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KANSAS

Symphonic Prog • United States


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Kansas biography
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 released their second live album, "Live At The Whiskey", and featured live renditions of their classics. In...
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Buy KANSAS Music


The Prelude ImplicitThe Prelude Implicit
Inside Out Music 2016
Audio CD$7.02
$5.99 (used)
The Prelude Implicit (Special Edition)The Prelude Implicit (Special Edition)
Inside Out Music 2016
Audio CD$9.97
$12.23 (used)
The Best of KansasThe Best of Kansas
Remastered · Extra tracks
Sony Legacy 1999
Audio CD$3.46
$0.88 (used)
Original Album ClassicsOriginal Album Classics
Box set
Sony Legacy 2015
Audio CD$15.53
$15.52 (used)
MonolithMonolith
SBME SPECIAL MKTS. 2008
Audio CD$2.97
$2.96 (used)
Audio-VisionsAudio-Visions
SBME SPECIAL MKTS. 2008
Audio CD$2.97
$2.97 (used)
LeftovertureLeftoverture
Import
Epic Europe 2001
Audio CD$3.59
$2.46 (used)
Point Of Know ReturnPoint Of Know Return
SBME SPECIAL MKTS. 2013
Audio CD$2.97
$2.96 (used)
Song For AmericaSong For America
Remastered
SBME SPECIAL MKTS. 2008
Audio CD$2.98
$2.99 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
CD Zoom "Helium Octipede" Kansas indie punk on Tim Kerr 1993 USD $0.99 [0 bids]
FAIR Condition Rock Vinyl Lot Rock Simon Garfunkel Bob Dylan Kansas Sinatra Jazz USD $17.99 Buy It Now
Kansas " Monolith " NM- 1979 Gatefold Kirshner Records $2.00 Shipping USD $14.99 Buy It Now
Trini Lopez Kansas City / Lonesome Traveler 45RPM Canada VG+ USD $2.97 Buy It Now
1980 Kansas NEAR MINT Audio-Visions FZ 36588 12" LP vinyl record PROMO stamp NM USD $14.23 Buy It Now
KANSAS drastic measures Lp RECORD USD $7.99 Buy It Now
Ruben Pascottini CD Piano & Orchestra Kansas City Christmas USD $12.99 Buy It Now
Kansas Mennonite Men's Chorus - "Five Centuries of Singing" 2000 Spring Concert USD $11.99 Buy It Now
TOMMY WILLS VG++ Kansas City 45 K.C. Drive JB-2025 Juke 7" Vinyl Funk Soul USD $29.96 Buy It Now
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Kansas - Miracles Out Of Nowhere CD & DVD Documentary FREE SHIPPING ! USD $22.90 Buy It Now
Wizards From Kansas - S/T CD..'70 US prog , psych..Radioactive..RRCD 009 USD $8.99 Buy It Now
KANSAS "POINT OF KNOW RETURN" VINYL 12'' LP 33 RPM RECORD 1977 USD $12.95 Buy It Now
Kansas Point of Know Return 12" LP USD $19.17 Buy It Now
KANSAS Triple Feature: Self-Titled/Masque/Monolith (CD 2009) 3-CD USA Digipak USD $12.95 Buy It Now
JIMMY WITHERSPOON - Blowin In From Kansas City ~ VINYL LP USD $18.73 Buy It Now
MORNING DEW - NO MORE 66-69 KANSAS PSYCH SINGLES + UNRELEASED RARITIES SEALED CD USD $17.95 Buy It Now
Jerry Mason Top 40 Radio show -WHB Kansas City 9/4/1964 Great Music from 1964 USD $9.00 [0 bids]
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ADVERT 8X12" KANSAS : CARRY ON WAYWARD SON USD $9.09 Buy It Now
ALBUM 8X12" KANSAS : POINT OF KNOW RETURN USD $9.09 Buy It Now
DJ Don Locknane Top 40 Radio Show over WHB Kansas City 4/29/1960 - early Rock USD $9.00 [0 bids]
USD $11.70 Buy It Now
AMERICAN REVOLUTION 4 PAGE ARTICLE & PICTURES AEROSMITH STYX BOSTON KANSAS ETC USD $11.68 Buy It Now
KANSAS : POINT OF KNOW RETURN ADVERT 8X12" USD $9.09 Buy It Now
The Pride Of Wildcat Land Kansas State University Marching Band~FAST SHIPPING!!! USD $17.05 Buy It Now
NEW Kansas City Suite: The Music of Benny (Audio CD) USD $32.93 Buy It Now
GHOST: Oooh Child / Kansas City 45 (dj) Soul USD $20.00 Buy It Now
KANSAS CITY SOUL LP: OLETA ADAMS private press Going On Record live 1983 USD $24.99 Buy It Now
KANSAS - "Power" LP - 1986 ORIG 1st US PROMO w/ STICKER & INNER SLEEVE USD $12.88 Buy It Now
KANSAS CITY POP INSTRUMENTAL 45: "R" BOYS Broken Moods/It's About Time R 514 USD $11.99 Buy It Now
Live In Cowtown Kansas City 22nd Apri 5060230865027, CD, BRAND NEW FREE P USD $21.21 Buy It Now
Discover Kansas Kansas MUSIC CD USD $6.92 Buy It Now
Old 45 RPM Record - RCA Victor 447-0880 - Bennie Moten's Kansas City - South / B USD $2.50 Buy It Now
Old 45 RPM Record - Top Rank RA 2092 - Harold Dorman - Moved to Kansas City / Ta USD $1.49 Buy It Now
KANSAS - THE PRELUDE IMPLICIT DOUBLE VINYL LP NEW/ MINT (23RD SEPT) USD $27.24 Buy It Now
KANSAS POINT OF KNOW RETURN ALBUM 33 RPM VERY GOOD CONDITION USD $6.00 Buy It Now
KANSAS - THE PREACHER : MAGNUM OPUS LIVE '89 (NEW/SEALED) CD Live USD $6.48 Buy It Now
Kansas - Point Of Know Return (LP VInyl EX) Kirshner KIR - JZ 34929 Holland 1977 USD $18.90 Buy It Now
F- Wilbert Harrison ~ Kansas City (mod) / Listen My Darling (mod) USD $0.99 Buy It Now
CUSTOM PRESS LP KANSAS CITY THROUGH THE SIDE DOOR LARRY VANLOON MIKE O'NEIL ++++ USD $12.49 Buy It Now
1981 WICHITA KANSAS YOUTH SYMPHONY REPERTORY CONCERT USD $12.50 Buy It Now
SEALED LP WICHITA KANSAS SCHOOLS 1966 CHORAL FESTIVAL USD $12.50 Buy It Now
THREE DOG NIGHT Hard Labour LP Fleetwood Mac Peter Frampton Kansas / ABC '74 USD $10.38 Buy It Now
