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THE BEST OF KANSAS

Kansas

Symphonic Prog


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Kansas The Best of Kansas album cover
2.49 | 56 ratings | 18 reviews | 7% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1984

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Carry on (5:22)
2. Point of know return (3:11)
3. Fight fire with fire (3:40)
4. Dust in the wind (3:27)
5. Song for America (9:08)
6. Perfect lover (4:19)
7. Hold on (3:52)
8. No one together (6:57)
9. Play the game tonight (3:26)
10. The wall (4:49)

Total Time: 48:11

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Phil Ehart / drums, percussion
- Dave Hope / bass, autogyro
- Kerry Livgren / guitars, keyboards
- Robby Steinhardt / lead vocals, viola, violin
- Steve Walsh / lead vocals, keyboards
- John Elefante / lead vocals, keyboards
- Rich Williams / acoustic & electric guitars

Releases information

Cd. Legacy ZK 65690 (Remastered 1999)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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KANSAS The Best of Kansas ratings distribution


2.49
(56 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
7%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(22%)
22%
Good, but non-essential (33%)
33%
Collectors/fans only (38%)
38%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

KANSAS The Best of Kansas reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This compilation is very often the first Kansas album a person owns. It was certainly the first purchase I made, and in retrospect I can avow that it did a decent job of distilling some of the group's strengths. It let me know that beyond the brilliance of Kansas two momumental singles Carry On Wayward Son and Dust In The Wind lay some great tunes like Song For America. In fact, I often insist that people listen to Song For America (which I still think is Kansas' finest prog acheivement) before talking about Kansas.

However, what this Best Of also shows is Kansas' sad decline through the late 70s. Songs like Hold On and No One Together are from the tail-end of the classic line-up's tenure and don't hold a candle to true Kansas prog gems like Journey From Mariabronn, Death Of Mother Nature Suite, Icarus (Borne On Wings Of Steel) and Mircales Out Of Nowhere. And don't get me started on just how awful the John Elefante songs are. Perfect Lover and Fight Fire With Fire sound woefully out of place here.

I must hasten to add that the version I own is the older (1984) shorter one with 10 tracks, In 1999 the collection was remastered and issued with three additional tracks The Pinnacle, Devil Game and Closet Chronicles (you won't miss Perfect Lover which was dropped), making it more relevant as an introduction to Kansas. I'd actually give that new version an extra star. This may well be all the Kansas most people need, although it's worth pointing out that I now value each of the first 5 albums more than I value this collection. ... 44% on the MPV scale

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Send comments to Trotsky (BETA) | Report this review (#21892) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, May 01, 2005

Review by ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars There’s really no good reason for the title of this album to be “Best of”. While it does include some of the band’s most well-known music, it also features some that could never be considered among their best.

This seems to have been an attempt to capitalize on Kansas’ fading popularity and nostalgia at a time when the band was in their death throes. They would of course resurface and soldier on for another twenty years (and counting), and would even dress up this album and release it again fifteen years later. But by the time ‘Best of’ was released in late 1984, band co-founder Kerry Livgren and bassist Dave Hope were on their way out, singer/violinist Robby Steinhardt and singer/keyboardist Steve Walsh were gone, and even Walsh’s replacement singer/guitar-faker John Elephante had one foot out the door. Only drummer Phil Ehart and guitarist Rich Williams remained from the original lineup, and even Phil would take a hiatus for a few months after the band reformed for the 1986 Power release.

But these problems aside, this was a fairly decent representation at the time of the Kansas signature sound, just not the best possible selection of songs.

There are ten tracks on this original release. Included are the obligatory and classic singles “Carry on Wayward Son”, “Dust in the Wind”, and “Point of Know Return”, as well as the commercially successful “Play the Game Tonight”, “Hold On”, and “Portrait (He Knew)”. “Song for America” made it onto the album and rightfully so, as this was a concert favorite for years and arguably the best representation of the band’s progressive side. From there on things get a bit more convoluted.

“Fight Fire With Fire” was the last hit single for the band before their 1984 breakup, but this was basically an AOR arena-rock offering and wasn’t even particularly successful as a single as it only managed to reach #76 on the American charts. The John and Dino Elephante-penned “Perfect Lover” never appeared anywhere except on the original 1984 release of this album, and it was removed on the 1999 remastered re-release.

The other two tracks were never even released as singles – “No One Together” and “The Wall”. The former is from Leftoverture and has long been a fan favorite, so it certainly has a place on a ‘Best of’ album. “No One Together” was recorded for Monolith but not released until Audio-Visions, and was a personal favorite of Kerry Livgren. With its torrid guitar work by both Livgren and Williams, relentless tempo, and soaring vocals by Walsh, this is a solid addition to the album.

What’s missing? Well, a number of hit singles for one thing. “Lonely Wind”, “People of the South Wind”, “Reason to Be”, “Got to Rock On”, and “Right Away” all charted as singles, but none of them are included here.

More importantly, other than “The Wall”, there are no non-single tracks from any of the band’s first five studio albums, which are generally regarded to be both their best work, and most progressive. Considering this collection was clearly aimed at the mass- popularity market that isn’t a surprise, but it is a bit of a disappointment.

It’s worth noting that the idea of multiple-disc anthologies and retrospective collections wasn’t really all that prevalent in the early 80s when this record was released, so most bands were forced to make sacrifices and compromises when putting together one-disc ‘Best of’ or ‘Greatest’ collections. Kansas would acquit themselves much better with some of their later collections, and particularly with the 1994 boxed-set and 2004’s two- disc Sail On, which includes an outstanding DVD as well.

But this first attempt at a compilation was a decent effort, and the release managed to sell more than two million copies over the years before being remastered and re- released with a modified track listing in 1999. That second version of the ‘Best of’ managed to sell platinum in its own right, so the band clearly has a market for this type of abbreviated collection.

Overall I think this album is a bit better than simply a collector’s-only piece, especially considering the quality of most of the tracks that were included. But it’s not quite essential considering there are other collections by the band that are much better, including the re-release of this same album. Three stars would seem to be the right place to put this one, so three it is.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#85936) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, August 06, 2006

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Prog Specialist
2 stars "The Best Of Kansas" is one of the reasons why I dislike compilations, some of the songs are good but mixed without any criteria except for how popular was each one in their original album, so most of the really good songs are left away.

About a year ago I went to the meeting of a Peruvian group of Progheads who join each month to talk about a determined band and watch videos, this time the turn was for KANSAS, Cesar Inca Mendoza a collaborator of this site made an excellent presentation and the reaction of a group of people was of incredulity, some of them had only heard this compilation and thought that the songs presented in this album were the best ones of the group, so they saw KANSAS as a "B" class band.

After listening and watching such great tracks like "Miracles Out of Nowhere", "Icarus" or "Cheyenne Anthem" they simply couldn't believe how good KANSAS really was, but some people who don't have this second chance and only bought this release will probably ignore the rest of the albums and this would be a shame.

For example, "Miracles Out of Nowhere" and "Opus Insert" from Leftoverture are left away, "Closet Chronicles", "Portrait (He Knew)" and "Hopelesly Human" from "Point of Know Return" are ignored to place the title song and "Dust in the Wind" which out of the context of the album are way too simple.

This compilation also mixes the best era of Kansas as "Song For America" with material from the Aorish 80's when the band lost their personality like "Play The Game Tonight" from "Vinyl Confessions" without Steve Walsh and even worst "Fight Fire With Fire" from the infamous "Drastic Measures" without Walsh and Livegren, probably the label wanted fresh money from a band they believed would never resurrect, frightening possible new fans who will never try the early material.

If you are already a KANSAS fan and want to have some good tracks from his great band blended with some poppy stuff and have already all the previous albums, then buy it at your risk, but if you're a KANSAS newbie, avoid it at all cost because you won't have the slightest idea about the real quality of the band, instead get right now "Song for America", Masque" Leftoverture" or "Point of Know Return" to appreciate the real value of the best USA Prog band ever (In my opinion of course).

It's hard for me to give a low rating to any album that has "Song for America" and "The Wall" among a couple more, but it's so misleading that I believe the honest thing is to say this compilation is not worth the price.

Two stars and don't misunderstand me, I really love this band, but "The Best of Kansas" doesn't contain the best material by KANSAS

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Send comments to Ivan_Melgar_M (BETA) | Report this review (#100727) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars During these meagre years for Kansas, the only way to boost up sales was to release a compilation effort. Surprinsingly enough, it is the first one of the band after almost ten years. The last two studio albums were not really jewels. Some legendary members had left the bands (Walsh, Steinhart) and more changes in the personnel will take place (Livgren will leave as well, while Morse will join).

It is a "Best Of" in its commercial acceptation. Several hits of the band are included which is fine if you like this side of Kansas. The prog side of the band (which I like the most) is only featured by "Song For America" (from my preferred Kansas album).

Lots of numbers shouldn't have sit on a "Best Of" effort. I am not sure who could be interested in such compilation, except if you are new to the band and you are keen to listen to AOR music.

