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4 stars For a library user these multi-album sets are very handy! This contains the first five albums of the American Symphonic / Hard Prog legend Kansas, covering their best era. As usual, the original vinyl covers are duplicated as they are, which causes some uncomfort if one wishes to read the texts. The printing is really tiny and there are no details such as tracks' running times, or band members listed. Also information concerning bonus live tracks are missing (they seem to be the same bonuses as the CD editions of the individual albums have had). Therefor it would be very friendly from Sony to accompany these minimalistic sets with an additional sheet of paper giving at least some information, if not the original liner notes having appeared elsewhere than outer cover.

Pardon me for concentrating on the physical aspects. Just a few words on the music. Even though I have probably heard three or four of these albums some long time ago, it was - at this point of my prog journey - very useful to listen to them all at once. I found many good proggy tracks (more or less new to me), such as 'Apercu' from the debut, and 'Lamplight Symphony' and 'Incomudro - Hymn To The Atman' from the second album.

While I agree with the common idea that Leftoverture and its follower Point Of Know Return were Kansas' highest achievements both artistically and commercially, the three earlier albums have some great stuff that have unjustly remained less well-known. The two albums of classic status may be better executed on the whole, as the band's weakest - the least interesting ones for a prog listener, that is - straight rock songs are to be found on their earlier albums. So, especially with a band like this, whose style operates between Brit-influenced Symphonic Prog and American Hard Rock with a certain 'big country' feel to it, this is really the best way to get a fresh close look at their halcyon days.

Report this review (#722081)
Posted Wednesday, April 11, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Basically, this is pretty much about all the Kansas anyone could need or want. All 5 of their classic early studio albums are here with some live bonuses thrown in to sweeten the pot. 264 minutes of great American Progressive Rock is here from KANSAS through SONG FOR AMERICA, up to POINT OF KNOW RETURN. This stops just when the group was starting to run out of ideas, (MONOLITH, etc...), which is perfect in my mind. Great way to pick up all this band had to offer over a decade of proggin and rocking. Easily worth 4 stars and the money especially if you can locate it used on cd.
Report this review (#752844)
Posted Sunday, May 13, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars If you know the Original Album Classics series and similar, you know the deal here: small slipcase, set of CDs in simple cardboard sleeves replicating the original LP sleeve design, no booklet, no frills.

In this case, this collection brings together the first five Kansas studio albums. There's another box set which includes the Two For the Show live album and all the studio albums up to Drastic Measures - but you'd have to be a very uncritical Kansas fan to want all of those.

As it is, this is a cheap way to get the cornerstone of a Kansas collection, and for many this (plus perhaps Two For The Show) will be the only Kansas they really need. For a fairly reasonable price you get two widely-acknowledged classics (Leftoverture and Point of Know Return), a strong and overlooked album (Song For America), and two albums which aren't as hot as the others here but which both have strong moments and are nice to have as a bonus (Kansas and Masque).

Report this review (#2691415)
Posted Friday, February 11, 2022 | Review Permalink

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