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Symphonic Prog • United States

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

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

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

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

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Buy KANSAS Music

The Best of KansasThe Best of Kansas
Reissued · Remastered · Extra tracks
Legacy 1999
$2.58 (used)
Legacy 2011
$7.61 (used)
Point Of Know ReturnPoint Of Know Return
Legacy 2013
$6.99 (used)
Song For AmericaSong For America
Legacy 2008
$7.61 (used)
5cd Original Album Classics (Kansas/ Song For America/Masque/Leftoverture /Point Of Know Return)5cd Original Album Classics (Kansas/ Song For America/Masque/Leftoverture /Point Of Know Return)
Box set
Sony Music Canada Inc. 2011
$39.09 (used)
Legacy 2008
$4.99 (used)
Legacy 2008
$7.00 (used)
The Best Of Kansas (180 Gram Red Audiophile Vinyl/Limited Anniversary Edition/Gatefold Cover)The Best Of Kansas (180 Gram Red Audiophile Vinyl/Limited Anniversary Edition/Gatefold Cover)
Limited Edition
Friday Music 2018
$39.44 (used)
Legacy 2008
$7.61 (used)
Playlist: The Very Best of KansasPlaylist: The Very Best of Kansas
Legacy 2015
$2.13 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
KANSAS - Masque - CD - Original Recording Remastered - *BRAND NEW/STILL SEALED* USD $27.95 Buy It Now
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Two For The Show By Kansas (Vinyl 1978 2-LP CBS) Used Original 33 Album VG+ USD $14.95 Buy It Now 8m 48s
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NM 1986 Kansas Power LP Album USD $5.99 Buy It Now 23m 31s
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Buck Owens And His Buckaroos The Kansas City Song 8 Track Tape USD $6.99 Buy It Now 46m 1s
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EARL SCRUGGS AND THE EARL SCRUGGS REVIEW Live At Kansas State LP bluegrass 1972 USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1h 50m
Gerania Club - Kansas City - Annemarie & Friends 20 German Folksongs - CASSETTE USD $5.99 [0 bids]
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Kansas - Leftoverture 886978798626 (CD Used Very Good) USD $5.63 Buy It Now 2h 19m
American Voices: Copland, Bernstein Symphonic Dances; Kansas City Symphony; 1994 USD $3.99 Buy It Now 2h 29m
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Kansas (Expanded Edition) CD USD $7.28 Buy It Now 3h 37m
KANSAS Point of Know Return CD ZK34929 USD $4.00 Buy It Now 3h 47m
Richard Ross : Coming From Kansas City CD Dutch A 1996 CD USD $15.61 Buy It Now 4h 25m
KANSAS Audio-Visions 1980 UK vinyl LP EXCELLENT CONDITION original USD $14.72 Buy It Now 5h 8m
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Kansas City Frank Melrose - Jelly Roll Stomp, Rare & Unissued Recordings (CD) USD $3.68 Buy It Now 6h 11m
BENNIE MOTEN'S KANSAS CITY ORCHESTRA K.C Jazz Rca Victor Mono vinyl LP USD $6.14 Buy It Now 6h 19m
Kansas Masque 1975 Kirshner Records Vinyl LP Progressive Rock Walsh USD $4.00 Buy It Now 6h 29m
Live at the Whisky by Kansas USD $7.34 Buy It Now 6h 33m
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KANSAS - Masque - Vinyl (LP) USD $25.40 Buy It Now 6h 48m
Kansas - The Best Of Kansas [CD] USD $6.52 Buy It Now 7h 13m
RADIOACTIVE Four + 1 JAPAN CD Kansas Fergie Frederiksen Toto Survivor Giuffria USD $24.50 Buy It Now 7h 14m
KANSAS - CUTTINGS PACK (REF X6) USD $8.53 Buy It Now 7h 17m
Kansas EP Wolfgang Press UK 12" vinyl single record (Maxi) BAD902 4AD 1989 USD $17.11 Buy It Now 7h 21m
KANSAS THE BEST OF 1975-1984 CASSETTE 1984 HR 7301 USD $6.08 Buy It Now 7h 32m
Point Of Know Return By Kansas On Audio CD Album 2013 Brand New USD $7.65 Buy It Now 7h 39m
1976's Max's Kansas City Various-Punk & New Wave vinyl LP album record USA USD $51.18 Buy It Now 7h 46m
1st by Streets ?(LP, 1983 Atlantic, Canada, 78 01171, Steve Walsh Kansas) USD $18.82 Buy It Now 8h 12m
KANSAS Monolith 1979 VINYL LP CBS FZ 36008 w Lyric Inner Sleeve STERLING USD $4.00 Buy It Now 8h 21m
Count Basie vinyl LP album record Kansas City Shout - Red Vinyl USA D2310859 USD $32.77 Buy It Now 8h 22m
Kansas Monolith 1979 Press, ULTRASONIC CLEANED, VG++ USD $6.80 Buy It Now 8h 23m
Pharmacy - 1 Hitter Quitter. 1999 Midwest Kansas Gangsta / G Funk. Big Shady Oop USD $15.50 [2 bids]
8h 47m
KANSAS - Point of Know Return - (Kirshner,1977) Vinyl LP VG USD $5.99 Buy It Now 8h 47m
Monolith Kansas UK vinyl LP album record KIR83644 KIRSHNER 1979 USD $19.58 Buy It Now 8h 51m
Veteran Click - The Day We Worldwide. Rare 1999 Midwest Kansas G Funk / Gangsta. USD $9.99 [1 bids]
8h 59m
The Velvet Underground - Live At Max's Kansas City (Remastered) [CD] USD $13.62 Buy It Now 9h 26m
4 LPs ALICE COOPER Goes to Hell Rod Stewert Kansas Masque Jethro Tull War Child USD $10.00 [0 bids]
9h 40m
Kansas City 1986 King Biscuit Flower Hour USD $36.39 Buy It Now 9h 43m
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Kansas "Song For America" 1975 Rock LP Vinyl Lonely Street Devil Game Down Road USD $6.99 Buy It Now 10h 22m
KANSAS " PLAY THE GAME TONIGHT " 7" PROMO SINGLE KIR A2408 GOOD ( 1982 ) USD $3.67 Buy It Now 10h 48m
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Kansas point of know return LP VG++ 1977 Kirschner USD $9.00 Buy It Now 11h 15m
Kansas ?- Point Of Know Return Vinyl LP Friday Music ?2010 NEW/SEALED USD $23.71 Buy It Now 11h 19m
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Kansas-Works In Progress (#55) USD $35.00 Buy It Now 11h 27m
NEW The Holly and the Ivy ~ Connie Dover and the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra C USD $13.85 Buy It Now 11h 32m
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Leftoverture Kansas Vinyl Record USD $29.40 Buy It Now 11h 43m
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lot of 8 vinyl lp records 1970s 1980s Kansas Procol Harem Johnny Van Zant  more USD $7.99 [0 bids]
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KANSAS Drastic Measures 1983 CBS LP BL 38733 EXC-/EXC w/lyric sleeve USD $8.50 Buy It Now 12h 8m
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Kansas-Masque (1LP Coloured) VINYL NEW USD $32.45 Buy It Now 12h 34m
Lander Ballard HIGHTIME Freewind LP SEALED 1977 Private Folk Psych SSW Kansas M- USD $15.98 Buy It Now 12h 37m
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Kansas - the Prelude Implicit CD #106112 USD $17.31 Buy It Now 12h 54m
KANSAS CITY BRASS - A Kansas City Christmas - CD - **Mint Condition** USD $24.75 Buy It Now 12h 57m
BLEEDING KANSAS Dead Under Decor CD USD $3.00 Buy It Now 13h
KANSAS Leftoverture JAPAN CD MHCP-439 2004 NEW USD $47.37 Buy It Now 13h 4m
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KANSAS discography

