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KANSAS

Symphonic Prog • United States


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Kansas picture
Kansas biography
Founded in Topeka, Kansa, USA in 1970 - Continued activity with different line-ups (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 come to an abrupt end.

III- THE 1990s: The Third Generation
The new lineup rele...
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KANSAS Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy KANSAS Music


The Best of KansasThe Best of Kansas
Reissued · Remastered · Extra tracks
Legacy 1999
$3.37
$1.51 (used)
Point Of Know ReturnPoint Of Know Return
Legacy 2013
$3.39
$5.11 (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
$14.65
$14.14 (used)
LeftovertureLeftoverture
Legacy 2011
$3.39
$4.59 (used)
KansasKansas
Remastered
Legacy 2008
$3.39
$3.88 (used)
MonolithMonolith
Legacy 2008
$3.39
$4.02 (used)
Playlist: The Very Best of KansasPlaylist: The Very Best of Kansas
Legacy 2015
$3.39
$6.63 (used)
Audio-VisionsAudio-Visions
Legacy 2008
$3.39
$6.63 (used)
Song For AmericaSong For America
Remastered
Legacy 2008
$4.09
$7.83 (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
$25.01
$38.53 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
1975 Kansas NEAR MINT Masque VINYL record PZ 33806 Icarus STEVE WALSH NM LP USD $25.48 Buy It Now
KANSAS/TWO FOR THE SHOW JPN 40AP1180-1 USD $27.00 Buy It Now
THE WIZARDS FROM KANSAS USD $6.99 [1 bids]
JOHNNY THUNDERS & HEARTBREAKERS LIVE AT MAX'S KANSAS CITY VG+/VG+ Insert USD $3.99 [1 bids]
Kansas LP Drastic Measures 1983 CBS records USD $14.95 Buy It Now
KANSAS/AUDIO VISIONS JPN 25AP 1931 USD $24.00 Buy It Now
KANSAS/SONG FOR AMERICA JPN 25AP1218 USD $26.00 Buy It Now
VINYL LP KANSAS CITY EXPRESS JAKE HANNA'S WHITE LABEL MARI ANN CJ-22 USD $4.99 [0 bids]
WOLFGANG PRESS/KANSAS UK BAD902 USD $21.00 Buy It Now
Kansas - Sail On-30th Anniversary Collection1974-2004 (CD Used Very Good) USD $35.63 Buy It Now
Kansas - Live At The Whisky 1992 Intersound USA CD Dust in the Wind Wayward Son USD $0.99 [0 bids]
Lot of 6 Classic Rock Music CDs (Huey Lewis, Styx, 10cc, REO, Kansas, Lynard Sk) USD $30.00 [0 bids]
BIG COUNTRY: WE'RE NOT IN KANSAS VOL.2 (LP vinyl) USD $33.11 Buy It Now
STEVE WOOD "SALLY-ANN / KANSAS CITY" 1983 NCB SWISS 7" Puss och Kram Records OOP USD $14.99 Buy It Now
HAROLD DORMAN Take A Chance On Me/Moved To Kansas City 45 Rita Memphis teen USD $10.00 Buy It Now
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ERR 135 2 Ricciarelli Carreras in live concert Kansas and Florida 1975 box set USD $6.41 Buy It Now
KANSAS Leftoverture 8 Track USD $9.95 Buy It Now
KANSAS Point of Know Return 8 Track USD $9.95 Buy It Now
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BLACK SABBATH KANSAS 1971 /METALLICA SLAYER, MOTORHEAD, OZZY, J-PRIEST,I- MAIDEN USD $12.00 Buy It Now
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Kansas Leftoverture 1976 LP Record Album Vinyl Kirshner CBS 34224 USD $7.99 Buy It Now 13m 35s
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Velvet Underground - Live At Max's Kansas City - 1973 Promo SD 9500 (NM) USD $27.99 Buy It Now 1h 12m
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Kansas City & Other Favorites by Memphis Slim (CD, Oct-2011) USD $17.73 Buy It Now 2h 21m
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KANSAS Point Of No Return 1977 Kirshner LP JZ 34929 EXC- w/lyric sleeve USD $7.75 Buy It Now 2h 26m
kansas - two for the show USD $19.24 Buy It Now 2h 28m
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various LP Kansas City Piano 1936-1941 Decca VG++ Count Basie, Pete Johnson++ USD $5.00 Buy It Now 3h 22m
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KANSAS Leftoverture KIRSHNER PZ 34224 LP SEALED USD $44.99 Buy It Now 3h 29m
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Kansas State University Interfraternity Sing 1963 Winners 30th Annual Nov. 17 USD $5.00 Buy It Now 5h
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Kansas : The Best Of CD (1999) USD $5.75 Buy It Now 5h 16m
KANSAS Masque CD Classic 1975 Album It Takes a Woman's Love (To Make a Man) USD $9.99 Buy It Now 5h 21m
COUNT BASIE - Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra 1929-1932: Basie Beginnings USD $19.95 Buy It Now 5h 23m
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SOUL 45 LITTLE RICHARD KANSAS CITY BY THE LIGHT OF THE SILVERY LONDON USD $5.00 [0 bids]
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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 | 562 ratings
Kansas
1974
4.13 | 655 ratings
Song For America
1975
3.65 | 490 ratings
Masque
1975
4.22 | 1040 ratings
Leftoverture
1976
4.15 | 717 ratings
Point Of Know Return
1977
3.20 | 344 ratings
Monolith
1979
3.04 | 268 ratings
Audio-Visions
1980
2.70 | 211 ratings
Vinyl Confessions
1982
2.20 | 199 ratings
Drastic Measures
1983
2.70 | 221 ratings
Power
1986
2.85 | 189 ratings
In The Spirit Of Things
1988
3.23 | 199 ratings
Freaks Of Nature
1995
3.39 | 135 ratings
Always Never The Same
1998
3.50 | 251 ratings
Somewhere To Elsewhere
2000
3.80 | 249 ratings
The Prelude Implicit
2016

