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KANSAS

Symphonic Prog • United States


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Kansas picture
Kansas biography
Founded in Topeka, Kansas, USA in 1970 - Continued activity with different line-ups - Still active as of 2017

Original members Kerry LIVGREN (guitar) and Phil EHART (drums) combined their two separate bands into one large band. Kerry's band was called SARATOGA, and Phil's was called WHITE CLOVER. The band changed its name to KANSAS. They were from the beginning just an ordinary rock band, but were quickly compared to other progressive bands in the 70's like GENESIS, YES and KING CRIMSON. Combining the musical complexities of British prog-rock with the soul and instrumentation of the American heartland, KANSAS became one of the biggest selling and most successful touring acts of the 1970s. With huge hits like "Carry On Wayward Son" and "Dust In The Wind", they helped define the sound of "classic rock". They are loved all over the world.

I- THE 1970s
The Early Days: Their self-titled debut album was released in 1974, but nationwide response was slow. Their second album, "Song For America", saw a softening of KANSAS' sound, with more classical influences evident. The third album, "Masque", featured more pop songs and lyrically quite dark. They suffered ridicule from people around the world, because they wore overalls and had a violonist, which made people think that they were a country music group.
The Best of Times: "Leftoverture", with the popular single "Carry On Wayward Son", became a signature piece and pushed the album to platinum success. The followup, "Point Of Know Return" (1977) contained the ever-popular acoustic "Dust In The Wind". During their tour, they recorded their first live album, "Two For The Show" (1978) and the next studio album "Monolith" (1979).

II- THE 1980s
Seeds Of Change: A year later, the band followed up with "Audio Visions", the last production of the original band lineup. WALSH left the band due to creative differences. "Vinyl Confessions" had Christian lyrical content. The next album, "Drastic Measures" (1983), had some hard rock material on it, including the song "Mainstream". In 1984, the band released a greatest hits compilation, "The Best Of Kansas", which featured one new song, "Perfect Lover".
The Second Generation: The group split in 1983, only to reform in 1986 with the albums "Power" and with "The Spirit Of Things" (1988). Sales of these two albums were not very strong. Thus, the second generation of KANSAS had...
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Buy KANSAS Music


The Best of KansasThe Best of Kansas
Reissued · Remastered · Extra tracks
Legacy 1999
$3.79
$1.64 (used)
Point Of Know ReturnPoint Of Know Return
Legacy 2013
$4.29
$5.99 (used)
LeftovertureLeftoverture
Legacy 2011
$4.39
$8.58 (used)
5cd Original Album Classics (Kansas/ Song For America/Masque/Leftoverture /Point Of Know Return)5cd Original Album Classics (Kansas/ Song For America/Masque/Leftoverture /Point Of Know Return)
Box set
Sony Music Canada Inc. 2011
$16.28
$12.91 (used)
The Best Of Kansas (180 Gram Red Audiophile Vinyl/Limited Anniversary Edition/Gatefold Cover)The Best Of Kansas (180 Gram Red Audiophile Vinyl/Limited Anniversary Edition/Gatefold Cover)
Limited Edition
Friday Music 2018
$31.34
$39.32 (used)
MonolithMonolith
Legacy 2008
$4.39
$6.94 (used)
MasqueMasque
Legacy 2008
$4.39
$6.94 (used)
Song For AmericaSong For America
Remastered
Legacy 2008
$4.39
$4.59 (used)
Audio-VisionsAudio-Visions
Legacy 2008
$4.91
$4.99 (used)
The Prelude Implicit (Special Edition)The Prelude Implicit (Special Edition)
Extra tracks
Inside Out Music 2016
$8.82
$7.98 (used)

More places to buy KANSAS music online Buy KANSAS & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

