YEAR RELEASED: 1974
CHART ACTION: #174
SINGLES: Can I Tell You, Bringing It Back
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: To even chart, this had to get some airplay somewhere, but for the life of me I don’t know what songs they would have played except the singles.
LINEUP: Steve Walsh, Kerry Livgren, Robby Steinhardt, Dave Hope, Rick Williams, Phil Ehart.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Two bands come together to form one unit, but combining the two results in an uneven debut.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: When you think of Kansas, you think of ornate songs with progressive rock undertones and pop hooks. Oh, and “Dust in the Wind”. Deep cuts on their popular albums show their progressive side a great deal – long cuts mining all of the prog rock tricks.
This album, taken from the repertoire of bands that Livgren and Walsh led, sounds a bit patched together. Its proggy songs don’t have great hooks, and the more mainstream rock songs also don’t excite the listener. Frankly, Walsh’s song aren’t really up to scratch in my ears, while Livgren’s progressive rock songs show off Kansas in a better form.
It’s definitely a mixed bag, and you can afford to be selective.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: A writing credit leaves me to believe that Walsh, Hope and Ehart were in one band, while Livgren, Steinhardt and Williams were in the other.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: One bonus cut – an overly long live version of a JJ Cale song which is one of the ones I’m exiling.
GRADE: B-: I’m keeping six of the eight, and they range from OK to pretty good. They were OK as a prog rock band though they did show off a bit outside of a song’s context.