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

4.31 | 236 ratings
Two for the Show
1978
2.92 | 50 ratings
Kansas - Live at the Whiskey
1992
2.67 | 41 ratings
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Kansas (1989)
1998
2.19 | 16 ratings
Live: Dust In The Wind
1998
4.03 | 66 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
4.11 | 55 ratings
There's Know Place Like Home
2009
4.31 | 13 ratings
Bryn Mawr 1976
2014
2.65 | 7 ratings
Carry on for no Return
2016
4.28 | 18 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 | 62 ratings
Device - Voice - Drum (DVD)
2002
4.58 | 57 ratings
There´s Know Place Like Home (DVD)
2009
4.25 | 17 ratings
Miracles Out Of Nowhere
2015

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

2.54 | 76 ratings
The Best of Kansas
1984
3.83 | 45 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 | 34 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
4.18 | 34 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
4.35 | 14 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
1.46 | 5 ratings
Stand Beside Me
1988
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Light
2001

KANSAS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Prelude Implicit by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.80 | 249 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
4.15 | 717 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 | 1040 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 | 490 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 | 562 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 ;).

 Point Of Know Return by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.15 | 717 ratings

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Point Of Know Return
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by Lupton

5 stars Kansas- Point Of Know Return

After their breakthrough album "Leftoverture"-no doubt helped by the album's first hit single -Carry On Wayward Son" Kansas stepped up a couple of notches to produce their masterpiece-"Point Of Know Return". In retrospect this album could not have been more different.Instead of trying to emulate their British counterparts especially Gentle Giant on tracks like "Miracles Out Of Nowhere" from "Leftoverture" which actually bogged them down, this time they focused on developing their own sound which was more straight hard rock with ornate embellishments which made for a much more powerful album.

Steve Walsh -somewhat missing in action on the songwriting front on the last album steps up and hits a six with the opening title track.It truly is a perfect Prog-Pop song with a catchy chorus with a tight little violin motif, and an impassioned middle eight, all in just over three minutes. He also unleashes his inner Keith Emerson on the breathless two minute Toccatta styled "Spider" - an absolute sonic Progfest which showcases the whole band.I far prefer this to the somewhat bloated "Magnum Opus" from the previous album.The album also contained another absolute Classic hit single- "Dust In The Wind".This all-acoustic song apparently based on Kerry Livgren's fingerpicking exercises is truly beautiful with an absolutely gorgeous violin solo.Elsewhere the band simply rock like bastards especially on tracks like "Lightning's Hand"

The production on this album is absolutely top class- loud and punchy (except "Dust) with a great bass sound and I particularly like Phil Ehart's powerful drumming.No wonder he was plucked alongside Steve Walsh by Steve Hackett to play on his Please Don't Touch" album.

