, maybe not that simple but certainly a good mix!

I'm not going to over all tracks here, but the highlights are: the title track with some great melodies and innovative time signatures; The Devil Game, a fast and furious rocker that just knocked my feet off the floor; Lonely Street, probably the best lyrics on the whole album; Incomudro - Hymn to the Atman is ok but very uneven, but as a drummer myself Ehart's solo certainly raised my eyebrows.

All in all, I've always considered Happy The Man the best of the American prog bands (maybe a little Wash D.C. native bias here, but oh well!) but Kansas comes to a very close second, at least for a while. After Leftoverture (another good one), I pretty much ditched them for getting too polished and commercial, plus my musical tastes were already more in line with Fusion at this time anyway. Still, this album does indeed demonstrate Kansas' musical abilities during their best years.

'nuff said 4 stars!

marktheshark | 4/5 |


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