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

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

3.98 | 582 ratings
4.14 | 683 ratings
Song For America
3.65 | 511 ratings
4.22 | 1079 ratings
4.16 | 752 ratings
Point Of Know Return
3.22 | 357 ratings
3.04 | 277 ratings
2.70 | 217 ratings
Vinyl Confessions
2.20 | 204 ratings
Drastic Measures
2.70 | 223 ratings
2.85 | 190 ratings
In The Spirit Of Things
3.23 | 201 ratings
Freaks Of Nature
3.39 | 136 ratings
Always Never The Same
3.50 | 252 ratings
Somewhere To Elsewhere
3.80 | 257 ratings
The Prelude Implicit

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

4.31 | 242 ratings
Two for the Show
2.92 | 50 ratings
Kansas - Live at the Whiskey
2.67 | 41 ratings
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Kansas (1989)
2.19 | 16 ratings
Live: Dust In The Wind
4.03 | 66 ratings
Device, Voice, Drum
2.26 | 12 ratings
Dust In The Wind
1.83 | 10 ratings
From The Front Row...Live!
2.23 | 11 ratings
Greatest Hits Live (Kansas)
4.13 | 56 ratings
There's Know Place Like Home
4.31 | 13 ratings
Bryn Mawr 1976
2.65 | 7 ratings
Carry on for no Return
4.33 | 21 ratings
Leftoverture Live & Beyond

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

3.28 | 14 ratings
Best Of Kansas Live (VHS) (aka Live Confessions DVD)
4.22 | 64 ratings
Device - Voice - Drum (DVD)
4.59 | 58 ratings
There´s Know Place Like Home (DVD)
4.24 | 18 ratings
Miracles Out Of Nowhere