THE VELVET UNDERGROUND - LIVE AT MAX'S KANSAS CITY - NEW CD ALBUM USD $18.16 Buy It Now
THE VELVET UNDERGROUND - LIVE AT MAX'S KANSAS CITY - NEW VINYL LP USD $35.03 Buy It Now
WILBERT HARRISON - KANSAS CITY / LISTEN, MY DARLING - FURY 45RPM (1959) USD $6.00 Buy It Now
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Kansas Audio-Visions SHRINK FZ 36588 ALBUM VG COVER VG++ record LP USD $2.99 Buy It Now
KANSAS LEFT OVERTURE CD GOLD DISC VINYL LP FREE SHIPPING TO U.K. USD $129.78 Buy It Now
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KANSAS POINT OF KNOW RETURN CD PLATINUM DISC VINYL LP FREE SHIPPING TO U.K. USD $142.76 Buy It Now
KANSAS POINT OF KNOW RETURN CD GOLD DISC VINYL LP FREE SHIPPING TO U.K. USD $129.78 Buy It Now
Dark Horse Reunion Jazz Live From Manhattan Kansas Private Rare KSU K State 1978 USD $12.00 Buy It Now
AD Art of the State LP Kerry Livgren / Dave Hope of Kansas 33 rpm Rock Christian USD $3.50 Buy It Now
KANSAS LEFT OVERTURE MULTI (GOLD) CD PLATINUM DISC FREE SHIPPING TO U.K. USD $220.63 Buy It Now
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DIXIE JAZZERS WASHBOARD BAND kansas city shuffle*memphis shake 1967 UK VJM EP USD $16.86 Buy It Now
Home Grown 1980 KY102 Kansas City KC Private AOR Hard Rock Rare USD $20.00 Buy It Now
VELVET UNDERGROUND-LIVE AT MAX`S KANSAS CITY-JAPAN SHM-CD F04 USD $26.99 Buy It Now
Original 1986 KANSAS Power CD JAPAN MCA 5838 ROCK MINT!!! USD $8.49 Buy It Now
WILBERT HARRISON Kansas City Twist / Let's Stick Together FURY 1059 ROCKER 45 7 USD $15.99 Buy It Now
KANSAS " Dust In The Wind / Closet Chronicles " Vinyl 7" 45rpm Kirshner D-2459 USD $12.79 Buy It Now 12m 56s
Kansas Audio - Visions vinyl LP Record PROMO VG+/G USD $4.49 Buy It Now 19m 53s
Various Artists - Kansas Jazz - Various Artists CD B8VG USD $9.44 Buy It Now 20m 18s
ROCK/ Kansas - All I Wanted (WL Promo) USD $7.99 Buy It Now 23m 42s
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TENDERLOIN Black Mens XL T Shirt- Ernie Locke, Sin City Disciples, Kansas City USD $65.00 Buy It Now 26m 31s
HANK BALLARD & THE MIDNIGHTERS Kansas City / Sexy Ways Old Gold Series 7" 45rpm USD $2.50 Buy It Now 29m 13s
CARL "LITTLE REV" LATTIMORE: Carl's Dance Party / Kansas City 45 (wol, sm tol) USD $40.00 Buy It Now 36m 48s
Shakin' Stevens / Kansas / Spliff / ELO / Foreigner / Roxy Music / IMPORT LP USD $18.99 Buy It Now 46m 12s
ROCK/ Kansas - Everybody's My Friend / Mainstream (Promo) USD $8.99 Buy It Now 47m 5s
BILL ROBERTS & FABULOUS FOUR: Kansas City Chiefs / Same 45 rare Rock & Pop USD $70.00 Buy It Now 53m 40s
Edison Record DD #51459 - Way Out West In Kansas & The Prisoner's Song - Dalhart USD $11.95 [0 bids]
59m 17s
PROG ROCK/ Kansas - Vinyl Confessions (LP) USD $9.99 Buy It Now 59m 38s
GOTH ROCK/ Bay Of Pigs - Not Kansas / Whore USD $11.99 Buy It Now 1h 12m
KANSAS -VINYL CONFESSIONS -STEREO VINYL LP LOOKS AS IF NEVER PLAYED NEAR MINT! USD $2.99 [0 bids]
1h 15m
Art Gillham WHISPERING PIANIST West Kansas COLUMBIA 20's Victrola Record 78 rpm USD $35.00 Buy It Now 1h 16m
KANSAS "AUDIO-VISIONS" 12" VINYL LP NEW, SEALED, MINT, ROCK, 1980 USD $30.00 Buy It Now 1h 17m
National Lampoon In-Store Air-Play Album for July LP - Rick Wakeman, Kansas USD $12.99 Buy It Now 1h 17m
TIME LIFE - LEGENDS - For Your Love Argent, Hollies, Kansas, Boz Scaggs, Toto USD $7.99 Buy It Now 1h 20m
Buddy Tate Humphrey Lyttelton Kansas City Woman vinyl LP Black Lion BL312 USD $10.00 Buy It Now 1h 24m
KANSAS dust in the wind / people of the south wind HALL OF FAME EPIC 45 USD $5.49 Buy It Now 1h 25m
COUNT BASIE & HIS KANSAS CITY SEVEN MERCURY MINT- 45 EP AND CARDBOARD COVER USD $16.00 Buy It Now 1h 27m
Ares Kingdom-The Unburiable Dead CD Thrash/death metal band from Kansas City, US USD $5.94 Buy It Now 1h 29m
KANSAS - FREAKS OF NATURE. / ( STYX , BOSTON , BLUE OYSTER CULT , ASIA , YES ) USD $9.96 Buy It Now 1h 31m
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GLEN CAMPBELL wayfarin stranger / manhattan kansas CAPITOL 45 USD $2.49 Buy It Now 1h 35m
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Kansas by Jennifer Knapp Rock, Acoustic CD 1997 Gotee Records (VERY GOOD+) #V109 USD $6.25 Buy It Now 2h 12m
Lot Of 4 Assorted Classic Rock Cassette Tape Foreigner Kansas Jefferson Starship USD $7.99 [0 bids]
2h 16m
KANSAS THE BEST OF 1990 LP LYRIC W/INSERT EX+ ~ NM Promo USD $12.99 Buy It Now 2h 20m
KANSAS POINT OF KNOW RETURN 12 " Lp Vinyl~Canada Pressing~KIRSHNER PZ 34929 USD $19.32 Buy It Now 2h 28m
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Monolith, Kansas,Excellent, (NM-) This record won't be perfect and may show ver USD $8.23 Buy It Now 2h 39m
THE KINSMEN GOSPEL SRS RECS NEWTON KANSAS NM- CUSTOM STEREO NM VINYL RECORD USD $7.50 Buy It Now 2h 43m
1968 KANSAS MUSIC EDUCATORS A FESTIVAL CONCERT WICHITA USD $3.75 Buy It Now 2h 43m
THE SOJOURNERS QUARTET LP WICHITA KANSAS CUSTOM PRESS USD $7.50 Buy It Now 2h 43m
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KANSAS has no upcoming shows, according to LAST.FM syndicated events and shows feed

