Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Similarly Requested CDs
KANSAS Music that Definitely Grows on You
Richard Thompson | El Paso, Texas | 03/29/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"KANSAS - Freaks of Nature (1995) (*** ) 9 tracks (45:22)
Freaks of Nature is not an album that I went out purchased. I actually acquired it quite by accident. I had purchased a 2-disc Import of what I thought was Live KANSAS music featuring the London Symphony Orchestra. To my surprise, the second disc was studio material. I later figured out it was Freaks of Nature (see my review of Dust in the Wind by KANSAS).
I listened to the disc maybe once, and then forgot about it. I was much too busy enjoying all the newly remastered versions of KANSAS's first 5 albums. This 1995 release just couldn't compete with that. But, after a few years, I decided to do a comprehensive review of all the KANSAS albums I owned. This brought me back to Freaks of Nature again, and this time I began to "appreciate" some of the songs on here. Like some other reviewers have noted, the opening track, I Can Fly, is pretty bad. Once you get passed it, there are some really good modern KANSAS tunes here. I enjoyed Desperate Times, Hope Once Again, Black Fathom Four, the title track, and especially Peaceful And Warm. The last track is very reminiscent of early KANSAS, beginning with acoustic guitar and violin.
Since I don't own a regular release version, I don't know what band members contributed to this exactly, but here are the line-up changes as I understand: they had Dave Ragsdale playing violin, Billy Greer on bass, and Greg Robert playing additional keyboards. Luckily, we also have Steve Walsh back on vocals, along with other original members Rich Williams (guitar) and Phil Ehart (drums). Just no Kerry Livgren, but he had not been with the band for about 10 years now.
I can only recommend this to KANSAS fans. The band's best work is by far their first 5 years of output. But, if you grew up listening to the early KANSAS and are longing for more music, this is a nice addition to your collection. There are some real gems here, just not as "classic" as the early stuff.
Best tracks: Peaceful And Warm & Black Fathom Four
Goobie Doober | New York, NY | 07/31/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Oh my God, how is this album not one of their best sellers? "Freaks of Nature" is fantastic, amazing! This album sounds more like the Kansas of the 70s -- as does "Somewhere to Elsewhere", their 2000 album -- which is a revisit to the classic Kansas sound. In listening to it, I honestly thought I was hearing a Kansas album from the era of "Point of Know Return."
Firstly, skip track # 1, "I Can Fly." It's so bad it'll give you nightmares. Afterwards, every single track is amazing.
"Black Fathom 4" is a rockin' piece, with great harmonies.
"Need" is a very nice ballad with some good strength to it.
"Freaks of Nature" -- another rockin' piece.
"Cold Grey Morning" -- the only piece written by Kerry Livgren, who, by this time, hadn't been with the band for years. It's a wonderful classic prog rock piece.
And then there's the last track, "Peaceful and Warm," a true epic written by Steve Walsh. The first half is great prog, with the second half one of the most gorgeous sounds and melodies anyone has ever produced. Ragsdale makes the violin sing beautifully in this song. Pure Heaven.
The vocals -- although an element of rasp is there at times, they are for the most part gorgeous. I hardly notice the rasp as I'm enjoying the sound so greatly. The drumming -- well, Phil Ehart is one of the most underrated drummers in all of modern music. The keyboards and guitars and the significant bass -- all superb.
I am a Kansas fan going back to the very beginning, having been a tremendous fan of their early work from the 70s, not so much a fan of their 80s violin-free songs (which are more geared to radio play). This album, as I said, sounds like it came right out of the late 70s for Kansas, almost like a sister album to "Point of Know Return."
Get it, share it, spread the word. Honest to God, this should be one of their top sellers."
Bill | Washington - State | 10/12/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The past is gone so why try to compare this to those albums from the band's golden years. Throw away the first song and what remains here is great stuff. My favorite song here is Black Fathom with it's angry 'sign of the times' flavor. Other outstanding highlights are Under the Knife, Cold Grey Morning and Peaceful and Warm."