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Kansas Kansas album cover
4.01 | 718 ratings | 50 reviews | 25% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Can I Tell You (3:31)
2. Bringing It Back (3:33)
3. Lonely Wind (4:15)
4. Belexes (4:22)
5. Journey From Mariabronn (7:55)
6. The Pilgrimage (3:42)
7. Apercu (9:43)
8. Death Of Mother Nature Suite (7:43)

Total Time: 44:44

Bonus track on 2004 EPIC remaster:
9. Bringing It Back (Live *) (9:41)

* Recorded at the Agora Ballroom, Cleveland, Ohio, 1975.

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Walsh / lead (1,3-7) & harmony vocals, organ, piano, congas
- Rich Williams / electric & acoustic guitars
- Kerry Livgren / lead & rhythm guitar, piano, organ, Moog, backing vocals
- Robbie Steinhardt / violin, lead (1,2,7,8) & harmony vocals
- Dave Hope / bass, backing vocals
- Phil Ehart / drums

- Jay Siegel / vocals (3)

Releases information

Artwork: "John Brown" painting by John Steuart Curry with Ed Lee (design)

LP Kirshner ‎- KZ 32817 (1974, US)

CD Epic ‎- 982733 2 (1992, UK)
CD Epic ‎- EK 92577 (2004, US) Remaster by Joseph M. Palmaccio w/ bonus track previously unreleased

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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KANSAS Kansas ratings distribution

(718 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(52%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

KANSAS Kansas reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Another goodie from the Mid-western Prairies States of North America (I'm re-writing this review after the Pavlov's Dog debut review). Out of the ashes of Proto-Kaw (the bison or buffalo) came this sextet from one of the most rural state, to the point that they chose to name their combo after it. I always wondered how six youngsters managed to listen, compose and run such a band in the middle of this cultural (corn and country music are agriculture) desert that are the Prairie States. I mean these guys were probably ridiculed in high school for their musical tastes and long hair, yet they still managed not only to create a band (this means finding enough of themselves in that Corny State ;o))), keeping at it long enough torecord album and actually make it big. And if you don't believe me, look at the back cover (behind that outrageous Civil War painting) and check to see how only the length of their hairs stopped them to be loathsome country-loving rednecks.

Right from the opening track, Kansas belts out a classic track of theirs, probably the archetype of Kansas track (which is a tad weird since it is neither Walsh or Livgren, but the heart of the band: Hope, Ehart & Williams), with a sense of urgency and a a love of UK-like prog: Can I tell You sounds like a cross between Yes, Deep Purple and Caravan (circa For Girls). Kansas knew how to adapt covers and JJ Cale's Bringing It Back is nowhere near the original, and that's rather good, since it keeps the same urgency, even in the slower moments. Both these tracks are violin-dominated, and if Lonely Wind starts out on a violin, it turns out to be a piano ballad, courtesy of Walsh, but it's not one of his better compositions. The following Livgren-penned Belexes is the prototype of what to expect on Leftoverture and everyone gets a chance to shine, especially on the dramatic end. To close the A-side, the group's first mini-epic track, Journey Of Mariabronn is a solid collab between Livgren and Walsh, starting like a Yes track with a violin and plenty of tempo change and instrumental interplay

Opening the flipside is Pilgrimage, plagued by Steinhardt's almost-country-like fiddle The next two tracks are what makes the difference in the album. Indeed the almost-10mins Aperçu (that's "Insight" for the French ;-))) is a pure joy for those liking heroics in their music, without verging on the embarrassing clichés. Plenty of instrumental interplay with not too much singing and constant tempo changes. The closing Death Of Mother Nature Suite is not aptly named since it is not a suite (per se), but it's got everything its preceding track has.

Well, the group's debut album remains my fave, despite not being their better effort in terms of progfessionalism (no typo ;o))), but this is the group at its rawest and most urgent, and if you want to catch the essence of the ghroup, there is no place better than on this debut.

Review by lor68
4 stars Surprising debut album, which contains some of the most progressive efforts by KANSAS, even though usually they are more connected to the typical hard rock/FM sound of such US tradition. Instead "Apercu", "Journey from Mariabronn" and the stunning crescendo, within the final section of "Death of Mother Nature Suite", are alone well worth checking out and regarded as "prog-gems".
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Kansas' very American progressive rock style thoroughly starts on this very first album. They are six musicians who play very loaded & complex music here. The omnipresent violins take about as much room as the electric guitars. The band relies very much on backing vocals a la Styx, and this contributes to give them a very American style. They can be quite American hard rock, as reveal the common electric guitar parts: their hard rock parts sound a bit like the bands Styx and Shooting Star . There is an omnipresent rhythmic piano a bit a la Kayak. There is also an omnipresent conventional rhythmic organ. Kansas' trademark however consists in complex & synchronized progressive parts where violin takes a major place: those bits are absolutely loaded, fast and VERY structured; they seem to be built around a very melodic bass; they are numerous here, for instance on "Journey from Mariabronn", "Can I tell You", "Bringing", "Belexes" and "Apercu". "Apercu" is particularly impressive, very rhythm changing, catchy and complex. This record is among their best ones.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Review by richardh
4 stars Kansas in their early days made a serious claim to be the 'American Genesis'.This their first album is genuine prog rock and features some well crafted songs.The highpoint of this album (and their career for that matter) is the song 'Death Of Mother Nature Suite',which it's passionate message about the environment.Overall an excellent album.
Review by Proghead
4 stars Here it is, the debut album from one of America's premiere prog rock bands. No big overplayed FM hits like "Carry On Wayward Son" or "Dust in the Wind" here. KANSAS had much more going against them than their European counterparts. The European bands had a lot less problems playing their music in different night clubs, simply because there were no shortages of nightclubs that catered to the music these bands wanted to play. London, for example were full of these clubs (the UFO, the Middle Earth, the Marquee, etc.).

Unfortunately the Midwestern United States was a different story. KANSAS had to perform in redneck bars and clubs where southern rock, country and western, blues, and boogie were the musical mainstays of such places. And better yet, bands were more expected to play the hits (be it rock or country), and if it was an original, then stick to the southern rock or country formula. And while KANSAS often stuck to playing bar band rock that would go over well with the rednecks, it's when they started playing YES and ELP-influenced prog rock that really went over the heads of the rednecks and lets just say the bar band scene wasn't exactly what you call forgiving. That area of the country tended to be conservative (both politically and socially, meaning you could hardly mistake the place for LA, New York or San Francisco), so having a band like KANSAS playing YES and ELP-influenced music in their local bar was a big shock (I understood they got booed). But they continued on and eventually Don Kirschner (who previously made imaginary and made up bands like the MONKEES and the ARCHIES possible, not exactly a guy you could take seriously because of that) signed the band to his label. Finally a real band on the Kirschner label that wasn't going to be sold to a bunch of 12 year olds.

The album boasts how the band had around 50 years of combined musical experience in the most unmusical environment imaginable (which you can bet was the redneck bar scene). And now the band could perform in stadiums and arenas who would have a much more appreciative audience than the rednecks who wanted country and western or southern rock in the old bars KANSAS used to play in. Well, the debut by KANSAS does seem a bit more rough and unpolished than the albums that would come, but the KANSAS trademark of merging bar band rock with prog was already intact. Side one of the LP mainly consist of shorter songs like "Can I Tell You" and a cover of J.J. Cale's "Bringing it all Back". The latter obviously was referring to getting some marijuana from Mexico while being busted. Steve Walsh's ballad "Lonely Wind" was the closest thing to a hit. This was one of the songs I'm pretty sure didn't offend the rednecks when they were performing in bars. The song was released as a single, but didn't chart (don't know why), I guess the time wasn't right. "Belexes" is another short rocker, but Kerry Livgren gave us a bunch of organ solos that were obviously prog. Then the prog epics start in with "Journey to Mariabronn". I remembered being a bit bewildered by this piece, as it is a rather complex piece going through many different movements. "The Pilgramage" is another short piece that more sticks to the bar band roots before "Aperçu" and "Death of Mother Nature Suite" goes back to prog epic mode. I remembered when I first heard this album not liking it all that much. I guess it sounded a bit too "American" for my liking, but then after many listens it really grew on me. I saw where the band was coming at. If you're already familiar with their two best known and best selling albums, "Leftoverture" and "Point of Know Return", do get the albums they released prior, including this one.

My rating: 4 1/2 stars

Review by Garion81
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The remastered version just released on Sony really brings out the flavor of this CD. Where before the sounds tended to be muddy and the bass nowhere to be found the remaster brings out all of this to life. I f you liked the first album or if you have never heard it I urge you to get the remastered version. It is a breath of fresh air.

This album has some many facets to it form the straight ahead rockers of Can I Tell You and Bringin it Back (JJ Cale) to the prog rock anthems Journey to Mariabronn, Apercu and Death Of Mother Nature suite. A great way to start a run that would go over the next 4 albums (some say 5) in just three short years. This is a good opening statement by Kansas.

Review by Muzikman
4 stars I remember watching Don Kirshner's Rock Concert in the early 70's and seeing a band called KANSAS playing a song I loved; it was "Can I Tell You." I recall that night as if it was yesterday. They were different, unlike anything I had ever heard before, although I did not truly discover the power of Kansas until their fourth album Leftoverture. What a mistake it was for me to wait and pass on KANSAS and ''Song For America''. Thanks to the incredibly successful remasters market I get second chances all the time, and this is one of those sweet returns to the past.

KANSAS was playing bars in their home state looking for a break before Don Kirschner gave them a shot at stardom. The famous music man that made the MONKEES a household name could see the potential in their marketability beyond the borders of one state, particularly with lead off track on their soon to be debut album "Can I Tell You." He was right. Although their entrance into the music buying public's consciousness happened over a few years, the ultimate commercial success came with the smash "Carry On My Wayward Son" from ''Leftoverture'', yet these two albums served as the cornerstones of a long and successful career. While "Can I Tell You" was full of violin and driving keyboards unfound on the top 40 charts, it was a viable radio ready tune set for cross over success; however, that was the only song on the album with that potential. Two songs that clocked in over seven minutes, "Journey From Mariabronn" and "Death Of Mother Nature Suite," which are now considered prog-rock classics and a part of the KANSAS signature sound, would clearly define them as progressive rockers.

KANSAS sounds as vital and fresh today with these newly remastered discs as they did 30 years ago, and not just because of the great sound, because they were original and there was no other band recording music like them. There is a luster and clarity that is hard to ignore with these time tested recordings. Notably, the voice of Steve Walsh is absolutely soaring. KANSAS was an excellent debut, although I think ''Song For America'' served as their calling card, whether it was recognized as such or not at the time-it is indeed a landmark release for the band that would set the table for further triumphs. They were a step ahead of the rest with the artwork presented on their album covers as well. How could you not notice the eye-catching artwork on these two albums? Their music would follow suit and keep listeners' attention.

What was being explored on the first album would reach its fruition on the second release with marathon runs like "Song for America" (10:01) and "Incomudro-Hymn To The Atman" (12:13). For some listeners with more mainstream tastes, the intricate song structures and odd time signatures were too complicated and excessive, thus the move towards a more commercial sound for the imminent across the board breakthrough success they would soon enjoy was unavoidable. They managed to keep their values and musical foundation intact regardless of the changes that they would go through, and I really admire them for that. I find these albums to be the archetypal progressive rock music with brilliantly executed musicianship. The tremendous vitality and the risqué attitude of this band made them what they were, and that is the very reason they continue to gain more attention with the passing of time.

There are the bonus tracks, one on ''Kansas'' and two on ''Song For America. They are nothing unusual; in fact, the edited version of "Song For America" is noticeably out of sync in a few spots. That one song is the only flaw I could hear, all the rest is pure prog-rock magic. With this remastered and repackaging treatment of their catalog, new fans will discover them and the old guard will be delighted. I am certainly excited and pleased with the results that Sony/Legacy and the band have produced on these titles and I look forward to more (there will be).

Rating: 4.5/5

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Perhaps because the band had the temerity to score hit singles off its best albums, Kansas have always been underrated in prog circles. I think the sextet made some terrific music, particularly on its first five albums. This debut album too doesn't get the recognition of later albums, but most who've heard it will recognise it as a highly impressive debut.

In fact I think the opening salvo of Can I Tell You throws down the gauntlet for much of what was to come over the next few years for this great band. It has double lead vocals, prominent violin and organ and some short potent guitar solos. Along with the driving Belexes, an energetic Spanish influenced work featuring great Walsh vocals and excellent organ runs by Livgren, it is my favourite of the five shorter pieces on this album.

The other three (ahem) short cuts aren't bad pieces but they don't rank as bona fide Kansas classics. The J.J. Cale cover Bringing It Back reveals Kansas' beginnings as a boogie-woogie bar band, and yet has one of my favourite Robbie Steinhardt solos ever. Lonely Wind is a first early hint that members of Kansas would one day hit the Christian music trail, but again great violin lines and lovely chorus save it from being as cheesy as most other efforts in this style (Ironically it was penned by Steve Walsh, not Kerry Livgren who famously made the transition to Christian music). The bouncy The Pilgrimage has too much of an Americana vibe for my taste yet I do like the solos, especially (yes, you guessed it!) Steinhardt's. In fact, I do feel Steinhardt does some of the best playing in his career on this first Kansas album.

The highlights of this album are still the three lengthy prog epics ... Journey From Mariabronn, Apercu and Death Of Mother Nature Suite. Journey From Mariabronn is a sweeping tune that rarely stays in the same segment for long. Organ, piano and biting lead guitar keep the song going while Steve Walsh's almost hysterical voice often takes the tune to the edge of a precipice. There then follows a lively interlude in which Robbie Steinhardt's violin takes centre stage before Kerry Livgren's Moog synth joins him. It all builds up to lovely, quintessentially proggy outro.

Apercu is a big disjointed but has so many bits of stunning playing from the soloists that I don't know where to start (the rhythm section also deserve a mention for staying so tight throughout). There are some mellow bits and a heavy rock outro to boot. That outro leads into the absolutely beautiful Death Of Mother Nature Suite, a half-angry, half sorrowful masterpiece from Kerry Livgren. One of the earliest songs (certainly in prog) to show any sort of environmental awareness, it also moves dramatically from section to section and features masterly violin and organ solos. Thematically this piece seems to foreshadow future Kansas classics Song For America and Cheyenne Anthem, and one could argue that Kansas made its boldest statement on this first album, and spent the next few albums refining the formula.

The three epics alone make this album worthy of any prog fans collection, but I happen to think the whole album is one of Kansas' most consistent. I find it difficult to respect those who criticise Kansas as lightweight without investigating albums like this. ... 79% on the MPV scale

Review by kunangkunangku
4 stars Having released this debut album in 1974, Kansas put themselves under spotlight because of the music they dared play, which was so difference from their peers in America at the time. Not just incorporated the members' proficiency in playing their instruments, with which they infused a lot of melodies wandering and time signatures changing, they also gave an important leading role to... a violin.

To be honest, this is an ambitious effort. Not bad, because there are great songs and superb performances. Try to at least listen carefully to "Bringing It Back", "Journey from Mariabronn" and "Death of Mother Nature", which are flow fluidly with dense organ, piano and guitar playing. There is also a uniqueness: as progressive as it may seem, the band nevertheless still rely on arena rock flavor.

However, the more you listen to it, the more you will be able to feel a disturbing problem, that it has a lack of focus. It's as if the band launch a shooting foray without seriously taking aim at their target.

Accordingly, suffice it to say this is a great start for a long journey which is proven to be even better later on.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Topikal?

Kansas rightly have many fans around the world, including a good number on this site. While I have investigated many of their albums in search of their true Magnum Opus and enjoy some of their music, I find that overall Kansas are significant underachievers.

This, Kansas' self titled debut album, is a rather eclectic mixture of pretty straightforward short rock tracks, and a three longer more progressive pieces. The short tracks cut across a number of styles, including the jazz rock of Chicago ("Can I tell you"), the heavy organ driven rock of Uriah Heep ("Belexes"), a soft melodic rock ballad ("Lonely wind"), and country rock ("The pilgrimage").

The longer tracks certainly have prog structures, with instrumental variation, time changes etc. "Apercu" starts off sounding like Yes ("Starship trooper") before a dominant violin takes over, the track becoming rather dull and tedious during its rambling 10 minutes or so. The heavy guitar and organ on "Death of mother nature suite" once again have a Uriah Heep feel, but for my money in an inferior way.

I find the vocal style of Kansas irritating at times. There is a tendency to adopt multiple lead vocals, with each vocalist singing the lead refrain, rather than one singing backing harmony. This is particularly noticeable on "Can I tell you" and "The pilgrimage". The vocal sound is better when a single lead vocal is adopted, such as on "Lonely wind".

"Kansas" is clearly an album by a band seeking their own direction. As a result it tends to fall between too many stools, promising moments being intermixed with dull and laborious passages. A decent first album though.

Review by ClemofNazareth
4 stars Kansas’ debut album was ‘the little album that could’, in many ways. An interesting piece of trivia: this album was certified gold by ASCAP (500,000 copies sold) – in 1995, twenty-one years after its release! I think at its original release it sold something like 100,000 copies. That statistic is a testament to the enduring popularity of this band, and another example of how ahead of their time they were in 1974.

“Can I Tell You” kicks off this album with a bang. It’s a good introduction to the band. Steinhardt’s violin flat out screams, and both Kerry Livgren and Rich Williams crank out some tasty guitar licks that should have been beyond their capabilities at the time, considering their age and levels of experience. There are many different version of this one floating around. If you ever get a chance to listen to the original demo version that appears on the 1994 boxed-set, compare that to this one and you’ll see the progression of the band’s talent in just the couple of years between when the demo was cut and this album’s release. The sound is much tighter, Steinhardt seems to have found his confidence, and the tempo is considerably more aggressive.

“Bringing it Back” is a J.J. Cale about drug smuggling. This is a heavy blues-influenced rocking number, and is one of those songs that gave the band a reputation of being more like a biker band than a progressive one. It’s really a holdover from their days of hustling gigs at small beer joints around the midwest where most of the clientele preferred this style of music and had never heard of the likes of Peter Gabriel or Jon Anderson (and would have beaten the crap out of either one of them if they ever rand across them). The band still plays this one on tours today, and even all these years and albums later, this song still ranks as one of my favorite Steinhardt tunes for his enthusiastic vocals and torrid violin work..