KANSAS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

KANSAS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.98 | 595 ratings
Kansas
1974
4.14 | 698 ratings
Song For America
1975
3.65 | 522 ratings
Masque
1975
4.22 | 1104 ratings
Leftoverture
1976
4.16 | 764 ratings
Point Of Know Return
1977
3.22 | 364 ratings
Monolith
1979
3.04 | 284 ratings
Audio-Visions
1980
2.71 | 223 ratings
Vinyl Confessions
1982
2.19 | 211 ratings
Drastic Measures
1983
2.71 | 228 ratings
Power
1986
2.85 | 193 ratings
In The Spirit Of Things
1988
3.23 | 207 ratings
Freaks Of Nature
1995
3.39 | 138 ratings
Always Never The Same
1998
3.48 | 259 ratings
Somewhere To Elsewhere
2000
3.80 | 263 ratings
The Prelude Implicit
2016

KANSAS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.31 | 247 ratings
Two for the Show
1978
2.92 | 52 ratings
Kansas - Live at the Whiskey
1992
2.69 | 43 ratings
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Kansas (1989)
1998
2.19 | 16 ratings
Live: Dust In The Wind
1998
4.04 | 68 ratings
Device, Voice, Drum
2002
2.26 | 12 ratings
Dust In The Wind
2002
1.83 | 10 ratings
From The Front Row...Live!
2003
2.23 | 11 ratings
Greatest Hits Live (Kansas)
2003
4.16 | 58 ratings
There's Know Place Like Home
2009
4.36 | 14 ratings
Bryn Mawr 1976
2014
2.74 | 8 ratings
Carry on for no Return
2016
4.43 | 23 ratings
Leftoverture Live & Beyond
2017

KANSAS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.28 | 14 ratings
Best Of Kansas Live (VHS) (aka Live Confessions DVD)
1982
4.22 | 65 ratings
Device - Voice - Drum (DVD)
2002
4.60 | 60 ratings
There´s Know Place Like Home (DVD)
2009
4.24 | 18 ratings
Miracles Out Of Nowhere
2015

KANSAS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.54 | 77 ratings
The Best of Kansas
1984
3.84 | 47 ratings
The Ultimate Kansas Box Set
1994
3.13 | 14 ratings
The Definitive Collection
1997
3.26 | 43 ratings
The Best of Kansas (1999)
1999
1.43 | 9 ratings
Extended Versions
2000
3.93 | 37 ratings
The Ultimate Kansas
2002
4.25 | 8 ratings
Closet Chronicles - The Best of Kansas
2003
4.16 | 6 ratings
Dust In The Wind
2004
4.17 | 36 ratings
Sail On: The 30th Anniversary Collection 1974-2004
2004
2.97 | 8 ratings
On The Other Side
2005
2.50 | 9 ratings
Works In Progress
2006
4.17 | 19 ratings
Original Album Classics
2009
3.76 | 5 ratings
The Music of Kansas
2010
4.40 | 16 ratings
The Classic Albums Collection 1974-1983
2011

KANSAS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.75 | 4 ratings
What's On My Mind
1977
4.17 | 6 ratings
Point Of Know Return
1977
4.04 | 7 ratings
Carry On Wayward Son (Adelante, Hijo Descarriado)
1977
3.75 | 4 ratings
Portrait (He Knew)
1978
4.04 | 7 ratings
Dust In The Wind
1978
2.29 | 5 ratings
People Of The Southwind
1979
3.24 | 6 ratings
Hold On
1980
4.00 | 4 ratings
Play The Game Tonight
1982
3.75 | 4 ratings
Right Away
1982
3.75 | 4 ratings
Fight Fire With Fire
1983
2.29 | 5 ratings
All I Wanted
1986
3.13 | 5 ratings
Power
1987
1.48 | 6 ratings
Stand Beside Me
1988
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Light
2001

KANSAS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Drastic Measures by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1983
2.19 | 211 ratings

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Drastic Measures
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

2 stars One of the things that made Kansas' sound recognizable more than anything else, was Robby Steinhardt's violin. The other thing was Steve Walsh's distinct vocals. By the time the album 'Drastic Measures' came out in 1983, these things were both missing. Robbie was disenchanted with the religious direction the band was going in, and left before the recording started. The religious lyrics came about because Kenny Livgren had become a born-again Christian, and since he wrote most of the lyrics, Walsh decided to leave the band a few years prior to this, and after considering different vocalists, including Sammy Hagar, John Elefante was chosen to replace Walsh. Elefante sounded nothing like Walsh, and was also a Christian. So, unfortunately, 'Drastic Measures' was doomed from the beginning.