In short an absolute blast of an album.Five stars.

 Leftoverture by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.22 | 1040 ratings

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Leftoverture
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by Lupton

3 stars Kansas Leftoverture

Kansas had already been experimenting with long form songs such as "Song for America" before they produced this album. The main difference is that this time they were attempting to incorporate more "Prog" into the mix. "Miracles Out Of Nowhere" for example reminds me of Gentle Giant- especially the fugue like instrumental section."Cheyenne Anthem" which always reminds me of BJH at least for the first couple of verses also has a complex instrumental section which works well.Another highlight is "The Wall" -a pleasant piano based ballad with a thoughtful lyric.Most of the other tracks are still typical hard riff based rockers like the anthemic "Carry On Wayward Son" and "Whats On My Mind".The closing track- the rather pompously titled "Magnum Opus" is the one which I have the most problem with. Apparently it was cobbled together from various bits of music which had yet to find a home-maybe the inspiration for the album's title? The problem is that it comes across as a series of disjointed hard rock riffs piled on top of each other in a vain attempt to create some sort of "Grand" statement.The end result is just a little too bombastic and incoherent for my ears.

Overall I would say Leftoverture is a brave attempt to push their music in a more progressive direction and while hardly able to compete with the major players of the day is still a good album. 3 stars

 Two for the Show by KANSAS album cover Live, 1978
4.31 | 236 ratings

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Two for the Show
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

5 stars 'The best bands sound even better on stage!'

In 1977 24-carat symphonic rock 'biggie' Genesis was voted 'the best live band in the world' in Melody Maker, one of the leading UK music magazines in the Seventies. On the other side of the ocean 6-piece formation Kansas had added an extra dimension to that highly acclaimed symphonic rock, by adding swirling classical violin and hot rocking electric guitars. Their story looks like 'The American Dream In Prog'. Because Kansas started as hard working rookies playing gigs in local pubs and driving day after day down the road, in an old van. Gradually they climbed the ladder and in the end Kansas became rock stars with triple platinum albums sales, top 10 singles, sold out concerts in stadiums, and they were driven around in limousines. Kansas got their well deserved commercial breakthrough with their fourth album Lefoverture (1976), and the single Carry On Wayward Son. One year later sales were even better with theirt fifth album Point Of Know Return, and Kansas deliver a worldwide hit with Dust In The Wind. So while Genesis was hailed on the other side of the ocean, in the USA Kansas their unique, very exciting and dynamic blend of classical, hardrock and symphonic rock was embraced by millions and millions! They started a massive 1977/1978 world tour and In 1978 the band released a double live LP entitled Two For The Show, recorded during their USA tour. This has always been one of my favourite live albums, a powerhouse progrock band playing their best songs. In 2008 Kansas released the Two For The Show 30th Anniversary 2-CD reissue: on CD 1 the entire TFTS 2-LP, except Closet Chronicles, that had been put on CD 2, among 10 previously unreleased tracks from the 1977-1978 USA tour.

CD-1 : Kansas their trademark is the outstanding interplay between the Holy Prog Trinity: harder-edged guitars, swirling violin and powerful keyboards, embellished with strong vocals and a dynamic, often propulsive rhythm- section. Well, on stage this sounds even more powerful, dynamic and exciting. Another very strong element in their music is the huge variety, in atmospheres and instrumentation, a few examples. Mini-symphonies in the mid-long compositions (between 4 and 10 minutes) Song For America, Journey From Mariabronn, Excerpt From Lamplight Symphony and the mindblowing Magnum Opus: lots of shifting moods, build- ups and grand finales featuring awesome interplay by the Holy Prog Trinity, spectacular soli on swirling violin, heavy guitar and vintage keyboards (from powerful Hammond runs to dazzling Minimoog flights), topped by strongs vocals and a dynamic rhythm-section.

The 'chart-flirting' composition Point Of Know Return : song-oriented melodic rock with a tight beat and functional work on guitars and keyboards.