Of course, the great "Carry On" is here as well as as "Dust In The Wind". But having skipped all (but one) prog songs only shows that the record firm wanted to capitalize as much as possible on Kansas most commercial aspect. Prog was not really in the mood in the mid-eighties so I guess that this approach makes sense (business wise at least).

If you are looking to the prog side of the band, buy their first two albums and "Leftoverture". This will be a more valuable investment than this compilation work. Two stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#118451) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, April 15, 2007

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This title is very misleading. Kansas greatest hits would be more appropriate, I guess. Anyway, the only reason I bought it was because in the early 90īs it was cheap and easy to find. In 1977 a friend gave as a birthday gift the vynil of Point Of Known Return and I thought it was one of the best records I ever heard. But here, what a deception! Only two songs from that record and not much more from their prog stuff. No liner notes or information on the boooklet (at least on mine!). the tracklist is a desaster on itself, mixing their classic songs with Elefanteīs era pop/AOR in sequence. As soon as I got a hold of the CD versions of their classic albums I had to get rid of it. I donīr recommend this CD to anyone, even the new remastered version with some additional songs is not really worth it. Kansas deserved a better compilation. I give it two stars because the songs themselves are very good anyway.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#129007) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Review by Garion81
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Yes, yes yes just another "best of" collection. Not very good in its original release since the label was just trying to capture some money on a band that had broken up. However it's 1999 remaster added three songs and dropped one that made this go from a two star to a 3. One of them makes it a 3.5 star because this is the only place you will find it and that is the live version of Closet Chronicles that was left off the Two For the Show CD and who's remaster has been put on hold until who knows when.

The other two songs added were The Pinnacle, one of their top prog songs ever from the 1975 release Masque, and The Devil Game which is an outstanding rocker from Steve Walsh from the Song For America CD. The also removed Perfect Lover which was a song recorded during the Drastic Measure session and is more of a John Elephante solo piece than anything else. Again the record company was trying to capitalize on the bands last gasps at the time. It did not belong on here at all. Sot hat adds three great songs from the classical era and removes one that should not be here.

This is still not the best collection. Both the Boxset in the 1990's and the Sail On package with the DVD in 2004 are much better representatives of collections. However being as it was from the 80's and the addition and subtraction noted above this isn't too bad now. Having SFA, The Pinnacle, Closet Chronicles and No One Together represent the prog side of the band is not too bad. Other non radio songs (but fan favorites) include The Wall and The Devil Game round out the package with the huge hits Carry on, Dust in the Wind, Point of Know Return and Hold On none of which could ever be left off a collection like this.

About the only complaints I have were the inclusion of Play that Game Tonight and Fight Fire with Fire. They could have replaced those with Miracles Out of Nowhere or Icarus or Journey to Mariabronn for a really solid package. I wouldn't hesitate to give this(1999 re-release) to someone who had never heard the band and qualify it with the disclaimer about those two songs. Any greatest hits package like this was only supposed to wet your appetite anyway and I think this one does it. Track listing for the 1999 release:

1. Carry On Wayward Son 2. Point Of Know Return 3. Fight Fire With Fire 4. Dust In The Wind 5. Song For America 6. Hold On 7. No One Together 8. Play The Game Tonight 9. The Wall 10. The Pinnacle 11. The Devil Game 12. Closet Chronicles (live) (this live version smokes! Listen to the great vocals from Steve and Robby, a great synth solo by Kerry and then a great Violin solo from Robby. Steve plays vibes on this too. Great ending as well, way better than the fade out on the studio)