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

2.54 | 76 ratings
The Best of Kansas
3.83 | 45 ratings
The Ultimate Kansas Box Set
3.13 | 14 ratings
The Definitive Collection
3.26 | 43 ratings
The Best of Kansas (1999)
1.43 | 9 ratings
Extended Versions
3.93 | 35 ratings
The Ultimate Kansas
4.25 | 8 ratings
Closet Chronicles - The Best of Kansas
4.16 | 6 ratings
Dust In The Wind
4.18 | 34 ratings
Sail On: The 30th Anniversary Collection 1974-2004
2.97 | 8 ratings
On The Other Side
2.50 | 9 ratings
Works In Progress
4.17 | 19 ratings
Original Album Classics
3.76 | 5 ratings
The Music of Kansas
4.38 | 15 ratings
The Classic Albums Collection 1974-1983

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

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

KANSAS Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Monolith by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.22 | 357 ratings

Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by stevoz

4 stars A lot of pompous twat amongst some of these 'reviews'.....looks like many have followed the 'Rolling Stone' trend of belittling fine efforts to raise one's own ego. This is a fine album.....sure, it's not up there with 'Leftoverture' or "Point Of No Return" but it is fine album nonetheless......superbly played. A departure from their full on prog of previous albums, it shows a progreesion (or regression) towards a more radio friendly style but still captures all the things which make Kansas great.....mucisianship, song craft and dynamism.....and who cares about lyrics? It's all about the music and this album delivers more than enough to entertain.....except to those pompous enough to think they can do better.....which they can't. A solid four stars from me.
 Leftoverture by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.22 | 1079 ratings

Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by dougmcauliffe

5 stars I credit this with being my gateway to prog. Very strong album, lets go track by track

Carry On My Wayward Son: alright so here's the radio hit, ignoring the fact that the radio has played it to death. Its a very good song. The verse is very strong and the chorus is extremely catchy 8/10

The Wall: I love this tune, just typing this now makes me want to hear it. It's quite inspirational and important to me. The ending peaks strongly. 9/10

Whats On My Mind: Probably my least favorite on the album but that doesn't take away any from it. A very fine prog/pop tune. The verse is quite nice, just falls short compared to the rest of the album. 7.5/10

Miracles Out of Nowhere: Awesome song, the acoustic intro and dueling vocals open the song. We are then hit with an instrumental interlude where the band unleashes all their power. 9/10

Opus Insert: I'm unsure if there is any relation between this and Magnum Opus but whatever. Very catchy song with great instrumentation and a great ending 8/10

Questions of My Childhood: A shorter track but I quite like this one. Its closer to prog pop once again. The intro and verse are great, Walsh's vocals are fantastic here (Better of with you) part. Very good song 8/10

Cheyanne Anthem: Talk about ending on a strong note, this song is beautiful and in my top 3 Kansas songs. We open with an acoustic guitar with Robby taking the lead on vocals, we are then hit by a chilling piano and Walsh's vocals. The story and message is easily taken in. Kansas once again shows their abilities half way through with an extended instrumental section. Afterwards the acoustic guitar fades back in with Robby coming back on vocals. What pushes this into masterpiece territory is the soaring violin ending. 10/10

Magnum Opus: Kansas goes balls to the wall with their abilities. I only wish it was longer. The intro and howling at the moon are my two favorite sections but I love every part. 9.5/10

Average:8.625=4 Stars

gonna bump it to 5 stars due to its significance to me

 Song For America by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.14 | 683 ratings

Song For America
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by dougmcauliffe

4 stars One of the albums that helped get me into prog. It has incredible highs on side one but a couple just okay tracks on side 2

Down the Road: a headbanging boogie rockin' opener. The band is extremely tight and fast paced here. 8/10

Song For America: this song is brilliant and imo the best American prog song ever. Everything from the vocals to violin to keyboards is simply perfection. The message is quite clear and that intro is too damn catchy 10/10

Lamplight Symphony: For the one two punch we have these two. Lamplight symphony is also a masterpiece and very close to Song For America. Chilling vocals by walsh and a heavy hard hitting interlude. Essential. 10/10

Lonely Street: I always wonder what this album would be like if Livgren wrote all of it. This isn't a bad track but it kinda drags compared to the great songs we just heard. Interesting story, good instrumentation 5.5/10

The Devil Game: Pretty good track again written by Walsh. It gets a little old but its fun. Some nice heavy sections. 6.5/10

Incomudro: Back to the epics we came for. Awesome song back in the style of Lamplight Symphony. Beautiful verse and interlude. We are treated with a drum solo that ends explosively. A good ending. 9/10

Average= 8.16 = 4 stars

 The Prelude Implicit by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.80 | 257 ratings

The Prelude Implicit
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars "What a comeback album!"

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

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

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

 The Prelude Implicit by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.80 | 257 ratings

The Prelude Implicit
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

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

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

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

 Point Of Know Return by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.16 | 752 ratings

Point Of Know Return
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

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

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

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

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

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

 Leftoverture by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.22 | 1079 ratings

Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Masque by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.65 | 511 ratings

Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

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

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

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

 Kansas by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.98 | 582 ratings

Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

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

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

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

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

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

 Point Of Know Return by KANSAS album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.16 | 752 ratings

Point Of Know Return
Kansas Symphonic Prog

Review by Lupton

5 stars Kansas- Point Of Know Return

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

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

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

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

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

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