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)

4.00 | 503 ratings
Kansas
1974
4.14 | 588 ratings
Song For America
1975
3.70 | 432 ratings
Masque
1975
4.22 | 892 ratings
Leftoverture
1976
4.14 | 644 ratings
Point Of Know Return
1977
3.21 | 304 ratings
Monolith
1979
3.07 | 235 ratings
Audio-Visions
1980
2.75 | 190 ratings
Vinyl Confessions
1982
2.21 | 181 ratings
Drastic Measures
1983
2.70 | 196 ratings
Power
1986
2.85 | 168 ratings
In The Spirit Of Things
1988
3.71 | 12 ratings
The Christmas Album
1989
3.24 | 179 ratings
Freaks Of Nature
1995
3.47 | 120 ratings
Always Never The Same
1998
3.49 | 226 ratings
Somewhere To Elsewhere
2000
4.02 | 75 ratings
The Prelude Implicit
2016

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

4.30 | 208 ratings
Two for the Show
1978
2.89 | 43 ratings
Kansas - Live at the Whiskey
1992
2.61 | 37 ratings
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Kansas (1989)
1998
2.17 | 15 ratings
Live: Dust In The Wind
1998
4.03 | 59 ratings
Device, Voice, Drum
2002
2.15 | 9 ratings
Dust In The Wind
2002
1.52 | 6 ratings
From The Front Row...Live!
2003
2.06 | 7 ratings
Greatest Hits Live (Kansas)
2003
4.10 | 51 ratings
There's Know Place Like Home
2009
4.44 | 9 ratings
Bryn Mawr 1976
2014
2.39 | 4 ratings
Carry on for no Return
2016

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

3.28 | 13 ratings
Best Of Kansas Live (VHS) (aka Live Confessions DVD)
1982
4.20 | 58 ratings
Device - Voice - Drum (DVD)
2002
4.57 | 52 ratings
There´s Know Place Like Home (DVD)
2009
4.25 | 13 ratings
Miracles Out Of Nowhere
2015

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

2.55 | 67 ratings
The Best of Kansas
1984
3.81 | 39 ratings
The Ultimate Kansas Box Set
1994
3.14 | 13 ratings
The Definitive Collection
1997
3.24 | 37 ratings
The Best of Kansas (1999)
1999
1.35 | 8 ratings
Extended Versions
2000
3.92 | 28 ratings
The Ultimate Kansas
2002
4.17 | 6 ratings
Closet Chronicles - The Best of Kansas
2003
4.13 | 5 ratings
Dust In The Wind
2004
4.17 | 29 ratings
Sail On: The 30th Anniversary Collection 1974-2004
2004
2.95 | 7 ratings
On The Other Side
2005
2.38 | 7 ratings
Works In Progress
2006
4.15 | 18 ratings
Original Album Classics
2009
3.76 | 5 ratings
The Music of Kansas
2010
4.29 | 12 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
4.00 | 5 ratings
Point Of Know Return
1977
4.00 | 6 ratings
Carry On Wayward Son (Adelante, Hijo Descarriado)
1977
3.75 | 4 ratings
Portrait (He Knew)
1978
4.00 | 6 ratings
Dust In The Wind
1978
2.29 | 5 ratings
People Of The Southwind
1979
3.17 | 5 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

KANSAS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Prelude Implicit by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.02 | 75 ratings

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The Prelude Implicit
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Ok, I´ve got to admit: I´m impressed. Very impressed. Kansas`s first studio album after 16 years was not something I was waiting eagerly. After all, I could not think of this band without Steve Walsh. Secondly, it seemed that the band really needed at least one Kerry Livgren song on the album to make it worthwhile. And now reduced to only two original members (guitarist Rich Williams and the indefatigable drummer Phil Ehart), none of them much of songwriters themselves, how could the "new" Kansas be of ay relevance, or even interest?

Well, thanks to some correct choices of new recruits, the band really resurrected from the ashes (the Phoenix on the cover is no coincidence). Not only they chose the right people to play, they also had some strong and convincing material to release. First think you´ll probably notice is how Ronnie Platt did the seemly impossible task of replacing Steve Walsh: the guy not only has a very similar voice but has also his emotional interpretation. Not a small feat for such an iconic and unique singer. He even plays the keyboards! The fact that the band decided to hire a second guitarist (Zak Rizvi, also a songwriter and producer) and keyboards player (David Manion) made the band sound stronger and closer to their classic line up.

Of course nothing of this would never had worked out without good new compositions. And the band delivered the good! The first three tracks were very good, but did not really move me, maybe because they were short ones. They were certainly strong enough to justify their inclusions but the "real" classic Kansas comes in full power from Rhythm In The Spirit onward. That song has all the right elements you´d expect from the good old days: prog stuff with great guitar, violin and keys interplay. The rhythm section is also on top form and added to the powerful delivering of Platt´s voice it becomes one of those tracks that would sit comfortably along with any other of their 70´s stuff. Better still, the following tunes were as good as this one! Sometimes in songs like the 8 minute+ The Voyage of Eight Eighteen you´ll feel like you´re hearing something lifted direct from Leftoverture or Mask. The semi-acoustic Refugee is another highlight, but really, The Prelude Implicit is one of those CDs you want to listen to again and again, without skipping a single track. Everything here takes you back to their glory days without really copying themselves: the music is different, yet so familiar and refreshing you cannot help but loving every minute of it.

I would not go as far as another reviewer that says this CD is their best since Point... but I must say that it´s very hard to find anything after that one that has the same balance between tracks, that sounds as good as a whole. Certainly it´s Kansas best in decades.

If you´re a fan of the band you can go no wrong with this album. It´s a real resurrection of a great group. I only hope it won´t take them so much time to bring us with such brilliant record. It was well worth the wait, though. Welcome back, my friends!

Rating: 4,5 stars. Highly recommended!