'Classical meets hardrock' in Mysteries Of Mayhem : heavy guitars, bombastic Hammond, exciting interplay from the Holy Prog Trinity and raw and powerful vocals by Robby Steinhardt.

'Unplugged' in Dust In The Wind : wonderful dreamy atmosphere with acoustic guitars, violin and warm vocals, culminating in a virtuosic acoustic guitar solo (with hints from Steve Howe).

A sparkling classical piano solo, as an intro to the strongly build up Lonely Wind : from mellow to bombastic, topped with beautiful, slightly melancholical vocals.

Another Kansas trademark song is their huge hit single Carry On My Wayward Son : from tender piano and vocals to bombastic, halfway a spectacular break with a heavy guitar ' and Hammond sound.

CD-2: Apart from the track Closet Chronicles, this second disc contains previously unreleased 1977-1978 USA concert footage, according to the 12-page booklet 'somebody at Sony found it in the vault'. In fact this means that all tracks were 'left-overs' from the Two For The Show double album in 1978. Indeed, in general these 'left-overs' sound slightly less elaborate and varied than on CD 1. And on CD 2 the focus is also a bit more on harder-edged melodic rock, with a tight up-tempo beat and hot rocking guitars, like in Child Of Innocence (heavy guitar intro), Belexes, Down The Road (trademark Kansas with exciting Holy Prog Trinity) and the swinging Bringing It Back (omnipresent dynamic violin work). And the track Lonely Street is even bluesy, with strong vocals and an exciting duel between the two guitars.

But Kansas also delivers their trademark captivating and varied mini-symphonies, like Hopelessly Human (cascades of soli), the emotional Cheyenne Anthem (wonderful instrumentation and a compelling grand finale), Miracles Out Of Nowhere (vocal harmonies, a 'churchy' Hammond solo and great work by the Holy Prog Trinity) and Closet Chronicles (lots of good musical ideas, like a vibraphone-Minimoog duet). These four compositions could easily have been part of the original Two For The Show live album, as side 5 and 6, completed with Lonely Street and Down The Road, as the best work of the CD 2.

So where to put this Two For The Show 2-CD reissue? Well, for me it's simple, among other great Seventies Heavy Prog live albums, like Made In Japan from Deep Purple, Live by Uriah Heep, Exit Stage Left by Rush and The Song Remains The Same by Led Zeppelin, what a power, quality, variety and excitement, and that's what genuine progressive rock is about. By the way, Kansas on TFTS cannot be compared to their later (Eighties) AOR sound, that was more similar to Styx, Journey, Saga, Asia and Boston, here it is unique Heavy Prog (74-78 era)!

 Song For America by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.13 | 655 ratings

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Song For America
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by Jzrk

4 stars I watch Don Kirshners rock concert when I was a freshman at n high school I believe.Well one night he introduced a brand new band called Kansas.I had never heard anything like them and was blown away right off the bat. I quickly went and got Song For America and from there went back and got their first album. Song For America had everything I liked from fast rock driven songs to the longer prog tracks. The musicianship,songwriting,and vocal prowess defined their sound for the 70's. Unlike the European prog bands,Kansas brought an American flavor straight from the heartland into their music which made it totally different from anything else out there. A stand out album in a series of standout albums and always hold a place close to my heart because it was my first foray into their music
 Monolith by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.20 | 344 ratings

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Monolith
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by celtics81

4 stars I don't quite understand all these two a three star reviews. I'm a little biased because I've loved this group since I was 12 years old and they helped me get through a lot of hard times at that tender age. I'm not really down on this recording of Kansas MONOLITH but I think it's quite a ways down the entire Kansas discography by the original lineup. I would give it around 4.25 stars.

I think that the four or so best tracks are "On the other Side", "Angels Have Fallen", "Glimpse of Home", and "Away From You". If I could, I'd cut off the final two tracks which are "Stay out of trouble" and "Reason to be". Stay out of trouble is very juvenile and not anywhere's near anything that was on the previous album POINT OF KNOW RETURN. That album was a blockbuster that is my favorite album of all-time. Reason to be was just too soft and not what I want to hear from Kansas. I think Steve's vocals are incredibly outstanding ( listen to how he ends his vocals on the track "On the other side" and the vocals on "Angels have Fallen") on this release of MONOLITH. "Glimpse of Home" is still one of my favorite songs overall of this group too!!!

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

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