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Send comments to Garion81 (BETA) | Report this review (#129024) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
2 stars My father used to pull out his old 1956 Sears Silvertone acoustic (which he has since handed down to me) back when I was a child and pick his own simplistic version of a song he told me was "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas. In my mind, I lumped this "Kansas" together with the other folk / acoustic / country acts like America, Alabama, and Jim Croce (my dad also loves Boston- maybe there's something to be said about place names serving as bands). Years later, not much longer since I picked up that same guitar and tried learning songs by Johnny Cash and The Eagles by ear, I found this compilation, like a treasure, buried in a wall rack with a cache of other used CDs. I think the case was even broken. I was, to be honest, initially intrigued by the cover, as I tried to make out the band's name with that strange, block-like lettering. Unsuccessful, I turned to case over to look at the track listing, and there I saw, fourth one down, something that resonated with the back of my memory. "Oh, Kansas," I said. I didn't know any of the other songs, but my dad's amateur version of "Dust in the Wind" was all I needed to pay the man and take home my find. I believe I listened to "Dust in the Wind" a few times before anything else. Then I took it from the top, and was astonished for two reasons. First, "Carry On Wayward Son" was a song I was certainly familiar with as back then all I really listened to were the classic rock stations. Second, I had no idea Kansas played that song and could rock in that way. I also recognized "Point of Know Return" as a lesser radio hit. I listened to the other tracks from time to time (at that point, I was a bit flabbergasted by "Song for America," so I avoided it). I did fall in love with "Hold On" and "The Wall." It wasn't until after hearing a live version of "Miracles Out of Nowhere" did I see the majesty of this great progressive rock band, and from there I began to appreciate the complexity of songs like "No One Together" or "Song for America." This is by no means a great entry point to Kansas, nor is it a must for fans, except for one thing: One reason for a die-hard Kansas fan to have this is for "Perfect Lover," which, while admittedly is a Jon Elefante-era pop song, does not seem to be included anywhere else. For those new to Kansas and on a budget, this may be the way to go, but there are better compilations out there, and the first several studio albums are where the real magic is. It does feel good, however, to write a cathartic bit about this- my first- Kansas experience.

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Send comments to Epignosis (BETA) | Report this review (#235058) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars A compilation album from Kansas was just as much inevitable as the fact that it would be a commercial. Selling over 4 million copies in U.S. alone and featuring songs from pretty much the band's entire career up to this point, it was a definite milestone in their discography. But my question is whether The Best Of Kansas can actually serve as an excellent introduction for fans of prog music?

The album does feature all of the '70s Kansas essential Kansas hits like Carry On Wayward Son, Point Of Know Return, Song For America and Dust In The Wind. But the fact that almost 50% of this recording is comprised of the band's '80s material makes it tough on the ear on a number of occasions. Songs like Fight Fire With Fire and Play The Game Tonight might have been big hits back in the day but sound extremely dated by today's standards and do pretty much nothing for me. The only '80s numbers that do click with me are the melodic ballad Hold On and the very retro-sounding No One Together.

The original version of The Best Of Kansas is a good compilation but I would still rather listen to any of the first five albums over this one. The '80s Kansas sound simply never clicked with me.

***** star songs: Carry On Wayward Son (5:22) Point Of Know Return (3:11) Song For America (9:08) The Wall (4:49)

**** star songs: Fight Fire With Fire (3:40) Dust In The Wind (3:27) Hold On (3:52) No One Together (6:57)

*** star songs: Play The Game Tonight (3:26)

** star songs: Perfect Lover (4:19)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#301734) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, October 03, 2010

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Good songs (mostly), another pointless compilation

Kansas needs no introduction and this "best of" is as silly as they usually are. As with so many of these titles that attempt to condense years of progressive rock into one tidy package, it really has no chance of completing the mission. There are some very good songs contained within and yet the listener suffers without the context of the full recording, hearing them outside of the album the artist intended. While not quite as insane as the idea of a Pink Floyd or Genesis one disc "best-of", Kansas deserves far better than this.

A few tracks are extracted from albums dating from the mid 70s to mid 80s, including big FM radio players like "Dust in the Wind" and "Carry On Wayward Song." The wonderful "Song for America" is also served. There are some later semi-duds too which were the result of Kansas changing their sound to a more commercial approach in the 80s. For someone who wants but the briefest overview of this band's many albums, perhaps this could suffice. But anyone with a real desire to explore the band should spend this money on getting a real album instead.

Years later, this album would be re-released with an updated track list.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#337630) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, November 28, 2010

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
2 stars This is the original version of this compilation which I got, oddly enough, around the time the 1999 version was released. The only reason I got it was because I wanted "Carry On Wayward Son" and "Dust In The Wind". I was into making mix-tapes at the time and wanted those two songs. "Song For America" was the song that I ended up enjoying the most. Since getting this 'best of' I have heard some of the bands albums; I only like the ones released between 1975-77.

"Carry On..." must have been incredible when it first came out, but has since been played to death. "Point Of Know Return" is one of my fave Kansas songs, but for the longest time I thought some British band did that song. "Song For America" is just as good as any prog that was coming out of the UK at the time. Fantastic track. "No One Together" is a great song and must be the best song from Audio-Visions(which I haven't heard). I really don't like the songs from the '80s albums. "Perfect Lover" is a song that was exclusive to the 1984 version. It's an awful song anyway.

Only "Song For America" and "No One Together" give you an idea of what 'prog Kansas' sounds like. I'm not sure how much the 1999 version is an improvement over this, never heard it. I'm not even the biggest fan of proggy Kansas, but if you want to hear the band at their best, get the albums Song For America and Leftoverture. I don't think compilations work for a band like Kansas. 2 stars.