 The Prelude Implicit by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.02 | 75 ratings

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The Prelude Implicit
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by Progresearcher

4 stars In my opinion, KANSAS is America's most important progressive rock band, and some of their releases are among my all-time favorites. Of course, after a 16-year wait, I was eager to listen to the combo's new album, "The Prelude Implicit", even though I knew that neither Kerry Livgren nor Steve Walsh participated in its creation. What I can tell you from the outset is that I liked the recording, albeit not as much as its predecessor, "Somewhere to Elsewhere", which, to my mind, is perfect in every respect. About one third of the songs on "The Prelude Implicit" have a more modern sound than the others, and while the instrumental arrangements are interesting everywhere on the album, on some of the tracks (such as the first two, for instance) those are rather short, unlike the vocals-based ones, which, in their turn, are rather straightforward there, the overall picture reminding me of a cross between "Power" and "Freaks of Nature", though with the latter outing mainly due to the presence of violin. Almost all of the other tracks have a classic Kansas sound, referring to the band's work in the second half of the '70s. Ronnie Plant is a very good vocalist, besides which his voice is very similar to Steve's, as also is his way of singing in particular. Most of the time I had the impression that I was listening to a logical continuation of the style presented on "Point of Know Return", as if "The Prelude Implicit", with its (mostly) grandiose musical palette, equally rich in elements of classic symphonic Art-Rock and Prog-Metal, is a follow-up to the band's 1977 masterpiece. Only within the movements that are driven by the Hammond, the music sounds slightly different than classic Kansas. I don't know whether it's Ronnie Plant or (another newcomer, keyboardist) David Manion, who plays it, but all the organ solos on the album are quite strongly reminiscent of those in Deep Purple. The acoustic ballad 'Refugee' isn't as strikingly impressive as 'Dust in the Wind', but it doesn't matter much, because it has a lot of its own merits (and there is no contradiction in what I said). All in all, I'm happy to say that the band didn't let my expectations down with this - their third - 'comeback' album.
 The Prelude Implicit by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.02 | 75 ratings

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The Prelude Implicit
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars `Comeback' works or even modern album releases from vintage progressive rock acts are a risky business. Often there's no fire or inspiration left in the group, the material has become too watered down and straight-forward to be accepted by the prog-snobs, or worst of all, the new works are simply dismissed or ignored altogether by all but the die-hard faithful. So it's completely unexpected that a fresh line-up of symphonic rockers Kansas, with founding and long-serving members Phil Ehart (drums), Billy Greer (bass), Rich Williams (guitars) and violinist David Ragsdale backed up by an amazing new vocalist Ronnie Platt and other skilled musicians have delivered a perfectly vital and very inspired new album in 2016, `The Prelude Implicit', and it's jammed full beginning to end with everything that Kansas fans love about the band, with not a filler track in sight.

Perhaps because Kansas already had the AOR sound present in their music right from their early Seventies debut that it's no surprise to find that element here, but it means the group avoid the accusations that befall so many older prog-rock groups of `selling out' or now being `too commercial'. Impeccably performed melodic rock/pop tunes with the warmest of soaring vocal harmonies, colourful instrumental displays and fleeting moments of prog grandiosity are the order of the day here, and it's actually quite comparable and not too far removed from the recent Ted Leonard-fronted Spock's Beard albums! In many ways, `Prelude' almost picks up right where 1977's `Point of Know Return' left off, so fans of the classic first five LP's of the band should feel pretty comfortable here.

Opener `With This Heart' is equally strong and gentle AOR with a comforting chorus, but if the Kansas faithful aren't immediately sold once Platt's voice starts gliding effortlessly with a melody that is instantly identifiable as the classic band, then the first sprinklings of grand piano, sturdy drumming and dignified violin should seal the deal nicely! The biting lyric of the even better `Visibility Zero' is well delivered by the dramatic guitars and endless washes of keyboardist David Manion's Hammond organ, with a soaring chorus that has been kissed to perfection by the gods of pop, and `The Unsung Heroes' is laid-back and jazzy with the first hint of a more powerful extended instrumental burst in the middle. But it's the six-minute `Rhythm in the Spirit' that delivers the first more overtly `proggy' moment, a mix of constant heavy grooving riffs, lightly programmed beats, careful orchestral-like synths and scorching hot Hammond with wailing twin-guitar runs (delivered by both Williams and new member Zak Rizvi), and there's cheeky call-backs in the chorus to themes from the title track off Kansas' 1975 classic `Song for America' that will have fans beaming (plus a surprise last-minute Mellotron and bass coda is very welcome!).

`Refugee' is a reflective ballad with soft acoustic guitars and Ragsdale's subdued weeping violin (don't forget, David's also pulled prog-duties on Spock's Beard and Glass Hammer discs amongst plenty of others!), and a deeply haunting ambient outro is very surprising to hear on a Kansas album. `The Voyage of Eight Eighteen' is the longest piece at over eight minutes and will surely become a firm favourite for fans of the group, holding the lengthiest instrumental stretches with all the musicians getting standout soloing moments (and Billy Greer's loud and upfront bass-playing throughout is a real highlight), and there's plenty of Deep Purple-like heavy riffing alongside thick organ on `Camouflage'.

`Summer' is a snappy and joyful up-tempo blast of unashamedly poppy rock energy, and the melancholic but ultimately lyrically hopeful `Crowded Isolation' is constantly driven by intimidating brooding drums, with an instrumental passage in the middle of eerie spacey atmosphere, flighty violin and bubbling synth soloing almost briefly calling to mind the Kansas-like 1977 `Black Noise' debut album from Canadian proggers FM. Finally, the fully instrumental `Section 60' (referring to the final resting place for fallen United States military personnel that served in Iraq and Afghanistan) is suitably dramatic and proud, full of noble piano and heroic guitar/violin themes in the typically powerful classic Kansas tradition - a `Song for America' indeed.

Not simply some bunch of `tired all men', Kansas successfully achieve here with `The Prelude Implicit' what many oldies prog acts fail to do - release all-original new material that doesn't fall short of the quality and energy of their defining works and offer an album that can stand proudly on its own strong and modern merits. Devoted Kansas fans will likely be very happy with what they find here (as well as very surprised!), and hopefully this begins a whole new phase of inspiration for this rejuvenated version of the group.

Four stars (and bonus points for the wordy and proudly proggy album title!)

 Carry on for no Return by KANSAS album cover Live, 2016
2.39 | 4 ratings

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Carry on for no Return
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

2 stars Well this is kind of interesting. The 'latest' for Kansas fans who are eagerly awaiting their first studio album in nearly seventeen years ('The Prelude Implicit' will release in September, 2016), here is yet another blast from the past to whet your appetite. 'Carry on for no Return' is the release of a live FM radio broadcast first recorded November 20, 1980 at the Palladium in New York City.

Let's start off by acknowledging this thing for what it is. I'm not sure who owns the label Good Ship Funke but they are clearly an intentionally-anonymous industry insider with a firm grasp of the intricately nuanced world of publishing and broadcast rights, and of music licensing in general. This is of course not a major label release, obvious since the band hasn't even been on a major label in more than twenty years. On the surface this actually looks like a bootleg, but turns out it is a marginally, technically legal release although not authorized or endorsed by the band. Much like the 'Bryn Mawr 1976' CD off the Smokin' label in 2014, this is a live radio broadcast where someone managed to get their hands on a moderately decent recording and secure rights to release it. I seem to recall reading a couple years ago about somebody buying rights to recordings from a buttload of 70s and 80s live performances. Can't remember the details and it doesn't really matter, but I suppose that would explain why we've seen so many baby boom-era live concerts being released on CD in the past few years.

