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Kansas Works In Progress album cover
2.50 | 9 ratings | 1 reviews | 56% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc 1 (CD):
1. Mysteries & Mayhem (8:25)
2. Portrait (He Knew) (5:38)
3. Down the Road (5:51)
4. Black Fathom 4 (5:54)
5. Freaks of Nature (4:07)
6. Under the Knife (5:00)
7. I Can Fly (5:21)
8. Peaceful and Warm (6:47)
9. The Wall (5:30)
10. Cheyenne Anthem (7:30)
11. Hold On (4:15)
12. Dust in the Wind (3:57)

Total Time: 68:17

Disc 2 (DVD):
Icarus II
Icarus I
Mysteries & Mayhem
Portrait (He Knew)
Down the Road
Hold On

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Walsh / vocals, keyboards
- Richard Williams / guitars
- Kerry Livgren / guitars, arrangements
- Billy Greer / bass
- Phil Ehart / drums
- Robby Steinhardt / violin, vocals
- David Ragsdale / violin

Releases information

CD/DVD Compendia B000EMGADA (2006)

Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the addition
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Works in ProgressWorks in Progress
Compendia 2006
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KANSAS Works In Progress ratings distribution

(9 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(56%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(0%)
Good, but non-essential (11%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (22%)

KANSAS Works In Progress reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ClemofNazareth
2 stars I have all kinds of theories about why this collection exists, some of which may be accurate, and some not. No matter, they’re my theories and if you weren’t at least a bit curious you wouldn’t be reading this. So here goes.

This was released in April 2006, just after the band finished a moderately successful European tour in 2005 and as they were getting started on their 2006 concert schedule. I’m guessing it was intended to be something they could hawk at concerts that featured some of their more rocking works of the nineties, as they probably intended these to be featured more prominently on that tour. It was released again as a Dutch import in late 2006 with a slightly altered track order, possibly to promote David Ragsdale returning to the band and to emphasize the Ragsdale/Steve Morse era of the band. Several tracks here are from the ‘Freaks of Nature’ and ‘Live at the Whiskey’ albums which featured that band lineup.

First, the good parts: The sound quality is excellent, and the inclusion of the ‘Always Never the Same’ tracks “Dust in the Wind”, “Hold On”, “Cheyenne Anthem”, “The Wall”, and especially “Song for America” were great choices. That album featured backing by the London Symphony Orchestra, and these are the best tracks from it. The other decent audio tracks are “Down the Road” and “Portrait (He Knew)” from the Whiskey live album.

There are also the ‘Freaks of Nature’ tracks, which aren’t so good. Walsh’s voice is strained, the lyrics are negative and depressing, there is nothing progressive about them, and there are too many of them as opposed to maybe something from ‘Power’ or ‘In the Spirit of Things’: “I Can Fly”, “Black Fathom 4”, “Under the Knife”, “Peaceful and Warm”, and the title track.

There is also a video DVD, about which I have mixed feelings. The video from the 2002 ‘Device-Voice-Drum’ concert has good renditions of “Belexes”, “Icarus”, and “Icarus II” (originally recorded for the 2000 studio reunion ‘Somewhere to Elsewhere’).

But that’s where the fun ends. The DVD includes the ‘Always Never the Same’ recordings of “Hold On” and “Dust in the Wind”, but these are audio-only and the only added feature is Surround Sound, which is okay but I would have preferred videos. And the rest of the videos are simply an embarrassment. “Mysteries & Mayhem”, “Portrait (He Knew)”, and “Down the Road” are from the 1992 Live at the Whiskey concert, and while most of the band was pretty tight that night, Steve Walsh was entirely too loose and his voice was simply shot. He is clearly coked-up for the show, this being shortly after his first arrest and rehab stint, and shortly before his second. His eyes are dilated, his movements exaggerated and sophomoric, and his keyboard playing shoddy, or in some cases just faked. He is wearing some kind of ragged outfit and a sloppy haircut that makes him look like a forty year old man trying to pass himself off as a twenty year old kid, which of course is exactly what he was at the time. This is a picture of a man who has completely lost touch of what it was that made this band great, and is showing all the reasons why his actions and ego were such a big part of their falling apart in the early eighties. It actually pains me to watch these videos, and I feel sorry for the rest of the band who are simply trying to make a living and put on a good show. I can’t even imagine why Walsh felt it was a good idea to resurrect this footage – he should be glad he’s clean now and try and put those dark days behind him, not showcase them. So, one more theory – this is maybe part of some self-deprecating 12-step program where he is being required to face his demons as penance for all the pain he caused people all those years. I think that must be it.

Fortunately this collection didn’t set me back much, because if it had been as expensive as the much more professional and dignified ‘Sail On’ compilation I would have been very pissed.

So – some good songs; some very bad ones. About half the ‘Freaks of Nature’ album reissued verbatim. Four very good videos and three awful ones. And two very good recordings (“Hold On” and “Dust in the Wind”) that would have been awesome if they would have been accompanied by videos. All told, this would be the last Kansas compilation I would recommend anyone spend money on. I can’t think of any reason to recommend it other than the ‘Device-Voice-Drum’ videos and the ‘Always Never the Same’ symphony recordings, and you can get both of those albums for about the same price as this two-disc set. I’d recommend doing just that and passing on this one. Two stars.


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