Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Kansas - The Best of Kansas (1999)  CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.25 | 42 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars This remastered version of Kansas’ ‘Best of’ collection is better than the original in many respects, but in the final analysis it can really be seen as simply a partial correction of some of the obvious deficiencies in the original, and overall is not really much of an improvement.

The digital remastering really doesn’t appear to add much here, and at times there seems to be a trace of echo effect added to Walsh’s voice that is even slightly distracting (particularly on “No One Together” and “The Pinnacle”), but overall the quality is excellent. As with too many remasters, the band misses a great opportunity to add some real value and insight with any personal notes, old war-stories from the road, or anything to distinguish this as anything more than a commercial venture. Too bad.

The included tracks make the same sense they did fifteen years prior to this release, with the only retraction on this new version being the forgettable “Perfect Lover”, and good riddance as far as I’m concerned.

The additions are a mixed-bag. “The Pinnacle” from the 1975 studio album Masque, and “Closet Chronicles” from 1977’s Point of Know Return are both outstanding inclusions and definitely improve the overall offering. “The Pinnacle” is often cited as a favorite by hard-core fans of the band, and is a solid progressive effort with brilliant keyboard work, a varied and inspiring rhythm, and thoughtful lyrics. “Closet Chronicles” is an intensely invasive look at the person of Howard Hughes, and musically is both progressive enough for right-leaning fans of the genre, and accessible enough to interest casual fans.

The other new inclusion is “The Devil Game” from 1975’s Song for America. This one is a bit harder to explain. It is a heavy blues number with odd meters and co-lead vocals from violinist Robby Steinhardt and keyboardist Steve Walsh, plus some flat-out wicked bass by Dave Hope. But this is not anywhere near the top of most fans’ best-of lists, and I’m at a bit of a loss to explain why it is included here.

The misses are the same as those on the original release - “Lonely Wind”, “People of the South Wind”, “Reason to Be”, “Got to Rock On”, and “Right Away” were all hit singles but didn’t find their way onto this release. And fans would have to look back to the 1994 boxed-set for a more comprehensive look at some of the band’s better progressive works like “Incomudro”, “Icarus”, “Death of Mother Nature Suite”, “Journey from Mariabronn”, and “Magnum Opus”, or forward to Sail On in 2004 for “Lamplight Symphony”, “Miracles Out of Nowhere”, or “Cheyenne Anthem”. For other gems like “Belexes”, “Apercu”, “The Pilgrimage”, “Hopelessly Human”, or “A Glimpse of Home”, the original studio releases are the only option.

This is a slightly better version of the original ‘Best of’, largely because “Perfect Lover” has been removed, and “The Pinnacle” and “Closet Chronicles” have been added. That said, the glaring weaknesses of the album remain in the tracks that were not included, especially considering the band could have left out “The Devil Game” and had anywhere from ten to twenty minutes of recording time left to add a couple of better choices from the early studio albums.

In that light I can’t see rating this one much above the original, so three stars here again. If you’re buying this album new today, this is the version you’ll get anyway since the 1984 version is out of print and largely unavailable.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this KANSAS review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives