Introducing One of Prog-Rock's Most Unique Bands
Bud | Seminole, Texas, USA | 12/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the passion-play of progressive rock, there are several unique (and odd) characters, but one of the most original in this field is Kansas. This six-man band brought about an honest image of innocence, of midwest farmboys dying to break out of "one of the most non-musical places" in the world and express their perplexing, challenging blend of hard blues-rock and a love for British prog-rock. Their self-titled 1974 debut worked as a bridge connecting these two wildly different fields, with both punchy rock numbers and grandeuresque prog pieces that would have drawn confused stares from barroom patrons.
After kicking off with 'Can I Tell You,' a song that, thirty years later, can be used to address America in our Iraq War situation, "Kansas" pulls some grand tricks even when performing blues-rock like the cover of 'Bringing It Back.' Meanwhile 'The Pilgrimage' is the only prog-rock song on the album that could have safely been performed in a midwestern bar, with Robbie Steinhardt's aggressive violin work (which would become one of the band's trademarks). But the other tracks are progressive rock at its most genuine; 'Belexes,' 'Apercu,' and 'Journey From Mariabronn' are gutsy moves, the bravest piece on the album being the lengthy, doleful 'Death of Mother Nature Suite,' an angry sermon for the modern world. All of this is balanced by the sad, wonderfully sung 'Lonely Wind.'
Devised by the songwriting of Kerry Livgren and Steve Walsh and accented by a six-man attack, "Kansas" is stunning by itself, but for a debut album it is even more amazing; the music is tightly arranged and performed with hard-eyed perfectionism that one would usually only find in veteran performers. As hinted at by the ominous album cover depicting abolitionist John Brown, Kansas would become a progressive rock force to be reckoned with, and sooner than anyone would have thought."
Exellent Album Cover!
Dave Keener | Pittsburgh, PA United States | 05/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a musician. I have the album. When I got it on CD, it SOUNDED better. Kansas IS a great progressive hard rock band. I still get the chillswhen "Can I Tell You" comes on. 30 years, and it still rocks!"