Other than the departures of Walsh and Steinhardt and the bringing in of Elefante, the band remained the same with Kerry Livgren, Rich Williams, Dave Hope, and Phil Ehart. However, Kansas had already pretty much abandoned their progressive rock sound of their glory days. By the time this album was released, most of the rabid fans of the 70s had given up on the band ever sounding like their former selves. The music had turned to a hard rock / pop sound with no violin, no progressive traits, and Kansas was bound to become one of the indiscernible rock/pop bands of the 80s.

'Drastic Measures' is a pretty much washed-out version of the band, and was beginning to sound more like the pop sound of Chicago, but without the horns. Of course, there is the decent hit 'Fight Fire with Fire' which did okay on the singles chart, but didn't have anything on it that made people think 'Hey, that's a new song by Kansas!' For all they knew, it could have been 'Starship' or 'Foreigner'. In fact, David Pack, lead singer of 'Ambrosia', another washed-up rock act, came along for this fiasco as a background singer. 'Mainstream', the third track on the album is also a little better, but nothing close to their earlier output.

Other than this, the album just stumbles through a bunch of mediocre tracks that don't have any staying power. 'Andi' tries to be a power ballad, but is completely uninteresting. 'Going Through the Motions' lives up to it's title, it sounds like a band doing just that. Things even go further downhill for the uninteresting 'Get Rich', then the band high-centers on pop ballad 'Don't Take Your Love Away' as they try their best to capitalize on Chicago's style of hit songs of the time, 'End of the Age' only confirms that it is definitely the end of the innovative age for Kansas with an extremely boring song, and 'Incident on a Bridge' suggests that this album was sinking long before it was started.

The band would temporarily break up after this, only to return in 1986 with Walsh back on lead vocals, but without Livgren who had figured by this time that he had completely left the band hopeless as even he was sick of the religious direction he attempted to take the band in. However, the heart and soul of the band would never completely return.

Elefante isn't a bad vocalist, but, try as he might, he can't bring that unique sound that Walsh's voice had, and the material he had to work with was quite weak. Livgren's lyrics were not so outwardly religious this time around, but this doesn't save the music either. The material is just so bland and mediocre, same as a lot of the huge bands from the 70s that were struggling to fit in and be relevant. The best thing these bands could have done is got together and formed one big band called 'Mediocre' and left it at that. Then at least there would have been a good excuse for them all sounding so much like each other. This album is not even good, its just tired, boring, poorly recorded (the only album Kansas would record digitally), and full of mostly mediocre drivel. Another sad chapter that was unfortunately common in many bands at the time.

 Somewhere To Elsewhere by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.48 | 259 ratings

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Somewhere To Elsewhere
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

3 stars The year 2000 saw the return of the original line-up of Kansas, the first time they had recorded a studio album together since 'Audio-Visions' in 1980. Even though several incarnations of the band continued to record albums, the original line-up of Steve Walsh, Kerry Livgren, Rich Williams, Dave Hope, Phil Ehart and Robby Steinhardt didn't reunite until the release of Kansas' 14 studio album 'Somewhere to Elsewhere'. For this album, Billy Greer was also along, even though he was not in that classic line-up, he had been in the band since 1985.

The entire band recorded at Kerry's studio, all except for Walsh, who tracked his vocals in his home studio. The line up featured Walsh on lead vocals on 7 out of 11 of the tracks and the vocals were his only contribution to the album. Livgren composed all of the tracks and played guitars and keyboards, produced and mixed the album and sings on the hidden track at the end. Steinhardt played violin and viola and sang lead vocals on 3 tracks. Rich Williams played guitar and helped produce the album. Dave Hope plays bass on only 2 of the tracks while Bill Greer provides bass on the remainder of them and sings lead vocals on 1 of them. Phil Ehart provides the drums and acts as producer.

So, hopes were high for this album because it was to be a return to the classic prog sound of the original band. Many fans had given up on hearing that classic sound again, but the band was out to give them one more surprise. 'Icarus II' hints to the return to form with a 'continuation' of their masterpiece from the 'Song for America' album. From the opening strains, you can hear the familiar sounds of the band that once was. The sound is a bit cleaner than before, and Walsh's vocals are a bit strained, but not so much as you might expect since he still has a lot of power behind them, maybe a touch more gruffness. Little snippets of melodies are borrowed from the original Icarus song, but as it moves into the instrumental break, the guitar gives us a heavier sound than what we had before, but the lovely violin parts are there to remind us that who the band used to be. There is also more of a progressive edge to the music than what we have heard for a while, and that is great, but it's not quite as complex as it once was. But it is by far better than what we have heard from the since 'Point of No Return'.

We're on our way, and the harder edge continues in 'When the World was Young'. Walsh's vocals seem a bit shakier on this one, especially in the lower registers. His strength is in his mid-range now, as his higher register tends to be a bit blown out. He has to almost scream to get the higher notes out, but granted, its not that bad. This track is a bit more on the accessible, hard-rock side with less progressive sound, but still better than what we have heard lately. The violin, guitar and keys are all restrained and straightforward, not as progressive as the first track. Again, there is a snippet of classic Kansas riffage towards the end that the fans will recognize. 'Grand Fun Alley' features Steinhardt on lead vocals. His voice sounds very much like it used to, just not as sure of itself, but the music seems lightweight for his voice. Again, this track is also straitforward compared to the band's glory days, but the guitar solo is pretty good, but the synths are unconvincing, and it all comes across as sounding like Styx's attempts at a comeback. 'The Coming Dawn (Thanatopsis)' brings Walsh back to the mic for a slower, ballad-like track with piano and violin accompanying him at first, and then bringing the band in later. The track is decent enough, but, again, it is a bit straightforward. There is that uplifting feel to it, similar to 'The Wall' from Leftoverture, lovely and passionate, with nice build in the instrumental section. However, it starts to droop a bit just before the vocals come back in. It's a good one for lovers of the heartrending side of the band.

With the longer run time (+ 8 minutes), there is hope that this track is more on the progressive side like the opening track. It starts off slow and rhapsodic at first, but then the band comes in and builds the music and sounding like something from 'Point of No Return', there are hints of progressiveness there, the song structure a little more complex, but still leaning towards the hard-rock sound. The best part comes along halfway through when it goes into the instrumental break, and things get more complex, and the nod to the jazz sound is a nice surprise. However, the band's attempt to scat (?) is a bit cringe-worthy. It's not bad, but it's not at the level of their best work. 'Look at the Time' features Greer on the vocals as he gets to tie the two sides of the band together, the old and the new. This one is a bit weak though, the background singers sounding like they don't really want to be there. The middle instrumental section is not too bad as it sounds a bit symphonic and the violin and guitar try to save the track.

'Disappearing Skin Tight Blues' brings back Robby on the vocals. A violin introduction starts things off, but soon gets replaced by the blues riffage that seem to accompany his vocals most of the time. This time, his vocals prove he is more sure of himself again. It's a bit bright on the chorus, however, for a blues song, but it's kind of fun anyway, bringing a more carefree side to the album. It turns out to not be as corny as you might think, and Steinhardt is more convincing on the more blues- driven tracks anyway. It's a good track, just not progressive as much as it is nostalgic, and it fits well on the album. 'Distant Vision' is a better return to form like the first track on this album, and one with a decent runtime to prove it. It has a long introduction before Walsh's vocals come in and a good amount of complexity in the tricky meters. Once again, the time is used well here, the composition is great and you get an excellent reminder of the great band that used to be. For the first time in a long time, Robby shares the lead vocal work as he sings in the middle section, and this is the best he sounds on this album. This is a definite highlight of the album.

'Byzantium' begins with a choir singing and the low strains of a viola. This sparse intro brings in Walsh's vocals for something that is completely different for Kansas, and its good to hear them try out a different sound, not always trying to copy themselves. It's a nice change of pace and a pleasant surprise. 'Not Man Big' finishes it all off with a pretty good rocker that moves through various tempo shifts, gives the organ a chance to shine, and utilizes the viola and guitar together well, and even has time for a short, blistering violin solo that you wish was longer. The ending is a lot weaker than it should be though, as it just kind of takes up space. There is a short, hidden track called 'Geodesic Dome' which features Livgren doing some rare vocalization. It's a low-fi track that is supposed to be humorous, I suppose.

Overall, it's a pretty good attempt at bringing back the classic line-up one more time, but, other than 3 great tracks (Icarus II, Disappearing Skin Tight Blues, Distant Vision), and a few surprises here and there, it still doesn't quite match up to their best work. It's worth a listen, and many fans tend to give it rave reviews, but doesn't quite hit the mark for me. The best tracks on here do a decent job of recovering their original sound, but it would have been nice to hear the band's take on some updated progressive styles and not revert so much to the more popular hard-rock style that it does too often on the album. And the real complexity of the music isn't there anymore either, though it does come close in a few places. It's worth picking up, anyway, at least from a fan's perspective, but don't pay a lot of money for it. At least it's better than what they have done for a while. 3 stars.

 Song For America by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.14 | 698 ratings

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Song For America
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

4 stars Not knowing KANSAS well is one of my faults. Years ago, when I saw their albums in the shops, I thought they were a band like America, Chicago (I actually knew the commercial side only of Chicago), so I've never paid attention to them. It's curious that thanks to PA I doscovered the band from that sort of spin-off that's Proto-Kaw, which is the original band lineup before their first album. Well, now I'm trying to recover the time lost amd I'm listening to KANSAS as they were a new band.

This second album starts with a country-rock song reminding of the early WISHBONE ASH, but with great keyboards instead of the second guitar. A very good radio-friendly song of about 3 minutes.

It's with the first of the 3 long tracks that the reason why this is considered a prog band becomes clear: Song For America is a 10 minutes track with all the goodies that prog fans like: odd signatures, recurring themes, long instrumental parts and, despite the vocals which sound very "american", I think that a bit of GENESIS influence can't be denied even if mixed with a good dose of funk.

The second long track is Lamplight Symphony. Also this is undoubtely a prog song, only the vocals to me sound too "pop", but it's a question of personal tastes, not an uncontrovertible truth. The choirs have their harmonies and are technically good. Said so, it's logical that I prefer the excellent instrumental parts.

What on vynil was the B side starts with a hard blues. Speaking of personal tastes, this is a kind of things that I like a lot. In the vein of DEEP PURPLE, BLUE OYSTER CULT, URIAH HEEP and with a bit of fantasy, also JETHRO TULL. I love this song. It's the kind of stuff on which I could switch the repeat feature on.

The Devil Game, instead, starts with keyboards and bass and if it wasn't for the vocals (less "american" here) I could think it's a YES song. Anyway this is another ROCK song, with a good uptime and a couple of very good riffs by guitar and keyboards.

The last track, "Incommudro", is the third long one. It features a remarkable drums solo, but it's quite a standard prog song. Again I have URIAH HEEP and WISHBONE ASH in mind for the kind of sounds. It contains all the things that a prog song must have to be called so.

Prog in 1975 was about to decline, so Kansas were late, they can be considered derivative, but who cares? This album is full of excellent stuff. Good songs skillfully played, not very original maybe, but excellent anyway. I'll continue digging KANSAS for sure.

 Monolith by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.22 | 364 ratings

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Monolith
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by stevoz

4 stars A lot of pompous twat amongst some of these 'reviews'.....looks like many have followed the 'Rolling Stone' trend of belittling fine efforts to raise one's own ego. This is a fine album.....sure, it's not up there with 'Leftoverture' or "Point Of No Return" but it is fine album nonetheless......superbly played. A departure from their full on prog of previous albums, it shows a progreesion (or regression) towards a more radio friendly style but still captures all the things which make Kansas great.....mucisianship, song craft and dynamism.....and who cares about lyrics? It's all about the music and this album delivers more than enough to entertain.....except to those pompous enough to think they can do better.....which they can't. A solid four stars from me.
 The Prelude Implicit by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.80 | 263 ratings

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The Prelude Implicit
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars "What a comeback album!"

Two years ago a dream came dream when I witnessed a Kansas gig, of course in the Dutch progrock temple De Boerderij. Unfortunately I totally overlooked the brandnew Kansas album, and still wonder why ?

Because this 15th studio-album (the first in 16 years after the previous, pretty disappointing Somewhere To Elsewhere) is an onverwhelming muscial experience, I am really blown away how powerful, exciting and alternating Kansas sound on this latest effort (2016): the one moment heavy guitars and sumptuous Hammond waves (strong opener With This Heart), the other moment tasteful AOR (The Unsung Heroes), a ballad with warm acoustic guitar and tender vocals (Refugee and Home On The Range) or Heavy Prog with cascades of soli in the vein of Old School Kansas (The Voyage Of Eight Eighteen and Crowded Isolation). And a big hand for the excellent lead vocals by Ronnie Platt and the mindblowing violin work by David Ragsdale (especially in Camouflage and the emotional Section 60), their contributions give the songs an extra dimension.

This Kansas album (I own the digipack version featuring the wonderful patriotic instrumental bonus track Oh Shenandoah) is a great example that the musicians and tunesmiths from legendary Seventies era bands can still make very good music, after more than 40 years, highly recommended!

 The Prelude Implicit by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.80 | 263 ratings

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The Prelude Implicit
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars This is one of the better second progressive rock comebacks. The first real Kansas comeback was in 2000 with all original members in a great shape. Now remains only the original drummer and guitar player that are no strong composers. The new members are proficient enough to take the empty seats and take as for the ride over Kansas prairie with large landscapes. The vocalist does a decent job, can reach high notes, although he is distinctively different from 70's Steve Walsh.

The sound retains the trademark sound of old Kansas although is slower and more laid back - no surprise. Some compositions are quite close to Kansas work, some have more modern look. The album opener has a strong and slightly melancholic melody - any Kansas fan will raise the level of attention. The third track has even distant violin noodling of "Song for America". The longest track is naturally the most epic one - but even in this composition, playing is not so intricate as on the 70's albums. Towards the end of the album, there are nice instrumental parts that keep the listener's attention until the very end.

One of the best albums of a 70's prog band in 2016, well there are not many anyway anymore ;(.

 Point Of Know Return by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.16 | 764 ratings

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Point Of Know Return
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars Point of Know Return marks another step to become even more catchy and commercially viable act. No wonder, since the previous album was the record for Kansas. What do we have here then? A mixture of pop, rock and progressive tracks with the diminishing prog influence.

"Point of Know Return" is a catchy, radio-oriented track with good violin and Hammond accompaniment. Fortunately, two progressive tracks par excellence follow - "Paradox" draws the interest with unusual guitar playing and traditional violing and keyboard fiddling. "Spider" is the most extravagant Kansas track and the flagship of Steve Walsh - the guy who mostly stuck to hard-rock songs penned this short but effective masterpiece. No wonder that keyboards and drums are the dominant instruments here. "Portrait(He knew)" is a typical hard-rock AOR piece that would have caught the attention of any classic rock fan. To compensate for hard rock, keyboard instrumentation comes into play.

"Closet Chronicles" is a delicate emotional epic composition with great chord sequence. The keyboards very much correspond to the sound of mid 70's.

"Lightning's hand" is interesting because of its progressive metal taste, strong almost hard rock vocal delivery by the violin player. Definitely an enrichment in Kansas' repertoire although not from the progressive side ;-) "Dust in the wind" is a poignant short acoustic piece and hardly Kansas' trademark since they had never a had a song like this. The last two tracks are reflective and melancholic and make you think about your life. "Nobody's home" reveals a great melody and a bit cheesy violin part obviously inspired by classical music. "Hopelessly human" is the last classic Kansas epic :(. Not at the height of Magnum Opus, nevertheless it has its pompous moments and instrumental virtuosity. In contrast to Magnum Opus, the composition flow is more important here than instrumental interplays. So could the piece remain listenable to a bigger spectrum of listeners.

Another masterpiece by Kansas, although not of progressive rock. We still have to applaud Kansas for delivery such record in 1977 when the prog crisis was starting.

 Leftoverture by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.22 | 1104 ratings

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Leftoverture
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

5 stars Together with Song for America not only Kansas progressive rock masterpieces but also the crowning achievements of progressive rock combined with hard rock, pop and boogie. Although this record does contain more commercial influence and catchiness than the previous records, it is for the good measure and compositionally ingeniuosly blended with delicate complex suites. Comparing to "Song for America", there is less improvisation and soloing but tighter arrangements and compositional maturity. Kerry Livgren has reached his music highest point - Steve Walsh didn't compose any song on his own here. Keyboards and violin are clearly instrumental highlights as on every 70's Kansas record, but guitars, bass and drums don't stay far behind.

The strong anthemic start with "Carry on Wayward Son" draws attention of every rock-positive listener. Guitar and dynamic rhythms dominate the song. Walsh's vocal is a trademark; it confirms that he was one of the best and instantly recognizable voices in progressive rock. "The Wall" starts a melancholic introspective mood that is so prevalent on this and "Point of Know Return" record. Keyboards are restrained in the background but solemn to support the slow pace. Walsh's vocal changes from the energetic and dynamic singing to subdued. "What's on my mind" starts as a typical hard-rock Kansas song but soon changes into a mid 70's synth pop territory to switch back to hard rock riffing. The keyboards are almost non-hearable in this composition.

"Miracles out of nowhere" is one of the prog highlights featuring catchy melody without sacrifying progressive arrangements. Keyboard and guitar acoustic interplay come to forefront in the middle of the song. Fast hard-rock final part is an acquired taste but in the end results in a symphonic and dramatic accord sequence pleasing our hearts and ears.

"Opus insert" starts of as an ELO song with keyboard but soon ventures towards progressive rock. Classically influenced instrumental showcase here is incredibly tasty. The song could have been much longer as the three distinct parts flow away too quickly. This is a how at their peak blossom with ideas in such short time.

"Questions of my childhood" reminds of Yes and early Kansas works. Fitting violin and missing guitar keep the track catchy and relatively soft. Piano and moog are used as keyboards.

"Cheyenne Anthem" is the first pure progressive rock composition; however it remains catchy. The slow tempo in the first half is compensated by dynamic instrumental preludium lifts up the spirit. Acoustic guitar and female background vocals give space for a down-to-earth Steve's vocal before returning to the main motive. This composition's quality is comparable to anything that progressive rock composed in 1976 but still have to give way to "MAGNUM OPUS"!

Yes, the last track of this album is with the "Pinnacle", "Song for America" and "Incomudro" Kansas' epic best. All three compositions can serve as introduction to progressive rock keyboards - various instruments with fitting playing are displayed. "Magnum Opus" starts soberly as a promising pop track but soon bursts into a tremendeous lengthy instrumental overture - as if the band new that it would be their last fully progressive rock epic piece. Syntesizers, Hammond Organ, ARPs, clavinet, moog - sit down, close eyes and follow this keyboard arrangements wizardry. The overture continues almost until the end, leaving actually no space for Steve Walsh voice to say goodbye.

For all fans liking progressive rock, this is a must album. It is not in the league with most complex, most inventive albums but astonishes with the compositional quality and extremely high musicianship.