Steve Walsh wrote “Lonely Wind”, a slow, almost ballad-like number with some acoustic guitar and lacking the meat-wall guitar of Rich Williams that fans would come to love later.

The next two songs are the ones that really introduced the Livgren art rock sound to America – “Belexes” and “Journey From Mariabronn”. These are both extended play songs, full of tempo changes, solo bits from just about every band member (including a short drum solo), and the first showcases of Steve Walsh’s incredible soaring vocals. The intricate keyboard work by both Walsh and Livgren are almost lost in the succeeding waves of sounds that wash over both of these songs. The confident patience Livgren shows in the sustains on his recurring guitar riffs on "Belexes" is simply brilliant, and far more mature than someone of his experience should have been capable of in 1974. I would buy this album again today just for these two songs. A different and not quite as good version of “Belexes” appeared on the first Proto-Kaw album in 2002.

The back side of the album features just three songs, but they run for almost 25 minutes. “The Pilgrimage” is one of the most forgotten Kansas songs ever, full of stark piano and dissonant chords, and the first song featuring the beautifully harmonized voices of Walsh and Steinhardt. Robbie’s violin work here is a bit more subdued, and the way he and Williams take turns carrying the rhythm between violin and electric guitar is really cool (can’t think of a more accurate way to describe it). This is one of the earthy nature songs that Livgren liked to write back then, and this sound would be heard thirty again thirty years later in the first release of Proto-Kaw (minus the vocals of Steinhardt and Walsh, of course). I can’t think of another Kansas song ever since that sounds quite like this one.

“Apercu” is another song that is kind of self-deprecating of the human race and its tendency to overlook the beauty of life. This one is heavy in violin as well, and was rarely played in concert in the band’s later years. This is one song I could see them resurrecting on tour with their current lineup with David Ragsdale.

The album winds its way to a close with the ambitious “Death of Mother Nature Suite”, an unabashed tree-hugging condemnation of man’s destruction of our environment through pollution, neglect, and just plain ignorance. I can’t imagine any band recording a song like this today, but in the early 70’s it didn’t really seem out of place.

Pretty much every progressive music fan today would probably recognize the distinctive painting of John Brown as the cover of Kansas’s first album, but I wonder how many casual fans have really taken the time to sit down and listen through the entire album a few times and experience the budding sound of what would become the premier progressive band on the American landscape for years to come.

When I listen to this album today I can’t help but feel a little sad, both for the relative innocence of those lost days, and for the wear that thirty years have brought to this once young and bright-eyed group of musicians. But on the other hand, it’s nice to know that I’ll always have these songs tucked away to enjoy from time-to-time, and I wonder how many more years will pass with new generations of progressive music fans growing up and discovering the joy of Kansas on their own. If you’ve never listened to a Kansas album, or even if your only knowledge of them is “Dust in the Wind” and “Carry on Wayward Son”, then treat yourself to 45 minutes of musical pleasure, and pick this one up. I can’t imagine that you’ll regret the experience.


Review by Australian
4 stars I have to admit that I was a bit apprehensive about the purchase of "Kansas", Kansas's debut album. I don't know why but I put off purchasing it after all the band's "classic" albums, I guess it just gave me a bad vibe. I remember biting the bullet one day a buying it on the strength that the last song on the album "Death of Mother Nature Suite" would be good. This song title really appealed to me and I'd heard reviews say that it was about the mistreatment of Mother Nature and her children. I have to say I was itching the whole way through the album, waiting to get to Death of Mother Nature Suite. Luckily, I was not disappointed with the song, it remains one of my very favourite Kansas songs and I believe it is one of the most overlooked peices in Kansas's output.

On that note the whole album seems to be unappreciated and the most overlooked album from Kansas. Personally I find it superior to many following Kansas albums and it ranks third in the list for best Kansas albums, behind 'Point of No Return' and 'Leftoverture'. "Kansas" is a more down to earth album, while still aspirating to greatness in my mind. Although no chart-topping hits emerged from the album, I believe it is essential to any Kansas fan. Robby Steinhardt has a much more noticeable prescene on "Kansas" and in some parts of the album his violin dominates as he was many solos throughout the album. The violin is best in "Apercu" which features great interplay between all members in the extended instrumental sections.

"Death of Mother Nature Suite" is the most meaningful song on "Kansas" in my opinion as it speaks of how we have basically choked the life out of the world. It addresses an issue which affects each and everyone each day and remains a looming doom. The line "and now she's going to die" carries great effect to the song. Other songs like "Lonely Wind", "Journey from Mariabronn" and "Apercu" go up as some of the band's very best. Other hints of Southern rock emerge here and there, particularly in "Bringing it Back" and "Can I Tell You."

1. Can I Tell You (3.5/5) 2. Bringing It Back (3/5) 3. Lonely Wind (4/5) 4. Belexes (3.5/5) 5. Journey from Mariabronn (4.5/5) 6. The Pilgrimage (4/5) 7. Apercu (4.5/5) 8. Death of Mother Nature Suite (5/5) Total = 32 divided by 8 (number of songs) = 4 = 4 stars Excellent addition to any prog music collection

The 30th Anniversary Remaster Edition of "Kansas" comes with a nine minute live version of "Bringing it Back" as well as better sound quality and all the other stuff you'd expect from a remaster. "Kansas" is a very good album and cements Kansas in my mind as one of the very best progressive bands around. I'd recommend Kansas to any fan of Dream Theater or Symphonic prog, Dream Theater have taken some very obvious influences from Kansas so take a look!

Review by NJprogfan
4 stars Fantastic debut album by one of the best prog bands that ever graced these American shores. The first song, "Can I Tell You" was thee song that got them their recording contract, a sort of southern boogie/jammy song with their unmistakable signature sound; upfront violin and vocal harmonization. More of the same with the following song, "Bring It Back" which has an even stronger southern boogie sound ala Robbie's violin picking and his rough and tumble voice. "Lonely Wind" is their first ballad and is beautifully sung by Walsh. After getting those three songs out of the way, what follows are some out-and-out classic symph prog songs that need to be heard. "Belexes" is a rocking fast-paced song, a hold over from the pre-Kansas Proto-Kaw days. A classic! "Journey From Mariabronn" starts out with killer keys and great playing all-around, another stunning prog song by the band. "The Pilgrimmage" slows down things a bit with a tinge of Jazz mixed in their brand of rock. What comes next is their biggest one-two punch, "Apercu" and "Death Of Mother Nature Suite" are two different songs, but are not broken up ala "Mysteries And Mayhem" and "The Pinnacle" were on the MASQUE album. "Apercu" has more tempo shifts and mood changes than most bands can fit in a 20 minute song, it's magnificent! Livgren and Walsh do not get the respect that other keyboard players get because of the nature of this band, but they should. One just needs to listen to this song to hear how good they really are. The album culminates with the dramatic last song which has my favorite ending of any other Kansas song. It's very much in the Genesis mode of power and majesty, and man!, those synths playing just under the acoustic and electric guitars...pure heaven! Now that the album has been re-mastered, it's a no-brainer to pick this album up if you have any interest in hearing this band. It's a bonifide classic and a must have. 4.5 stars bumped down to four for the boogie songs that just don't fit, but hey, that's Kansas like it or not. And I definately do!
Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars What an interesting band from the US.

I discovered them with their second release in 1975. In those days, this band was absolutely unknown in Europe. IMO, their early production is the best one (it is the one I prefer if you wish). Due to the use of violins, Kansas sounded quite different from other US counterparts. They originated from Topeka, capital city of the state of ... Kansas. Livgren together with Hope and Ehart were already playing in a band called ... Kansas as soon as 1970. Lots of line-up changes will lead to the Kansas we know for this debut album (referred to as Mark III, already).

"Can I Tell You" and "Bringing It Back" (to Mexico) are good tracks : rocky, strong rythm section and good violin to support the whole. Original and inventive. One of their trademark will be to release of very nice rock ballads, which will definitely make them different. "Lonely Wind" belongs to this genre. Melancholic, catchy, featuring an emotional and light violin section. Nice and gentle piece of music. This might be considered as an ancestor for "Dust In The Wind".

"Belexes" is a solid hard-rock track. It reminds me the riff of "Wring That Neck" from Purple. Very much organ-oriented. The bass is also very present. The high vocals remind me those of Geddy Lee from Rush. Although not essential, it is not too bad a number.

"Journey from Mariabronn" is one of the long track of the album and also one the most elaborate : good instrumental intro (keys, violin), melodious vocals to follow, a good guitar solo and a grandiose finale : this format will be repeaeted quite a lot for the years to come. An absolute highlight and a Kansas masterpiece and the best number featured on this album.

"Pilmgrimage" sounds psyche during the intro. It turns into a country-rock song wich is not my cup of tea. The poorest number so far.

"Apercu" almost reach ten minutes. The vocal intro is very nice, the violin moments, very melodious. The song builds crescendo and turns into a rageous musical moment. The fnale is really wonderful. It is another highlight of the album.

The third lenghty track "Death of Mother Nature Suite"(just below eight minutes) closes the album brilliantly. This song is at times very much hard-rock oriented. But the mix with the subtle violin is so incredible than one can only be amazed with such achievement. This album will enter the top 200 of the US charts, reaching Nr. 174.

This first Kansas album is really good and is already representative of what they will produce during their most creative part of their carreer (till 1977). Its innovative sound is rather impressive for a debut album. Grandiose. Four stars.