Anyway, the signs of skirting the edges of publishing laws are many. First the album name 'Carry on for no Return' since 'Know Return' would have been more appropriate but would I'm sure also have drawn the interest of Kirshner and Eric copyright attorneys. The font used for the band name hints at their signature form by using an unusual style, but carefully avoids drawing from the actual authorized band font. And the stock photo on the front cover was cleared many years ago in a press kit, so the label didn't have to shell out anything for artwork or pay licensing fees to a photographer.

Speaking of photos, there's another 'public domain' photo used on the back cover and the liner notes. This one features Steve Morse and Steve Walsh live in concert. Unfortunately, Steve Morse didn't even join the band until 1986, and this photo comes from a series of concerts in Philadelphia in 1989, nearly a decade after the concert on the CD. Interesting though that the folks at Good Ship Funke included their own copyright claim for the CD packaging and artwork, even though both photos in the artwork were released by the band themselves as promotional material many years ago.

There are no performer or production credits in the liner notes (since that's not legally required) but there are credits for each song's composers on the back cover (because that is required when one owns the broadcast but not the publishing rights for a piece of music). And that's about it, other than a brief and accurate but boring 'history' of the band on the inside sleeve.

So to be clear, this CD is a shameless attempt to grab a few bucks based on name recognition and probably hopes that the timing will lead to confusion by some dullards who will pick this up thinking it if the new Kansas studio album. Kind of like last year when the film Krampus came out and right after it finished its limited-theater release, Redbox started promoting Krampus: the Reckoning leading fans to believe (probably intentionally) that this was a sequel when in fact it was an appallingly awful and poorly produced movie that had no connection to the real film whatsoever. So for that alone I'm deducting two stars (probably should make that three).

So why bother to write about the record at all? Well, anyone who knows the band knows they've been around for more than 45 years, but their heyday was clearly 1975-1980. And back then they were known as a supremely talented live act, with many fans even preferring their live performances to the studio ones, as evidenced by their 1978 double-live 'Two for the Show' topping one million sales just three months after its release. But surprisingly there are relatively few live recordings that survived that period, other than a small number of fairly well-known bootlegs, none of which is of very high quality and none at all that I'm aware of that are from the Audio-Visions tour like this broadcast was. So for those reasons the disc is worth some consideration, at least by serious fans.

In addition to a rather nice introduction from Wagner's 'Lohengrin', there are thirteen Kansas songs on the CD along with one each from Kerry Livgren and Steve Walsh's respective solo albums that were both released in 1980. I'm not sure if that was the entire concert but given the playlist matches those from several other shows on the same tour I'm guessing this was all or at least most of the music that was performed that evening. And for the most part I think the thing is in its actual sequence, the exception being the closing 'Relentless' which was probably originally played somewhere in the middle of the show but moved to the end here because it would make a stronger closing piece for the radio broadcast than the more languid 'Hold On'. Seven of the ten tracks on the Audio-Visions album are performed, along with the obligatory 'Dust in the Wind' and 'Point of Know Return' (although surprisingly not 'Carry on Wayward Son'). The front half of the concert consists of abbreviated versions of older material including 'Icarus/Borne on Wings of Steel', 'Hopelessly Human', 'Paradox' and a shamefully brief 'Cheyenne Anthem' that clocks in at less than four minutes. This is followed by a clear break from the past with Walsh's 'So You Think You Got It Made' from his 'Schemer Dreamer' album that was released that spring. This morphs into 'The Mask of the Great Deceiver' from Livgren's own 1980 solo album 'Seeds of Change', the two contrasting their respective authors' styles as 'Mask' is a much more progressive, brooding and introspective song than Walsh's boogey blues rocker. After that the concert shifts focus to the present and other than an abbreviated 'Miracles out of Nowhere' the rest of the show consists of songs from their current album ('Audio-Visions').

There are several observations about the quality of the show that night that are worth commenting on. First and foremost, the early stages of Walsh's vocal fall from grace are evident here. While he manages to hit some key notes (particularly early in the show), he struggles later, is sometimes off-key, and several times lays off high notes when it seems to be beyond his range. There's also more vocal participation from Robbie Steinhardt, something that would become common over the ensuing years until Steinhardt left the band. And there seems to be a bit of a struggle at times between the two of them over who is leading, when to harmonize and when to step back. This is most apparent on the newer stuff although Steinhardt steps all over Walsh on 'Miracles' where I think he's trying to take some of the higher stuff Walsh isn't reaching but Steve doesn't want to let those go. This is also something fans would continue to see at Kansas concerts for many years after this. I witnessed it myself during at least five concerts in the 80s and 90s.

There's also an interesting attempt to placate older fans while reaching out to new ones, and doing this in the ADHD-and-coke 80s where long progressive songs were about as popular as rectal thermometers. So the band includes some old-timey favorites like 'Icarus' and 'Cheyenne Anthem', but guts the instrumental passages to get them down to something resembling an MTV-length soundbite. 'Cheyenne Anthem' suffers most and of all the live versions I've heard of that song over the years, this one is by far the worst.

On a positive note though, there are several songs here that you will have a tough time finding live versions of anywhere else, in particular 'Don't Open Your Eyes', 'So You Think You Got It Made', 'No One Together' and 'Anything for You'. All are from 'Audio-Visions' and as far as I know no other live versions of these songs has ever been legitimately released. And the performance quality on these is pretty decent so if you're a fan of that album then this CD might be worth your time.

Otherwise I can't say this is something anyone should go out of their way to find and listen to. It is interesting to hear the band in concert shortly before they fractured into pieces, but beyond that there's not much new here and the sound and production quality isn't much better than if you had recorded this on a TDK cassette back when it first aired thirty-five years ago. Two stars for the historical significance and for having live versions of songs that aren't available elsewhere, but nothing more than that.

peace

 Kansas by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.00 | 503 ratings

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Kansas
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Violin symphonic prog rocks!

In the first half of the seventies, not many American bands dared enter the progressive world well occupied by the British elders. Originating from country, boogie and southern hard rock, what kind of music could KANSAS possibly propose to enter this particular sphere? Well, as we will see, a lot of refreshing ideas, resembling no other at the time.

The opening song "Can I Tell You" is a catchy and energetic tune that set the tone for the rest of the album and really rocks! "Bringing It Back" is a nice boosted up cover of a JJ Cale's song, where the violin replaces the harmonica of the original version. In contrast, the melancholic "Lonely Wind" sounds a little cheesy. Fortunately, "Belexes" is here to wake you up. Written by Kerry Livgren in 1972, this slightly progressive hard country rock is dynamic and powerful! Its arrangements resemble URIAH HEEP by moments. One of the best songs of the disc! Then comes the first genuine progressive track of the record, the 8 minutes "Journey From Mariabronn". A colorful and changing suite, with heroic and touching moments and a wonderful finale! Very cool, despite dated keyboards sonorities.

The soft "The Pilgrimage" may be not as remarkable as the other tracks, but remains nonetheless enjoyable. "Aperçu" and "Death of Mother Nature" form a single 17 minutes long suite. The first track adopts a symphonic rock style which can remind YES at times. Typically progressive, it features rhythms changes, powerful and melancholic passages. Furthermore, the ending rocks! Brilliant. With its hard rock / early 70's metal tones, "Death Of Mother Nature Suite" is darker. Also cool, but contains a few lengthy moments.

Not as progressive as the next albums, KANSAS' debut is already promising and remains my favorite from Walsh and co. Maybe because it's their rock-iest effort, however also because it delivers an original mixture that was not done yet back then: energetic country/hard rock with violin with some complexity. The band possessed refreshing musical ingredients, but still searched itself. Typically North-American, this is no majestic symphonic prog like YES or GENESIS, it does not transport you into enchanted or fairytale worlds, but the music is dynamic and has lots of innovative ideas to offer. An underrated opus, maybe too progressive for Americans at the time, and not enough for the English, where the genre was already well established.

Anyway, progheads should be wrong not to give this record a listen. The one to start with for hard rock fans. After, the band will incorporate more keyboards in their compositions. One of KANSAS' best albums!

 The Christmas Album by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.71 | 12 ratings

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The Christmas Album
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

4 stars By mid-autumn 1990 the members of Kansas were not in a very good place. The group had reformed in late 1985 and released two studio albums on the MCA label, but changing public tastes and a rapidly condensing music industry combined to cloud the band's future. Having Steve Walsh, one of the most recognizable voices in American rock, along with five-time Guitar magazine artist-of-the-year Steve Morse should have all but ensured success for the group, but MCA had set sights on the MTV generation and was in the process of unwinding its relationship with Kansas following a critically-acclaimed but financially disappointing 'In the Spirit of Things' album and subsequent tour. There were rumors of Morse's departure, which were confirmed in the spring shortly after the 'Spirit' tour sputtered to a halt. And despite persistent efforts by drummer and band leader Phil Ehart to bring original violinist Robby Steinhardt back into the fold, the group appeared ready to close out the 1980s without a label and without their signature string sound.

And then came a glimmer of hope. The story goes that in late summer 1990 a German concert promoter made a deal with the original Kansas lineup to reform and embark on a European tour. In reality that 'German promoter' was Phil Ehart himself, working behind the scenes to inject some sign of life into a band that otherwise appeared headed for the boneyard, though his role would not come to light until many years later. Unfortunately Steinhardt was still off in Florida creating musically average and unjustifiably hard-to-find CDs with ganja buddy Rick Moon, but the rest of the group including Kerry Livgren and Dave Hope agreed to spend the winter of 1990 trapesing through the rapidly transforming European countryside. Like many other American and British bands, they saw the financial upside of belting out rock anthems while perched atop recently dismantled Soviet monuments to slightly shell-shocked crowds of prospective patrons as they emerged from drab Cold War hovels and embraced their glorious capitalist future. Or something like that. Wind of change indeed.

One problem - the band had no album to promote. And since MCA had dropped them in favor of pop-star du jour Tiffany they also had no studio sponsorship and no advance money to cover the cost of producing an album, not to mention no one to write the songs. Ehart considered framing the upcoming concerts as a European leg of the recently completed 'In the Spirit of Things' tour, but the legal drones at MCA made it clear the band would spend the winter in court rather than on the road if they tried to abscond with the label's copyrighted property.

Which is how the band Kansas came to add a Christmas album to their discography.

On the surface this project made no sense. Before the 1990s few if any progressive rock (or even hard rock) bands had ever released a Christmas record; in fact, even today holiday records are mostly cranked out by country singers, evangelists or washed-up actors. The most notable prog rock example is Jethro Tull's 2003 Christmas album, and Ian Anderson has often and openly credited Kansas for inspiring him to add a holiday record to his own band's collection. Walsh was quoted several years after the recording saying he found the experience to be more spiritual and inspiring than 'any of that cross-hugging crap Kerry made us play in the 1980s', and in fact he has since gone on to appear on several upbeat, Christmas-themed records including the 2001 December People collection; a 2003 album titled 'Remember the One' recorded with children and a priest from Walsh's old primary school in St Joseph, Missouri; and of course 'Glossolalia'.

So the band needed a tour and one magically appeared, and now they needed an album. And one magically appeared. Once again Ehart pulled a rabbit out of an orifice and came up with the idea of wrapping a holiday theme around the upcoming shows, and given the tour would start just three weeks before Christmas, he figured that featuring the holiday prominently made perfect (albeit contrived) sense. Phil has said his inspiration (and several of the song tracks) came from a drunken all-nighter the band pulled during the early studio sessions for 'Vinyl Confessions' back in 1981. At that point Walsh hadn't walked out on the band and been replaced by John Elefante yet, but as the holidays approached their time in the studio was becoming more fractious and correspondingly less productive. Queen's drummer Roger Taylor, who was guest musician for the sessions but found himself acting increasingly as referee between the holy (Livgren, Hope) and hell-raiser (Walsh, Williams) factions of the band, recounted to them how he and Freddie Mercury eased tensions of their own during the final Trident sessions for Queen's first studio album back in 1972. Queen had also been recording late in the year with holidays approaching, and like Kansas the sessions were strained. In Queen's case this was due to the band being forced to re-record several tracks they had previously laid down at De Lane Lea studio earlier in the year but which producer Roy Thomas Baker had refused to mix. The band was being squeezed into downtime slots at the studio to save money and nerves were wearing thin. Taylor brought them together one evening with a case of Nyetimber Cuvee and a collection of classic Christmas tunes. The results were several spectacular hangovers along with the legendary (and never released) Queen Christmas recordings now known as the 'lost Trident Nativity Scene'.

In Kansas' case Taylor had his work cut out for him given half the band's members were teetotalers, but he somehow got them to agree to a late weekend session and managed to keep them happy with a combination of non-alcoholic spritzers and a couple of cases of Grolsch's stout lager (along with Walsh's frequent trips to the restroom to do lines off the back of a toilet seat). The reward was a stellar rendition of 'Magnum Opus' as well as a rather silly but charming version of 'Dust in the Wind'.

'Magnum Opus' turned out to be a great choice given the lengthy instrumental parts of that song, which meant the band had to change only a few lyrics to make it work as a Christmas medley, and the slightly cynical nature of those words were perfectly explainable given the amount of alcohol consumed that evening:

'Yuletide again, and the snow it falls, The frost dances light in the air; Under the tree in the room, those presents are all for you, And no, you don't have to share. But once this night is over, I'll be paying off the bills 'til June.'

The 'Dust' version features bells and glass harp in place of strings. Most people don't know this but the original 'Dust in the Wind' included a viola score along with violin (Steinhardt played both), so this version with bells playing the supporting viola role comes off as a faithful reworking of the well-known tune but with an added touch of more range and a flourish to the melody.

I read somewhere that Walsh actually recorded vocals for 'Miracles out of 42nd Street' and if that's true those would be very cool to listen to today. Unfortunately the band didn't keep the vocal tracks from the recording, or maybe they decided the 'substituted' lyrics were either too racy or too rough to include in this release. So we're left with an instrumental that is basically 'Miracles out of Nowhere' but with several bridges that splice in snippets of 'Winter Wonderland' and 'Frosty the Snowman'. The whole thing works mostly because of the song's placement, coming just before 'Magnum Opus Redeux' which itself has numerous abrupt tempo and mood changes. So this portion of the record ends up sounding a bit like a Kansas retrospective medley but with the occasional off-key note and more tinny percussion than what appears on most Kansas albums. Near the end of the song there's a faint spoken vocal in the right speaker that the post-production people seem to have overlooked. I'm not exactly sure who is talking but it sounds like Rich Williams, and the only words you can make out are 'on your mother's slack- jawed face' so I'm guessing there's a missing punchline there as well.

The first of two hidden tracks follows 'Gnome Attack' and is preceded by about 4.5 minutes of dead space. The first few times I listened to the record I thought the space was just tape hiss, but if you crank it up on a decent pair of speakers you'll realize the sound is an almost uninterrupted stream of pissing into a porcelain toilet. I'm not sure if this was looped or if the band members just left a microphone in the bathroom and spliced together all the evening's urination opportunities to come up with this impressive stretch of tape. Either way it's an interesting touch that I'm guessing was lost on most listeners.

The first hidden track is kind of lame, nothing more than a bland version of "Pact with Lucifer" from Coven's 1969 debut album (the one-hit wonder whose claim to fame was the melancholic 'One Tin Soldier'), admittedly and probably intentionally a strange choice for a Christmas album. The song was actually recorded as a rehearsal piece during a preparation session for the band's 1979 'Audio-Visions' tour, making it one of the few tracks on the album that includes Robbie Steinhardt and features violin. Rather than backward-masking (a technique Tipper Gore incorrectly thought was widespread at the time), the band recorded the song as-is and then had the grooves on the vinyl album cut backwards so it could only be played 'normally' by back-spinning the record. Their rather elaborate effort is completely lost on the CD version, where listeners can hear an accurate and mostly boring version of the song with Steinhardt providing vocals.

Since we're discussing hidden tracks, the second and final one appears at the very end of the album/CD. This one is also preceded by a couple minutes of silence but in this case the space seems to actually be silence and not some urologic event. This time the band delivered something truly special, and in doing so started an urban legend that made its way to the internet and will probably live on forever. This is a complete and very tight studio cover of Gary Wright's 'Dream Weaver', the version rumored to exist since shortly after Wright recorded it back in 1975. I've never found anything in writing that explains when or where Kansas recorded this song (or why they never released it), but turns out it does very much exist. Wright of course came up as a member of Spooky Tooth, and the two bands appeared together several times in concert during the Tooth's (Teeth's?) 1973 tour supporting their 'You Broke my Heart, so I Busted your Jaw' album, so the Kansas band members all knew Wright and presumably followed his music. Who knows why they made the recording, but it turned out great and makes for a nice bonus on this album.

The reason this record is considered a studio album and not a compilation is largely thanks to the second half songs. While the first three tunes (and both hidden tracks) were dredged out of a vault somewhere, Phil Ehart did manage to book some studio time for the band to record a few new tracks to include on their European Christmas album. The group laid most of the tracks down at the Rainbow Recording Studio in Omaha Nebraska, a small and mostly urban music studio but one that was available cheap and on short notice. Local sound engineer Ricardo Cabeza assisted in production. Interestingly enough, Cabeza once worked as a roadie for the band during their early touring days and was present at the club known as 'A Warehouse' (New Orleans) in December 1970 when Kansas appeared on stage with the Doors for their disastrous final concert with Jim Morrison before his death. The concert is mentioned in the liner notes of the 'Ultimate Kansas' boxed-set released by Legacy in 1994.

Back to the story at hand. Ehart used the studio's name to come up with a fictitious label ('Rainbow Records') and catalog number (RSCD-1369), but in reality the album was underwritten by MCA as a modest parting gift when they dropped the band from the label. This is also why the copyright notice is dated 1989, when the record was actually put out in 1990. The backdated release date allowed the label to take a tax write-off on the studio expense since they could claim the band was still employed by MCA at the time.

The first of the new tracks is, along with 'Dream Weaver', a cover tune. 'Holy Sh!t, it's Christmas' is the brainchild of comedian Red Peters. Peters first released the song on his studio album 'I Laughed, I Cried, I Fudged my Undies' in 1994, but it dates back to the 1970s when Peters was known as Matt Maverick and appeared extensively as a regional opening act for many touring bands including Badfinger, Spirit and Kansas. Frank Zappa once called him 'the best musical comedian in the world'. This is a light song, obviously meant to be humorous and was probably included so the band would have something they could play as a closing number for smaller venues during the tour.

Despite the similar title 'Silver Bells (and Golden Needles)' has no relation to the Jack Rhodes/Linda Ronstadt country standard 'Silver Threads (and Golden Needles)'. Rather, it's a simple version of the pop standard 'Silver Bells' made famous by Bob Hope in the 1950s, but in this case the band managed to convince Steinhardt to provide cello accompaniment to the song. I'm not sure if he actually appeared in the studio or mailed it in, but this is a very nice touch to what would otherwise have been a fairly pedestrian rendition of the classic. This is also one of the few tunes the original Kansas ever recorded where Walsh or Steinhardt did not provide vocals. The singer is Livgren, marking the first time since 'Point of Know Return' that he adds vocals to a Kansas tune, and the first time since his 1980 solo album 'Seeds of Change' that he is the featured singer.

'Mysteries and Marzipan' is of course a version of the 'Masque' song 'Mysteries and Mayhem'. This is the version I always thought the band should have made for a live album, as it features black gospel backing vocals from the late Reverend James Cleveland's Southern California Community Choir, a group introduced to the band just two years before when they appeared on 'In the Spirit of Things'. This version also features Rich Williams on banjo and Walsh playing a Farfisa organ, both of which combine to provide a primitively festive, almost Appalachian folk vibe to the song. The original has always been overlooked on the 'Masque' album but I count myself among those fans that believe this song was never arranged right when it was first recorded, and that it has at its core a gospel soul. The version on this album lets that soul shine brightly.

And except for the second hidden track, the album closes with 'Nobody's Home (this year for Christmas)', a feel- good a cappella reworking of the Bing Crosby wartime Christmas classic 'I'll be Home for Christmas' that manages to add in the string solo from 'Nobody's Home' off the 'Point of Know Return' album. As far as I know this is the only time you'll ever hear all five members of Kansas singing a capella (yes, Steinhardt shows up here too), although I'm pretty sure all of them sang on the original 'Magnum Opus' and also on 'Whiskey Seed' from Livgren's first solo album. The combination of somber yet hopeful lyrics and the mournful strings from 'Nobody's Home' make for a really emotional end to the album. The group definitely outdid themselves on this one.