 Masque by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.65 | 522 ratings

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Masque
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars Originally, I praised this one higher because which progressive band could produce a bad in album in 1975 especially between two masterpieces like Song for America and Left Overture? I can assure you that even after repeated listens, the cover is the only terrible thing about this album. The downside for most of us is that this LP is less progressive than Song for America and Kansas and the performance seems less inspired. The AOR mood of most of the songs is not necessarily bad for those who enjoy any well designed and executed music.

The first song kicks off with energy in the AOR vein and good riffing. "Two cents worth" is a nice exploration into more a more soulful mid 70's territory of Steely Dan/Stevie Wonder, it has a unique feel unheard from any other song by Kansas, well done. "Icarus Born on the Wings of Steel" is the first progressive albeit a bit restrained composition where main shredders - Walsh and Steinhardt have some space to show off. As each song, the vocals by Walsh are excellent. "All of the world"'s length looks promising but it barely scratches the progressive territory and keeps itself more in AOR area, a wasted chance really. Even "Child of innocence" with its infectious energy and performance beats the previous song. "It's you" is a not too remarkable and thankfully short boogie song to keep energy going. Before the pinnacle called "The pinnacle", the band serve an aperitif "Mysteries and mayhem" featuring a clear melody motive but accompanied with very good and inventive instrumentation, this one could have been longer. "The pinnacle" is yet another gem in Kansas progressive catalogue and Steve Walsh shines here with the vast array of instruments ranging from Hammond, ARP, moog and clavinet. Inventive though technically not too difficult keyboard lines impress me each time I hear this masterpiece. The minor chords add to the emotional Walsh vocal.

I tried to find enough quality to award four stars but to be fair to other band's albums, only three can be guaranteed. The album is a bit uneven and lacks more inspiration seen before and later ;).

 Kansas by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.98 | 595 ratings

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Kansas
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars Incredibly good debut by already a seasoned band. Kansas was the only potent answer from the US in the first half of the 70's to the European tornado of progressive acts. And Walsh's vocal belongs to the best ones in the history of progressive rock together with Gabriel/Collins and Anderson, With one foot firmly rooted in hard rock with boogie/bluesy guitar, the potential in composition and playing suggest much more coming. The first two songs are accessible rocky numbers with a unique sound of violin in hard rock. Lonely Wind is a relaxing song with a really fitting Walsh's vocal. Clear progressive elements come to the surface in Belexes with church organ runs but still remain restrained and explode on the epic "Journey from Mariabronn" - I was looking for such city in the US in vain. Amazing moog/hammond run and anthemic guitar chords must give boomps to majority of the attentive listeners. The violin takes lead and calms things down to be replaced by piano and hammond solos. Dramatic spirit rises all way through the song until the fourth minute and the strong jazzy/Canterbury instrumental part starts led by inventive moog/ARP and violin solos. The composition returns to the emotional vocal and slows down to retain the drama and let the listener enjoy the chords. The bombastic end of the song with rising notes are typical for Kansas epic tracks. The "Pilgrimate" is a short relief from the complex music and features likeable country/boogie violin and guitar.

"Apercu" is the flagship of this album and easily one of the best Kansas tracks. After the starting dynamic keyboard part, jazzy guitar opens the sung part. It is incredible how easily Kansas create stunning and emotional melodies. The typical "walking" instrumentation follows before the speeding up and slowing down to enjoy the keyboard layers in the background and then vocal harmonies. Classical music led by violin separates the calm and progressive rock "march". This time, guitar takes active role too and supplies nice riffs. Things get back to the main motive but stay pompeous until the end.

"Death of Mother Nature Suite" highlights a heavy ominous riff and splendid guitar work by Kerry Livgren. Hammond organ and violin add nicely to the track atmosphere. Also, check out the brilliant and wild Wakemanesque hammond organ solo.

The three longest tracks alone are reason to acquire this album as they take influence from the best of progressive rock.

Even better albums are to come in the next years ;).

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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