Review by Flucktrot
4 stars I think this album is one of the most underrated pieces on this site. Even though this is their first album, Kansas reveal themselves as great individual musicians, an EXTREMELY tight group as performers, and impressive songwriters. Probably one of my favorite debuts by any band. Here are the highlights:

Can I Tell You. What a way to announce your arrival! This is a catchy, hard-driving rocker that also provides some hints about the band's unique talents: seamless integration of the violin to their sound, multi-part harmonies, and the ability to lay down an unrelenting tempo when they choose.

Bringing It Back/Lonely Wind/Belexes. Here we have the cover song, the nice ballad-type tune, and the prog-leaning, hard-driving single, respectively. All are solid tunes and uniquely Kansas--no need to skip over them, but not highlights compared to what follows.

Journey from Mariabronn. So Kansas have shown that they can create interesting, hard-driving singles, but can they apply that to prog epics? This song answers that questions with a resounding YES! Kansas has packed so much melody and creativity into this song that it seems they almost have some sort of attention deficit issues. Fortunately, it all rocks and is very well performed, and in the off-chance that you don't like one of their grooves, don't worry: they will be onto something new in a few seconds. Great track.

Apercu/Death of Mother Nature Suite. Maybe other reviewers don't see it this way, but I view these two tracks as one epic, and in that case I think my favorite epic from this group. These songs are nearly 20 minutes of killer prog, and where the tightness of the band really shows. Apercu features Kansas flawlessly moving into a guitar/guitar/violin harmony section that is mindblowing and unlike anything I have heard elsewhere. Death of Mother Nature Suite has an AWESOME build to the conclusion: one of my favorite endings to a prog epic (something that Livgren has a special understanding of how to pull off).

Unlike other bands, where certain players stick out, Kansas is one entity, with six guys on the same page and each making valuable contributions to the sound, which is part of why their sound is so unique. I picture these guys just walking into the studio and laying down these tracks exactly as heard on the album--they are that tight. In addition, this album has a certain rawness that seems to have been produced out of later albums, and I think that adds a bit of extra energy. Given the unique sound, solid songwriting and playing, and that this is a debut album, four stars seems appropriate. Here's hoping this album gets more love in the future!

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars The front cover of Kansas first release suggests this is a southern rock or country record. Well, this band always had some hard rock tunes, but they were by far a progressive band. They still had to hone their skills to make a more balanced sound, but all the basic elements are here: symphonic prog epics together with some more rocking tracks. Their musicanship is awesome from the very beginning. The playing is tight, the arrangements are tasteful and the songwriting is their strong point. It´s a pity that it is so overlooked even today.

The album is clearly divided by their prog suites (Belexes, Journey From Mariabrown, Apercu and Death Of Mother Nature Suite). All very good and a great showcase of Kansas members skills. The remaining songs show the more rocking and ballad side of the band. Also very good, but not quite up to their prog numbers. Above all they had an outstanding singer in the form of Steve Walsh. He gave the band a voice that could match their instrumental prowness.

Conclusion: a stunning debut. Very daring sound for its time and an album fulll of classics. I´d give it 3,5 stars, but it really deserves an extra half star because it was so new and groundbreaking then.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I guess I´m not a real fan of Kansas, as I only like about half of their songs, and I really detest their christian lyrics as I find them to be imature and cheesy, I´ll try not to focus too much on the lyrics of the songs when I listen to Kansas, as they really are horrible. The songs I do like, are fantastic though and defining for this genre, and I´ll give praise to that.

This their first album is a milestone in American prog rock, here we find the beautiful songs: Can I tell you, Belexes and Journey from Mariabronn. Apercu is also a good song while I find the unbearably childish lyrics for Death of Mother Nature suite to be devastating for a song that could have been a classic.

On the bad side their are two rather ( short) boring tracks: Bringing it back and The Pilgrimage ( Bringing it back with it´s rock´n´roll sound and that fierce violin from Robbie Steinhardt the best of the two though ) and of course the horrible lowpoint of the album: Lonely Wind, I am disgusted by the fact that they really put this song on this album, what a waste.

This is as you can understand a very hard album for me to review as I really like some of the songs and would give them 5 stars without hesitation but on the other hand I can´t do that as there are too many factors that says this is a pretty average album even though it has excellent songs.

The trademark Kansas sound was born with this album, but looking at it in retrospect this is not their best.

Review by LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An excellent first album from Kansas. I've always liked their take on progressive rock, with violin as integrated in the sound as the flute is on a Jethro Tull album. Previous reviewers have also noted the warmth in the Kansas sound, and together with the vocal performances of Steve Walsh and Robbie Steinhardt it adds up to a very soothing listening experience. Organs and keys are not overly intricate, but they remain a favourite in my book. Hard to tell why, easy to understand while listening. Dave Hope's bass ranges from thunderous to delicate, adding another nice dimension to the album. Belexes/Journey from Mariabronn/Apercu/Death of Mother Nature Suite are all within the progressive realm and show the tightness of the band in action, showcasing every members skill in a most democratic way. The best songs will have to be the whirling, intense Journey from Mariabronn and the fantastic Death of Mother Nature Suite.

Can I tell You is fun, short song which shouldn't be dismissed. Think of it as a condensation of the various aspects of Kansas' music, with slightly more rocking potential.

Bringing It Back/Lonely Wind/The Pilgrimage - these songs cannot be described as anything but substandard, in comparison with those mentioned above. Bringing it Back is some sort of boogierock (although it features nice violin), Lonely Wind just feels too much no matter how hard I try and The Pilgrimage is much in the same vein as Bringing it back.

Altogether a fantastic start for Kansas, not at all far from their masterpieces.


Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars The journey from Kansas begins

Right from the start of their career, Kansas showcased a unique sound and approach to music. The influences clearly include British bands like Yes, Genesis, Deep Purple, and Emerson Lake & Palmer, but Kansas makes American progressive Rock music.

This debut album is a bit more earthy and bluesy than subsequent albums. The guitars are more Blues oriented and the organ is the dominant keyboard instrument rather than synthesizers (though there are some). This, together with the omnipresent violin, gives a very organic and warm sound.

While some of the songs of the album - like the first two and The Pilgrimage - don't do that much for me, the remaining tracks are all very strong. The true standout track is the brilliant Journey From Mariabronn (which later also featured on the excellent live album Two For The Show).

Admittedly, this album is still a little bit rough around the edges and not as polished as the band's masterpieces Leftoverture and Point Of Know Return, but it is nonetheless a very strong debut that clearly points towards a future of forthcoming powerful progressive Rock releases.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is a great debut from America's greatest progressive rock band. What Kansas (sometimes) lacks in the way of the symphonic majesty of European and especially British acts, they make up for with raucous, foot-stomping grit. Instead of flowing capes, it's ragged overalls. It's symphonic rock music with its own gruff charm. It's a good answer to the question, "What would it sound like if The Charlie Daniel's Band added a synthesizer?"

"Can I Tell You" Kansas kicks off its first album with a patriotic song that blends thumping bass, grinding electric guitar, and unrefined but skillful violin work. In fact, it's the violin playing that simply makes this song, particularly in the instrumental section in the middle. The lyrics are simple enough, perhaps just filling in when Robby Steinhardt isn't fiddling away like the Devil went down to Kansas.

"Bringing it Back" Here is one that's honky-tonk through and through- a J.J. Cale penned song about smuggling drugs from South of the Border. And clearly Steinhardt saw no need to rest his hands- and he takes lead vocals here on top of it. I would not classify this song as progressive rock, but more as a tribute to their backwoods charm.

"Lonely Wind" Things slow down a good deal with this quiet ballad. The opening chords are interesting, but they give way to hackneyed (or at least lazy) lyrics. Fortunately, the energy of chorus makes up for this at least some. The instrumental build is exceptionally uplifting, particularly when the vocals break back in. Despite the lackluster lyrics, Steve Walsh sings them beautifully, and his harmonies display his undeniable talent as a vocalist.

"Belexis" This tune thunders away from the beginning, with guitars and organ sharing the opening melody. This song possesses a simpler structure than what is to come, but features a funky organ solo, a blistering guitar solo, and a drum solo that makes me think Phil Ehart was only showing us a bit of what was to come on the closing song on their second album.

"Journey from Mariabronn" Based on Hesse's Narcissus and Goldmund, this song has both emotive lyrics and breakneck instrumental passages. The middle section contains masterful guitar soloing over building diminished chords, a remarkable synthesizer solo, and quite simply one of coolest musical themes in progressive rock. It ends with power vocalizations by Walsh before building up to its thunderous conclusion. This is the finest moment on this album.

"The Pilgrimage" Despite having a mysterious title that screams "progressive rock," this song sounds like it should exist as some obscure country rock band's B-side. It isn't a terrible song, but it lacks just about everything that makes Kansas's great moments great, excellent vocal harmonies aside.

"Apercu" This is a strangely ignored gem in the Kansas song list. Not only is this nine and a half minute wonder the second best song on this album, it features some of the best instrumentation Kansas has to offer. The introduction is progressive rock at its finest, and from that moment the listener knows he is in for a treat. The verses are quiet and pensive, with lyrics reflecting on reincarnation (a theme in Livgren's early works). The chorus explodes, asking, "Were you with me? Have we done it all before?" These two lines a powerful but simple way to express the concept in the song. Just over three minutes into the song, there is another quiet part leading to a powerful vocal crescendo, that segues into a display of musical and compositional excellence. During the instrumental section halfway through, there is a I-V bass alternating bass line (a bluegrass staple), but instead of banjos and yodeling, there's violin and electric guitar. This is a stunning song, and not to be missed.

"Death of Mother Nature Suite" This song features a heavy opening riff that leads into sad, gentle verse. The environmental lyrics do not touch me, though they try to strike a nerve with the gruff "And now she's going to die" part. The instrumental section throughout the middle is somewhat boring compared to those of the longer pieces that came before it. However, the organ solo and guitar riffs here are some of the best on the album. The acoustic guitar-driven ending is interesting, and gives way to a final impressive solo. This is a good effort, but not an especially good closing song. If you want a great "eco-friendly" song, you'll find it in "Song for America."

Review by CCVP
4 stars One of their best albums, if not their best

The debut album of this six youngsters from the United States's Midwest is sure stunning for a number of reasons. First of all, this band is from GOD-DAMN KANSAS! Seriously, that region of the US is one of the last ones that i would imagine to give birth to such a good progressive rock band (good at least until before 79, when they released the sup-par Monolith and things would start going downward) in that country, mainly because there is no kind of prog rock tradition in that part of the US. Secondly, Kansas made an incredible mix in this album that they would not do ever again: they mixed prog rock with country, specially vocal-wise, probably because the are from the state of KANSAS, and there country IS something else. In third place, they also mixed considerable amounts of hard rock to their music, what made the band be quite harder than most of their 70's symphonic prog counterparts and gave them a a more rock edge. In fourth place, THEY ARE FROM KANSAS!!!

Having such unique features, the band used most of those features in its favor, dividing the album in two parts (one part on side 1 and the other on side 2, duh!), probably in order to show them better. The first part (on side 1) contains, mostly, their harder side and/or their country side in all songs, except in the song Journey From Mariabronn, which is more like an introduction to their proggy side in side 2. As i said before, the side 2 is their proggier side, where they make full usage of most of their skills as musicians. The only different from this side is the song Death Of Mother Nature Suite, which is much heavier than the 3 songs that preceded it and makes a great closing track. The only big downside in this album is the ending of the song Apecu, because i think that the song would have been MUCH better if it ended at the violin arpeggio. It really saddens me every time i listen to that song and see how they spoiled such a beautiful ending. It must be noted that the sides referred here are the vinyl sides and that does not apply (or apply figuratively) to the CD.

About the songs, musicianship and other features, there are somethings i would like to state:

The instrumental work is very nice and quite diverse. One part of that diversity comes from using the violin in almost every track without the instrument being out place and making an exceptional good work in the softer songs, like Lonely Wind, Journey From Mariabronn and Apecu, though sometimes, like in the song Bring it Back, it is quite boring and uninspired. The vocal work is also very good and it uses some country features that makes the vocals stand out even more.

The highlihgts go to Journey From Mariabronn, Apecu and Death Of Mother Nature Suite.

Grade and Final Thoughts

Damn, this is a great album. But why am i just giving it the 4 stars grade instead of the 5 stars grade since i love it so much? Simple my friends, it is not that good. OK, i gotta admit that it has some pretty awesome songs, specially Apecu, and have some unique stuff, like mixing country and prog rock, but at the same time it is the band's biggest strength and weakness. The initial songs are nothing but just good songs and, though the band recovers itself later on the album, the spoiling of Apecu's ending is just unforgivable and ruins a big part of the second part of the album. In fact, if they fixed the song maybe this album were worthy the masterpiece g rade, but since its not the case here, its 4 stars for Kansas's self-titled de but.

Review by LiquidEternity
5 stars People tend to focus on Leftoverture as the masterpiece from this band, but in truth, their greatest album was the one which came first.

Kansas's self-titled debut is quite often overlooked by a lot of prog fans. That's a shame, because perhaps their most creative and progressive moments appear on this record. While certainly there is a stronger element of southern rock here than elsewhere of theirs, this nevertheless is a wonderful blend of hard rock and symphonic prog music. The violin, which is something of a trademark of the band throughout their years, flies full force in this release. The sound production is a bit more lacking than on later 70s Kansas releases, especially with the vocals, but in the end the music stands as more or less the best example of what this band is capable of. If you don't mind some southern rock mixed in with your symphonic prog, then this album is a certain hit. If you demand orchestras and songs longer than ten minutes, perhaps you had better look towards something like Leftoverture or Song for America, as those pander more specifically to the straight-up prog crowd.

The album begins with Can I Tell You, which is mostly a straightforward southern rock song. The band steps it up here with some exciting and upbeat moments, including a wild violin solo, a patriotic chorus, and at points some very complex intermeshing of their instruments. The energy level does not drop when Bringing It Back plays, either. In some ways similar to the first, this one is a piano driven rock tune with lots of percussion and jazzy rhythms. The blazing violin lead appears at appropriate moments, and most anyone who appreciates the instrument can marvel at the skill with which it is being used here--especially during the long violin solo. It powers to a finale and then the music is Lonely Wind. Again, a piano-based song, this one is more of a pop tune or a ballad. It's marked by gentle melody and melancholic violin, as well as beautiful vocals. The middle section is the clear highlight here, with ascending melody and powerful instrumental interplay, though certainly not in a noodly sense. Belexes is a neat little prog tune with a foreign sounding main theme. The energy level is once more quite high here as the keyboards drive the tune underneath some wild vocals. Here is the first real hard guitar solo on the album, as well. The drums also deserve a mention here, as there are moments of fast bass drums and the finale of the song is a massive (but short) drum solo. The last song on the album is Journey from Mariabronn. It opens with an impressive keyboard-led intro, but soon the violin and keyboards fill this song out to sound quite epic. Some strong piano a little ways into the song joins with some vocal harmonies and a strong lead to soften up part of the song. About four minutes in does the song truly turn to prog, as bass and violin and keyboards all pile on each other to form an exotic vibe and make room for several unique solos. The drums are flying away beneath. A reprise of the intro leads to Walsh's impressive vocal conclusion.

Side two begins with the spacious intro of The Pilgrimage, an intro which turns suddenly into a very southern rock sort of tune. Some nice vocal harmonies and some intense piano push this song forward. The vocal lead is especially noteworthy here, as is the bluesy guitar and the nice fiddle-esque violin pieces. Apercu draws the most attention on this site, being the longest song on the album. It kicks off with some nice guitar, violin, and keyboard interplay. Well-performed vocals head the first few minutes, turning to an upbeat instrumental section again powered by the wild violin. Things quiet down for Walsh to deliver an impassioned vocal performance. It powers back up to a particularly hard rock/prog instrumental break, showcasing the dramatic ability of the performers to interlock their instruments and to form complex music with their individual parts. The bass, as always in Kansas, is impressive and creative, not simply following the guitar. The vocals return for a brief stay, but the song finishes instrumentally and suddenly explodes into The Death of Mother Nature Suite (if you listen, you'll see what I mean by explodes). This final track is probably the strongest song Kansas ever wrote, being perhaps their iconic song of their prog years. A very heavy piece (if more Kansas songs were like this, they'd be in the same category as Rush). The distorted guitars crunch out a wicked riff for the intro and chorus, while the verses are fairly quiet. Walsh's vocals have never been stronger or more impassioned. A long instrumental passage in the middle allows for a successive keyboard and guitar solo, with solo rhythms underneath shifting and changing in a way that shows just how strong of an influence this band was on modern progressive metal acts like Dream Theater. The final verse/chorus hits (and Walsh screams quite impressively), and then the band launches into another guitar solo, this one with a slowly increasing tempo. The music gains in intensity until it suddenly turns into an acoustically-driven epic finale, dropping into silence without warning.

In the end, this is the strongest album Kansas ever wrote, and it is an absolute classic of 70s prog. While they will experiment more with the prog elements on Song for America, and while they will gain much more attention with their '76 release Leftoverture, this is truly the place where Kansas began. As such, it is not an album prog fans can ignore, and certainly not Kansas fans.

Review by The Crow
4 stars Fantastic debut!

The irregualr Kansas's career started with this brilliant album, where every instrument shows a tremendous amount of virtuosity, being this fact any impediment to make an album full with excellent songs, being the longer and progguier also the better.

Songs like Journey from Mariabronn, Apercu and Death of Mother Nature shows a band with excellent ideas and execution, and sounding a really mature sound for being the first album made together. The style is something similar to Yes, but with a lot of american folk elements... The american roots are showed with more intensity in the shoter tracks, like Lonely Wind (a clear precedent of Dust in the Wind...) and the funny and very folk The Pilgrimage.

It's difficult to say wich musician is better here... Every instrument has the opportunity to shine throughout the album, with multiple violen solos, keyboard instrumental parts, crazy bass rythms, fantastic guitar playing... Is a pleausure to hear so good musicians playing together and getting a so cohesionated and well composed songs.

Best tracks: Can I tell You (great violin solo!), Journey from Meriaborn (the final part, with this passionate singing, is fantastic...), The Pilgrimage (folky and funny) and Apercu (the best instrumental work of the album).

Conclusion: this fantastic debut offers great instruments and vocal playing, a yet mature band making good songs (but still not reaching their definitive style...) and the band's typical fusion between symphonic prog and american folk. Recommended!

My rating: ****

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is where the saga officially begins

We're in 1974, in the UK Progressive Rock had grown from a local fashion to a serious genre that was developing beyond proportions, but still USA was more or less immune to that fever, it's true that people in North America listened the iconic British bands, but it was hard to find a real representative band from this country that played an autochthonous form of Prog that included their local characteristics and blended them with the Symphonic sound so popular on those days.

Probably people would expect a band from a big city to start USA's Prog history, but it was in the centre of the tornado corridor, in Topeka - Kansas, where Country music rules that a group of talented musicians dared to blend Hard Rock and Symphonic Prog but with an extra ingredient that nobody would had expected, Country music.

From the ashes of "White Clover" and "Saratoga", Kansas was born in 1971 and disbanded temporally in 1972 just to resurrect in 1974 when they were ready to take the musical scenario by assault with their unique sound and the novelty of using a violin as central instrument along with the keyboards, unlike most bands of the era.

It's true that their sound was not yet completely developed, they sounded more like a violin guided Hard Rock band, rather than a full Prog band, but the seeds of what KANSAS would become are present in their eponymous debut.

The album starts with "Can I Tell You", a frenetic song with Robby's violin leading the band by the hand through some sort of orchestral Hard Rock, but with Rich Williams adding guitar riffs in the vein of DEEP PURPLE or any famous band of that era, while Steve Walsh proved he was a powerful Hammond keyboardist and a strong lead vocalist and that human metronome called Phil Ehart keeping the time as a Swiss watch.

"Bring it Back" is an odd song, some sort of Blues with a complex arrangement, Robby Steinhardt proves he can be a second lead vocalist with his hard rocking voice while keeping the Progressive elements alive in his wild violin.

It's important not to forget Kerry Livegren, who's main responsibility is in composition but plays the role of a wild card, adding extra guitar and keyboard when necessary and of course Dave Hope, the perfect support for Phil Ehart.

If the album is the starting point of KANSAS career, "Lonely Wind" is the first evidence of a Symphonic band that besides rocking as professionals, are able to create incredible Symphonic melodies with piano and guitar, an extraordinarily beautiful melody that presents a versatile band.

Now is the time for one of he best tracks in KANSA history, "Belexes" is the point when they really notice what they are able of, the band creates an extremely complex structure with every characteristic of what we know as Progressive Rock, the changes are simply breathtaking and Steve shines both in keyboards plus vocals. Last week I saw the band in Lima, and he song sounds as fresh as 35 years ago. The amazing characteristic of this album is that they seem to grow from song to song,if "Belexes" was a 100% frantic Prog song, "Journey From Mariabronn"is a delightful Symphonic track with all the elements that would make of KANSAS the most authentic USA band. Even when the structure and arrangements are extremely elaborate, the band never forgets the melodic essence of their music, sad, nostalgic but at the same time vibrant and original, a perfect masterpiece. "The Pilgrimage" is an unusual song even for early KANSAS, after an extended jazzy intro, the band jumps into some kind of electric Country music in which they let their roots see the light, the combination between almost Psychedelic Hammond C3 (If I'm not wrong) and the country fiddle is surprising for anybody, not what they will attempt later, but a nice experiment.

With "Apercu" we return to Prog Melodic territory, Robbie takes the band on his back with his violin while Steve and Kerry add oneiric keyboard passages, not a particularly complex song, but it's clear that the bad is reaching maturity from the start, the majestic and dramatic sound so characteristic of the Topeka guys can be listened all along the track.

So..What else do they need to close an excellent album? Maybe a short epic? Yes, that's what we receive with the fantastic "Mother Nature Suite", an 8 minutes track in which KANSAS finds their definite sound, absolutely orchestral and Symphonic with Hard Rock fugues and extremely complex structure with a Steve Walsh singing at his peak, there's nothing else we can ask to consider "Kansas" a superb album, something unusual in an official debut.

Would love to rate "Kansas" with 5 stars, because this guys showed love and respect for Prog, but dared to be different to all the rest, the addition of North American musical genres to pristine Symphonic is something only a handful of musicians have achieved with such success.

But, I believe KANSAS has superior albums like "Song for America" or "Leftoverture", so will control my enthusiasm and rate it with 4 solid stars.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Kansas' debut album is very strong ( for debut). And it's even stronger, when we are looking on it from historical point of vieiw: they were very pioneers in American prog of that time.

The sound is a bit unusual, I can name it as "plain". It's not a question of sound engineering of time, but more unusual arrangement ( in comparence with european bands). More rhythmic, than later jobs, it has visiable proto-AOR, hard-rock, even country elements. But at the same time it is concentrated prog-rock, with heavy keyboards ( sometimes remind Uriah Heep) and original use ov violin ( I think somewhere very deep it's coming from bluegrass and country, not philarmonig string section).

Bigger part of album are original and bright compositions with very competent musicanship. This album is attractive prog work without any historical contest as well. Still not at the level of "Leftoverture"and "Point Of Know Return " , it's really stronger than all after '77 albums. And as for debut is very high mark, believe me!

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars I've never been a KANSAS fan but out of all their albums this is my favourite. I find three of the last four tracks here pure magic but the first four very average. So after listening to it i'm always thinking "That was great !" when in fact only the last half of it is what i'd call excellent.

"Can I Tell You" hits the ground running, vocals come in quickly. The violin is all over this one. Guitar before 2 1/2 minutes then the organ joins the fray. "Bringing It Back" features lots of piano with violin coming in around a minute. "Lonely Wind" opens with violin and piano as reserved vocals arrive in this ballad-like tune. "Belexes" is a rocker, I do like the vocals here. A little drum action 4 minutes in. "Journey From Mariabronn" is led by piano and violin early. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in. Guitar after 3 1/2 minutes as the drums pound. Violin follows. Great tune.

"The Pilgrimage" builds until the vocals kick in. My least favourite of the last four. "Apercu" is led by violin, then we get a calm before a minute as reserved vocals come in. Outstanding sound when it gets fuller. An instrumental interlude after 5 minutes where the guys stretch out. Nice aggressive sound with guitar after 9 minutes. It blends into "Death Of Mother Nature Suite". It settles right down quickly as reserved vocals come in. It kicks back in as contrasts continue. I like the guitar 6 minutes in as he lights it up.

3.5 stars and a great start to their careers.

Review by Sinusoid
4 stars With every bone in my body, I should be giving this album a much lower rating. I got this at the tail end of my extreme interest in Kansas, a time of which I've heard so many Kansas albums that I wanted a break from them (of which I've been granted). It's very good, but I think there's a good reason why this album is the last of Kansas's I plan on listening to for some time.

If you've heard any other Kansas album from their prog period before, you expect a mixture of shorter hard rock songs with longer prog-type epics puking with keyboards and quasi- intellectual stories/statements. KANSAS started that trend, so if you go in a chronological context in discovering Kansas, this will be the best thing they ever recorded. However, with me, I heard KANSAS fifth after other classics like LEFTOVERTURE and SONG FOR AMERICA, and I feel that this album is like the other two that I mentioned, only more awkward in the prog.

I never have known Kansas to really ''rock out'' in their epics; in fact, there's many an epic in their catalogue where guitars sound almost nonexistant. Here, we get ''Death of Mother Nature Suite'', an eight minute thing that is infested with guitar licks, heavy ones mind you. Musically, it's very strong because of this aspect, but the lyrics kind of ruin it as they come off as hokey to me.

There's more strength in the shorter songs than the longer ones IMO. ''Can I Tell You'' and ''Belexes'' really bring out the best of Kansas's sound and ''The Pilgrimage'' isn't too shabby of a country-bar-rock song. The only shorter song that I gripe about is the predictable ballad in ''Lonely Wind'', so static and sleepy. To go back to epic speed, ''Mariabronn'' isn't too bad but ''Apercu'' sounds too overblown for my liking; there's little of ''Apercu'' that stimulates the mind or gets me excited at all.

Ah, what the hey, it's Kansas in full prog force. What progster could resist the tricky violin lines, swamps of Hammond organ and long winded pieces?

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I'm not sure if visiting the state of Kansas would be a good idea for me. It would only be a matter of hours before I'm apprehended for misbehaviour, either for disrespect towards public property or for fulminating at all things religious. At least that might happen as soon as the band wearing the state's name would come up in a discussion. Given my dislike for all things AOR, Kansas has always resided at the bottom of my playlist and I'm very much afraid future Kansas reviews will bear witness to that. But not my cup of tea doesn't mean I can't find some redeeming qualities in them, especially so on their debut.

I hadn't heard this one until recently and it has turned out to be a pleasant surprise. The cheese of Lonely Wind excluded, this album doesn't remind me at all of the commercial Kansas sound I am familiar with. This one sounds as if Blue Oyster Cult suddenly lived up to their full prog potential, it has their energy and their pleasant upbeat grooves but the song writing is more ambitious, certainly so on the more extended songs.

The Kansas debut offers an exciting mix of catchy country blues hard rock with some distinct Gentle Giant prog qualities. Especially the furious violin helps to provide this album with a wild and passionate flavour. This is the sound of a band that's fuelled with ideas and creativity. 3.5 stars, rounded up as I would guess this one will be an interesting and pleasant listen for most fans of classic prog.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars Back in the prog rich nineteen seventies, good American symphonic prog bands were not in great abundance. Sure, we had the fusion bands, but prog was not in the forefront. Then there was Kansas.

This, their debut was a great entry in the field. Even the more straight ahead rock songs, Can I Tell You, Bringing It Back and The Pilgrimage are lace with stong prog trimmings. And the meat of the album, Belexes, Journey From Mariabronn, Apercu and Death Of Mother Nature Suite are up there with the best symphonic prog of the decade. Only the slow ballad, the religious toned Lonely Wind breaks up the energy of the album. But with the high intensity of all of the other songs, it's a welcome break.

4.5 stars, rounded up.

Review by progpositivity
4 stars This album is essential. No it isn't. Yes it is. No it isn't. Let's face it. Kansas is a schizophrenic band. (Bipolar at the very least.)

In the 1970's, bands and record labels notoriously agonized over which songs to place in positions #1 and #2 on "Side One" of each new album. For rock bands, the first song of a new album was usually reserved for an up-tempo number capable of quickly catching and keeping the listener's ear. The second song selection enjoyed wider latitude, but was generally expected to be a strong composition as well, the type of song that, in combination with track one, could really "make a statement" about the album's - or the band's - identity.

All of which makes the Side One running order on Kansas' 1974 debut album incredibly puzzling to me. By leading off with "Can I tell you" and then following up with "Bringing it back", I can only conclude that either a) Don Kirshner envisioned Kansas as some oddball violin hybrid of Lynyrd Skynyrd or b) Kansas is a schizophrenic band.

Allow me to posit the latter. After all, this band was born from a "merry go round" of cross-pollination between two Topeka Kansas bands calling themselves an assortment of names like "The Reasons Why", "Saratoga", "Kansas (1)", "Kansas (2), and "White Clover". (Special Note: The 'numbers' (1) and (2) were added by fans years later in an attempt to avoid the recreation of "Abbot and Costello skits" during their otherwise serious discussions about early Kansas timelines.) Sheesh! I knew I should have paid closer attention to permutation and combination calculations in high school!

For simplicity sake, let's call the Kerry Livgren (songwriter extraordinaire and tastefully competent guitarist/keyboardist) led bands "Saratoga". Then let's call the Robby Steinhardt (violin master) and Steve Walsh (vocal schemer screamer) led bands "White Clover". Finally let's simply accept that bassist Dave Hope and drummer Phil Ehart changed their minds about which bands they were in pretty much on a daily basis. I can't verify this, but I have reason to suspect that Dave Hope actually showed up for the wrong band's rehearsal on more than one occasion!

Oh - forget it! Let's just face the facts. This band is schizophrenic! ;-)

Of course, there is that pesky Don Kirshner-White Clover fan club theory. There were, after all, only three singles released from this album. Looking more closely, we see that the first single was Side One Track #1 "Can I tell you": a White Clover song penned by Williams, Ehart, Hope and Walsh. This song did not chart.

Kirshner's second single from Kansas' debut album was Side One's Track #2 "Bringing it back": a song that sounds suspiciously like the type of cover tune White Clover would enjoy playing. This second single, by the way, did not chart.

Even Kirshner must have begun wondering whether Kansas might be better at creating vast and wide-sweeping prog epics than hit singles after all. But hit singles paid the bills in those days so he tried again. The third single he released from this album? You guessed it... Side One's Track #3 "Lonely Wind". I was utterly shocked to discover that "Lonely Wind" was a "White Clover" ballad penned by Walsh. For the record, this 3rd single did manage to dent the Hot 100.

OK - perhaps Kirshner was a closet "White Clover" fan after all!

Fortunately for Prog Fans, singles notwithstanding, the rest of this album's songs have Kerry Livgren's trademark compositional fingerprints all over them. After starting with the requisite hard rocking "Belexes". we graduate to elaborate Symphonic Progressive gems like "Journey from Mariabronn", "Apercu", and "Death of Mother Nature suite". This is the grandeur, this is the majestic power and beauty for which Kansas is revered over 3 decades later!

Bridging the two divergent "personalities", from slow, smooth legato to brazen sizzling allegro, the one constant that binds the various tracks of this album together is the signature violin of Robbie Steinhardt.

I feel further compelled to mention that this is not a mere case of debut-album identity crisis. Because bands "outgrow" debut-album identity crisis! Alas, Kansas would continue in this dichotomous vein for years to come, evidently suffering no cognitive dissonance as they played blues, country/rock or southern-fried rock one moment only to launch into glorious Progressive Rock the next.

So, if you want to enjoy the glorious high points that this American art rock band has to offer, you'll simply have to learn how to southern rock boogie a little. Well, either that or develop a mild case of schizophrenia yourself.

Did I mention that this album is essential? No it isn't. Yes it is. No it isn't. (Ahh! I feel better already!)


Addendum: I was honored to discover that this review had been forwarded to Dave Hope and here was his reply.

"...he really did nail it - our favorite band(s) actually were anywhere from the Allman Brothers, King Crimson, Wild Cherry, and Genesis... any other way would have been boring and pretentious..."

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I might surprise a few people when I say that I've never owned a single Kansas album. The reason for that comes from my early years where these records were constantly playing in our household. So even though I know most of the band's early songs by heart, I can't really call myself a huge fan of their music. This doesn't necessarily mean that Kansas haven't recorded some excellent material back in the day. Their debut album is in fact a great example of just that!

Since I haven't heard most of these songs in years, it was a very pleasant experience revisiting this album again. I had a very vague recollection of the songs off the record but most of it came back very quickly to me. It's safe to say that the quality of compositions included on Kansas debut release is quite excellent and I would easily rank it among the band's top three best recordings.

Can I Tell You lets us know pretty early on what Kansas is all about as this upbeat album-opener serves as a great introduction to their music. Lonely Wind takes the music into a much mellower direction, which to the general audience might seem to be Kansas' natural habitat. To me, this is easily one of the band's two most accomplished ballads since it features a beautiful melody and the instrumental arrangement is spot on! I'm also very fond of the much shorter, but just as memorable, number called The Pilgrimage. It's actually the tune that I remember the most off this record just for its pure harmonic bliss.

Still, I'm sure that most progressive rock fans of this band are mainly interested in the suites and that's where the 8-minute long Journey From Mariabronn comes in and shines in all its glory. I really love the way all of this composition's different sections manage to seamlessly interact with one another while featuring one of the band's signature melodies. The two other longer suite-like compositions, titled Apercu and Death Of Mother Nature Suite, are also pretty solid even though the latter does come off sounding way too preachy at times.

Although I prefer Leftoverture and Point Of Know Return slightly over this release, the self-titled debut album from Kansas is one great debut that should not be forgotten by fans of the U.S. prog music scene!

***** star songs: Lonely Wind (4:15) Journey From Mariabronn (7:55)

**** star songs: Can I Tell You (3:31) Belexes (4:22) The Pilgrimage (3:42) Apercu (9:43) Death Of Mother Nature Suite (7:43)

*** star songs: Bringing It Back (3:33)

Review by colorofmoney91
3 stars Kansas' self-titled debut is one of their best releases in my opinion. It shows their strong radio country rock song writing tendencies, but improved with fitting fiddling and sophisticated vocal melodies. All of the musicianship on this album shines through wonderfully, and the feel of the album is definitely of the down-south sort. I've never been a fan of southern rock by any means, but I've always felt that Kansas was the one band that could do it right. The absolute best track on this album and a classic among Kansas' more progressive work is "Journey from Mariabronn", which features melodic violin lines and beautiful piano throughout. The whole track is fast paced and energetic, and they feeling of a journey definitely comes through. Anyone who is a fan of the more radio friendly sounding progressive rock from southern America should find this album appealing if they don't already know about it.
Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars Can a violin sound like Emerson's keyboard on a Southern Rock album?

Well, I went to Kansas (the band, not the State) after appreciating Proto-Kaw and discovering that Livgren was the founder of both. I had always thought that they were just a kind of country- pop-rock inspired american band like America or Chicago or other geographically sited bands, so after realizing that they were a prog band originated by the "early reocrdings" of Proto-kaw led me to this debut album.

So what I hear? A bit of southern rock on the first tracks, for sure. Choirs like Wishbone Ash (but on The Pilgrimage they are closer to YES), and the imprssive violin that soemtimes sounds country, but on "Journey From Mariabronn" sounds as I have written like Keith Emerson.

Unlike the prog-related Wishbone Ash that after the excellent Argus went to produce more poppy things, in this debut album we can find tracks that are totally progressive, mainly in the second half of the album. So it's better than the Wishbone's debut and one reason may be the fact that they had a previous history as Proto-Kaw before coming to release this one.

It makes me wishing to explore their music more deeply, also considering that in the past I have spent hours listening (and playing) Lynyrd Skynyrd, Arlo Guthrie and Creedence so I'm not against country-rock in general.

So let me retire what I have written in the first line: this is not a southern rock album. This is a progressive album with southern rock influences. And a very good one.

Sorry to have missed you for so much time and having skipped your vinyl albums in the music stores when I was young.

Review by stefro
4 stars American progressive rock outfits often get rough treatment, especially from the sniffy Brits(of which this reviewer is one) yet despite producing only a handful of progressively-inclined groups during the genre's heyday the music has often been excellent. The likes of Journey(with their first three hugely underrated albums) Styx, Starcastle and Kansas were no doubt influenced by the British set and for a brief while during the 1970s these four groups created some wonderful 'Americanised' albums, blending hard rock riffs with arty elements and slick musicianship. Undoubtedly the creative leaders of the pack, Kansas started life as a struggling bar-room act before finally getting their chance with this 1974 release. A self-titled effort featuring a picture of Civil War hero John Brown gracing the cover, this is essential progressive rock from a supremely-talented bunch, their skills honed whilst performing in the rough 'n' ready blue-collar bars of small town North America. With Robby Steinhardt's violin adding a unique edge, Kansas' sound manages to be complex, rootsy AND hard rockin', with layers of keyboards, stinging guitars and powerful vocal harmonies adorning an energetic clutch of carefully-crafted songs. Opener 'Can I Tell You' kicks things off in style, Steinhardt's grazing violin riff proving impossibly funky over Steve Walsh's blues-pumped guitar riffs and Kerry Livgren's Genesis-inspired keyboards, whilst the fiendishly intricate mini-epic 'Journey From Mariabronn' finds the budding group knee-deep in complex art-prog territory, the track's mystical lyrics exploring Livgren's pre-Christianity fascination with ancient religious themes. Polishing off a terrific album are two more lengthy pieces, with both the oddly-titled 'Apercu' and the majestic power-prog of the multi-part 'Death Of Mother Nature Suite' proving Kansas' undoubted instrumental chops. From beginning to end, and all the way in-between, Kansas' debut - an album that proved a commercial misnomer upon it's initial release - manages to skilfully blend disparate elements, mixing American pomp and British indulgence into their own highly-original brand of anthemic rock. Fans of the North American set probably already love this; those who have yet to taste the delights of Kansas are urged to do so. Very, very impressive, this ranks alongside Journey's 1975 debut, Starcastle's self-titled debut and Styx's 'The Grand Illusion' as one of the defining albums from the old U S of A's golden prog period


Review by The Truth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Kansas is such a great band.

Can I just say that? They really are, they turned me onto music in general, Carry On My Wayward Son was the first song that I knew I actually loved with all of my heart and Kansas is extremely fun to listen to all through their discography.

And this album, their debut, is probably my favorite record by them, their country-rock brand of prog at it's finest and perhaps at it's rawest. They do this incredible blend of British prog rock and American midwest folk music and it is just a stunning sound if you ask me. This is the first time anyone was exposed to such music and it may indeed be the most fresh here.

One of the greatest parts of this record is it's variety, the first side is prog mixing with every possible formula for a radio hit (none were produced on the record, by the way) and it is quite a cool experiment to see a band attempt. Side 2 (well the end of side one and side two) on the other hand is one of the most epic progressive rock ever played with brilliant instrumentation and songcraft and the listener is left just simply stunned by tracks like Journey to Mariabronn and Apercu. Just incredible.

Not quite hitting commercial success yet, Kansas was really at their best when the first started up and it is shown all through this masterpiece of progressive music. One of the first great AOR groups as well as one of the only truly classic American prog groups. This album is just as innovative as it gets.

5 bright and shining stars.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Kansas' debut album resembles what happens if an US heartland rock band spent an entire weekend listening to Gabriel-era Genesis and Yes Album-era Yes and decided to give this whole prog thing a go, and whilst the band had a bit more history than that, that's still more or less what you get.

The inclusion of a J.J. Cale cover (Bringing It Back) is symptomatic of the band's American ethos, which is perhaps key to their charm - despite prog being a largely British-dominated affair at this point of time, Kansas didn't fall into the trap of trying too hard to sound like the British bands, and to do so would have been just as risible as, say, third-rate bands affecting Liverpudlian accents and producing reheated Merseybeat back at the height of Beatlemania.

Though it doesn't contain any breakout songs on the level of Carry On Wayward Son, Kansas does at least find each of the band members staking out their roles. Steve Walsh and Robbie Steinhardt take on lead vocals, developing the harmonies which would pay off in a big way over the span of their career, whilst Steve's organ and piano work can go from boogie-woogie stuff to ELP or early Yes-esque at the drop of a hat and Robbie's violin adds an extra string to the band's bow (pun intended) which helps bring gravitas where it is needed.

The Hope/Ehart rhythm section can provide the power to drive the more straight-ahead rock sections whilst tackling more complex time signatures when called to, and Rich Williams' guitar work already has a touch of the thunder he'd show on later releases, whilst Kerry Livgren flits from guitar to keyboards to backing vocals and spreads his talent where it's needed; far from seeming redundant in a band that already has a dedicated guitarist, two lead vocalists, and a keyboard player, his presence in effect gives Kansas additional reserves, able to turbo-charge any part of their sound when it's needed.

What stops the album from going from being a good prog rock release to an essential one? Partially, it's the songwriting; it's alright, but compare it to the material on Leftoverture and Point of Know Return and you can see the band are still honing their craft there. In addition, they seem very slightly more trepidatious about going full prog this time around, and have a bit more in the way of boogie rock in the mix than they would on later releases. Then again, in some respects that works in the band's favour: nobody was mixing prog in with this kind of music in quite this way at the time, after all.

Review by Modrigue
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!

Latest members reviews

5 stars Bata Bam! Bata Boom! Bata Bing!!! Hot the jackpot! I bought this album in 1978 after having heard Leftoverture and I was blown away by the lush originality and amazing layering of instruments on this album and to this day it ranks at the top of my Kansas list with "Leftoverture" & "Masque" takin ... (read more)

Report this review (#2712471) | Posted by Sidscrat | Tuesday, March 22, 2022 | Review Permanlink

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, Wi ... (read more)

Report this review (#2046330) | Posted by sgtpepper | Saturday, October 20, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars For me the Classic Prog bands are unsurpassed but every now and then a progressive band succeeds to impress me very much, close to the excitement of Seventies Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd, ELP and King Crimson: from Camel, PFM, Ange and Triana to Rush, Solaris, Gerard and Anekdoten. And of course 6 ... (read more)

Report this review (#1890531) | Posted by TenYearsAfter | Saturday, March 3, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A unique and impressive debut by a fantastic band! Let's do a track-by-track review: 1. Can I Tell You Fast and furious song with straightforward lyrics that could be a reference to the USA national anthem lyrics "...the land of the free and home of the brave". Well, Kansas tells you "prove tha ... (read more)

Report this review (#1382112) | Posted by BigDaddyAEL1964 | Saturday, March 14, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars KANSAS maked the beginning of a fine run of albums for many years from this classic American prog band. From this album, through MASQUE, SONG FOR AMERICA, LEFTOVERTURE, and POINT OF KNOW RETURN, Kansas were at the top of their game. An impressive run of great releases that was only slowed down final ... (read more)

Report this review (#752801) | Posted by mohaveman | Sunday, May 13, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars My history with prog is new. My choice was always hard rock, metal, jazz or world music. Now I'm gettin deeper and deeper into this fantastic world of and I have found a lot of incredible music jewels, just as Kansas debut album. For sure I knew Kansas was a big name in rock and many people are more ... (read more)

Report this review (#219969) | Posted by luger7 | Friday, June 5, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars ****1/2, really. One of the most 70´s sophisticated bands, not only for the prog epics but also for the shorter tasteful tracks. Kansas "s/t debut", "Song for America" and "Leftoverture" are perhaps my favorite of their 70´s discography but only because they are more consistent in a prog point ... (read more)

Report this review (#189949) | Posted by Prog_Veteran | Wednesday, November 19, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I hate handing out five-star reviews (especially since I have thus far only chosen Kansas to review) on any site or for any product. However, in the case of Kansas, I find that some of the high/higher rated albums than this one are inferior. I only recently started exploring this album as a ... (read more)

Report this review (#158438) | Posted by kwhitegocubs | Saturday, January 12, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album is probably the most under appreciated of all of their works. I do not even begin to understand why some people say they were not prog until SoA. It does get off to a bit of a rocky start with two catchy but fairly typical (albeit good) southern rock songs and a ballad. After that, th ... (read more)

Report this review (#115036) | Posted by Failcore | Wednesday, March 14, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Kansas started off strong right from the beginning. The album allegedly only took three days to record, but it ended up epic and great, a rival to Kansas releases coming after it, a truly strong debut album. The album came after two musical groups in Topeka, Kansas collided. Kerry Livgren and his ... (read more)

Report this review (#108610) | Posted by Scapler | Tuesday, January 23, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Their self-titled debut shows the band unsure of its direction. Of its eight tracks, four are straightforward rock songs, albeit with violin solos, while the other four are complex prog rock epics filled with quasi-spiritual lyrics and keyboard solos between every other verse. Only on the open ... (read more)

Report this review (#44238) | Posted by | Thursday, August 25, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Kansas's debut album shines like a lantern on a dark evening, the music being somewhere between mainstream classic rock and easy-listening progressive rock with a "happy" feel to it. The violin giving the band their recognisable sound, fast playing dynamic piano with rhythmic rock and roll ba ... (read more)

Report this review (#21712) | Posted by tuxon | Monday, November 15, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars When most people think of Kansas, they think of their FM hits like "Carry On Wayward Son" and "Dust In The Wind". Well, I believe that they were ten times the band before they began to change their style. This album contains the symphonic roots of Kerry Livgren combined with the rock of Stev ... (read more)

Report this review (#21711) | Posted by | Sunday, November 14, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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