I'm not sure how many of these records the band managed to sell at their merch tables during the 1990 European tour (and I believe that tour ended up extending into Japan and the Philippines in early 1991 as well). It was never distributed in North or South America despite being printed and released in New York City, so copies are all but nonexistent outside of Western Europe today. The vinyl version was only released as a promo, and there are a few copies of that floating around the U.S. and Canada, though most are probably in private collections. 'Holy Sh!t, it's Christmas' was released on a white vinyl 12 inch picture disc, and I have a mint copy of that in my man cave to this day.

If you ever run across a copy in decent condition, snatch this one up and hang onto it. Little pieces of music history like this don't come along every day, and given Kansas are in the twilight of their career, this is probably your last chance to own something like this from them.

If I had to rate this solely on the music I'd give it two stars since the record is almost the definition of 'for collectors only', but given the history and the fact reviewers are free to give any rating they want regardless of actual merit, I'm going to go with four stars. I won't give this a strong recommendation based on the quality of the songs, but will say you should add this to your collection if you are ever flipping through stacks in a dusty old record store in some seedy little out-of-the-way European burg, or at least as long as some of those places still exist.

peace

 Power by KANSAS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1987
3.13 | 5 ratings

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Power
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars From their "Power" (1986) album the record label (and maybe the band too) selected the title song of the album to be released in the Side "A" of this single. And it was a good choice, because it is a good song too. It was written by Steve Walsh, Steve Morse with an external songwriter (Randy Goodrum, who also was going to work as an external songwriter with JOURNEY, STEVE PERRY and others). It sounds a bit related to the "old" style of the band in the seventies, but without being very Progressive. Anyway, the song has some good arrangements. It is one of the best songs from the album and in fact it was played a lot in some FM Radio stations in my city. It also was a minor HIt Single in the U.S. for the band.

"Tomb 19", in the Side "B", is also a good song, also related to the more Progressive Rock musical style of the band in the seventies. It also was written by Morse and Walsh. An energetic song with good guitars by Morse and Rich Williams.

 All I Wanted by KANSAS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1986
2.29 | 5 ratings

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All I Wanted
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

2 stars In 1986 KANSAS makes more music for the Pop Rock / Power Ballad / Corporate Rock musical industry of the eighties, like they did with their "Drastic Measures" (1983) album, after which Kerry Livgren and Dave Hope left the band. But their "Power" (1986) album, their first after their reunion in 1985 (without Livgren, Hope, John Elefante, and Robby Steinhardt, but with Steve Walsh rejoining the band) still has some good songs. Unfortunately, but obviously, their new record label selected the most commercial song and not one of the best of the album to be released in the Side "A " of this single.

"All I Wanted" is a song written by Walsh with then new KANSAS's guitarist Steve Morse. A "sugar ballad" with some good lead guitar parts (which makes it an almost "power ballad") which is somewhat "out of style" for the band. It sounds like it was written "on order" from their new record label to have an eighties's style Hit Single. And they were right : it was a Hit Single in the U.S. With very eighties's keyboard sounds. Not as bad as their "Stand Beside Me" single from 1988. At least, "All I Wanted" was composed by some members of the band. "All I Wanted" also has a very eighties 's "sugar" video which can be watched to in youtube.

"We're Not Alone Anymore" is another song composed by Walsh and Morse. More heavy, almost Progressive, with very good guitars by Morse and Rich Williams, and very good drums by Phil Ehart. It is one of the best songs from their "Power" album.

 Stand Beside Me by KANSAS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1988
1.46 | 5 ratings

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Stand Beside Me
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

1 stars Maybe this single is KANSAS's worst single ever. Taken from their "In the Spirit of Things" (988) album, it really shows Corporate Rock's influences over the musical careers of some bands during the eighties. But at least other bands were allowed to record their own songs in their albums, But by 1988 KANSAS was recording several songs which were not composed by the members of the band, to please the record label.

"Stand Beside Me" is a very commercial and mellow Pop Rock song, full of the eighties's very characteristic "plastic" production ingredients (electronic drums, reverberation, etc.). The band even made a video for this song, with the band in very eighites's looks. It is not really difficult to think why the band didn't record another album for that record label (MCA). This song really sounds like a STARSHIP's song, with the KANSAS band name being only used as a vague reference, but nothing more. Despite this, the song reached the Number 13 (!) in the Hit Parade charts of the U.S.

"House on Fire", composed by some members of the band, is a much better song in comparison. A Hard Rock song with good guitars. It really sounds to me as more related to the KANSAS's sound that the "A" Side of this single.

 King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Kansas (1989) by KANSAS album cover Live, 1998
2.61 | 37 ratings

BUY
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Kansas (1989)
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars KANSAS was another Prog Rock band which could not escape in the eighties from the record companies's pressures to change their musical style to update it for the "new sounds of the new decade". And they had to change it a bit, with them recording two albums for MCA ("Power", from 1986, and the disappointing "In the Spirit of Things", from 1988, which also included several songs not composed by the members of the band). This live album, recorded for the "King Biscuit Flower Hour" radio programme, was recorded in February 1989 during the tour they did for their "In the Spirit of Things" album.

Despite some people don't like this album very much, I can say that it has a very good recording and mixing. They included four songs from their "In the Spirit of Things" album ("One Big Sky", "T.O. Witcher", "The Preacher" and " House on Fire" , with "T.O. Witcher being a good brief acoustic guitar solo piece by Steve Morse) and one from their "Power" album (the very mellow power ballad "All I Wanted"). "One Big Sky" sounds like a very eighties Hard Rock song, but it is not bad. "The Preacher" sounds like a Hard Rock Gospel influenced song which in the studio version included a Gospel choir (and maybe it is the best from their 1988 album), and "House on Fire" is an extended Hard Rock song with lead guitars. The rest of the songs are old songs from the seventies played with new arrangements and new keyboard sounds by Greg Robert, plus energetic guitars by Steve Morse and Rich Williams, with Morse replacing some of the violin parts playing good guitar parts and with sounds (maybe done with pedal effects or even with a guitar synth ) which sometimes sound like a violin (particularly in "Miracles Out of Nowhere" and "Dust in the Wind"). Some people mention that Morse really played a violin, but I really don't know. Or maybe Robert played some of those violin sounds with his keyboards. Steve Walsh's vocals soond very well in this album in comparison to the "Live at the Whisky" album from 1992. Phil Ehart plays energetic drums, and Billy Greer sings very good backing vocals. So, the band really sounds very well, maybe a bit similar to the eighties line-ups of GENESIS and YES playing in concert, with new personnel, instruments and sounds. Maybe the very eighties's sound didn't help them very much then, but they still were playing very well in concert, in my opinion.

A good live album which was re-issued several times under different titles and by different record labels.

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

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