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Send comments to zravkapt (BETA) | Report this review (#395509) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, February 06, 2011

Review by baz91
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I used this album to introduce myself to Kansas many moons ago, and I'm very glad that I did. At 48 minutes, this album gives you the most popular Kansas tracks and only a miniscule amount of fluff. On top of that, the album artwork contains references to the ten previous albums the group had released, a clever and beautiful idea.

I had bought this album because I wanted the legendary track Carry On Wayward Son, but I got a lot more than I bargained for. The fifth song in the compilation is an edited 9 minute version of Song For America, the band's best song in my opinion. I had not known previously that this band were a prog band, but one listen to this legendary song kept me coming back for more. Whilst it's disappointing to know that this track is an edit, it certainly motivated to buy the actual album and hear the full version, and I'm really glad that I did.

If Song For America isn't quite enough to rock your boat, the 7-minute No One Together will surely show you what a prog-rock powerhouse these guys were. The classics Dust In The Wind and The Wall are also included, and what fine songs they are.

There are a couple of naff tracks too, from the group's later period. When you compare the finesse and complexity of the instrumental in Song For America to the ugly sound samples heard in Fight Fire With Fire, you'll be able to judge for yourselves how Kansas let themselves slip a bit. Perfect Lover was an unreleased track, not on any album, but there's no joy to be found here either.

It might just be the remaster I have, but I have to say that the sound quality here is awful. Everything on the album is just too quiet and there's no life in the music. Another very good reason for purchasing the albums!

Whilst not being the perfect representation of Kansas, this little compilation actually succeeded in it's goal of getting me hooked on Kansas. I subsequently bought The Ultimate Kansas 2 disc collection, which has all the Kansas songs you'd ever need (including every track on this album minus Perfect Lover but including the full version of Song For America), and I'd recommend that to anyone who has more time to discover this wonderful group. Anybody who already owns the albums should avoid this compilation like the plague, but starters should feel very welcome here. Well done Kansas!

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Send comments to baz91 (BETA) | Report this review (#537161) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, September 29, 2011

Latest members reviews

2 stars I think that Kansas in 70's was the mega response to UK and European Prog. But in 1984? In 1984 Kansas was only a good AOR band. With this spirit "The Best Of Kansas" was compiled with Proto AOR and AOR songs (plus "Perfect Lover", a good new AOR song). Only "Song For America" and "The Wall" a ... (read more)

Report this review (#403987) | Posted by 1967/ 1976 | Sunday, February 20, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Not the best of Kansas. Probably "what we record company boys believe can be seen as the best radio-friendly Kansas songs". And even in this sense this compilation misrepresents Kansas' music. This was my first Kansas album and surely did very well in letting me to avoid any Kansas album. Never ... (read more)

Report this review (#240019) | Posted by moodyxadi | Friday, September 18, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This was my first, and last, experiment with Kansas. Last, not so much because I find them bad or uninteresting but mostly because I found out they were actually a pop rock band rather than progressive, contrary to what I was lead to believe by many prog sites. And when it comes to pop rock, i ... (read more)

Report this review (#231352) | Posted by SentimentalMercenary | Thursday, August 13, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I'm not sure what to make of this compilation. It's the one I've been listening to for years now, and I've never been inclined to buy more albums, so I guess it's not quite fulfilling its purpose. Notable however is that it was some of my first exposure to progressive music as a young child. As fa ... (read more)

Report this review (#156894) | Posted by Draith | Friday, December 28, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I have to agree with low marks from previous reviewers on this one. I have the 10 track version. There's some classic stuff (Carry On, Song for America, Dust in the Wind etc) but some real filler material such as No-one Together. Nothing wrong with the content per se (though I don't like Elef ... (read more)

Report this review (#100909) | Posted by zedkatz | Wednesday, November 29, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Not bad as Best Of albums go. It does a good job of mixing in the different sounds of the band and gives an adequate sampling of each. However, they do add in a few weaker tracks and skip over some of my favorites which I feel are better musically. It is not a bad place to start listening to Kans ... (read more)

Report this review (#93410) | Posted by Nowhere Man | Wednesday, October 04, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I would like to have the time to recommend "hold on" to the anoymous listener... theres plenty to listen to here I see no-ones interested in a "greatest hits package Oh- well "Dust in the wind" is the work of the devil (don't worry)If you're entry level as a fan this should do ya... ... (read more)

Report this review (#21891) | Posted by | Monday, January 24, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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