Kansas (Kansas album)

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Kansas
Studio album by Kansas
Released March 1974
Recorded 1973 at Record Plant Studios "A" and "C", New York
Genre Progressive rock
Length 45:01
Label Kirshner
Legacy/Epic
Producer Wally Gold
Kansas chronology
Kansas
(1974)
Song for America
(1975)
Singles from Kansas
  1. "Can I Tell You"
    Released: 1974 (1974)
  2. "Bringing It Back"
    Released: 1975 (1975)

Kansas is the self-titled debut album by American progressive rock band Kansas, released in 1974. The album was reissued in remastered format on CD in 2004. [1] A remastered version of the album appeared on vinyl in 2014.

Kansas's debut album followed the merging of two Topeka musical camps: Kerry Livgren, from a previous Kansas line-up, and White Clover, which played mainstream rock and blues. The newly formed group signed with Kirshner Records in 1973 and traveled to New York to record their first release. The material on Kansas, written mostly by guitarist/keyboardist Livgren and vocalist/keyboardist Steve Walsh, had been culled from the repertoire of both groups. Livgren's songs were generally longer and more elaborate than Walsh's and featured mystical lyrics which reflected his intense interest in Eastern religions. "Journey from Mariabronn" was inspired by Hermann Hesse's Narcissus and Goldmund, while "Belexes" and "Aperçu" were influenced by the pseudo-Asian sound of Giacomo Puccini's Turandot.

Kansas was promoted by print advertisements which included the tagline "Kansas is Koming." A promotional 7-inch single titled "Man the Stormcellars: Kansas is Koming!" was sent to radio stations and featured an announcer hyping the album. Two 7-inch singles were released: "Can I Tell You" and "Lonely Wind." Both failed to chart, though a live version of "Lonely Wind" (from the double-live album Two for the Show) did reach the Top 100 in early 1979.

Artwork[edit]

The album cover depicts abolitionist John Brown in a scene from Tragic Prelude, a mural by Kansas native John Steuart Curry. The original mural is painted on a wall at the Kansas State Capitol in Topeka. The album cover image is severely discolored and cropped to show less than half of the painting.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars [2]

Allmusic's retrospective review gave the nod to the band's mix of progressive rock and boogie rock as being unique, but contended that it also makes them less interesting than other progressive rock bands. They also criticized their ambitiousness as being overdone: "there're a lot of scales and arpeggios, galloping triplets, dramatic organ, and stately ballads that signify nothing and go nowhere."[2]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. "Can I Tell You"   Rich Williams, Phil Ehart, Dave Hope, Steve Walsh Steinhardt and Walsh 3:32
2. "Bringing it Back"   J.J. Cale Steinhardt 3:33
3. "Lonely Wind"   Steve Walsh Walsh 4:16
4. "Belexes"   Kerry Livgren Walsh 4:23
5. "Journey from Mariabronn"   Kerry Livgren, Steve Walsh Walsh 7:55
6. "The Pilgrimage"   Kerry Livgren, Steve Walsh Walsh 3:42
7. "Aperçu"   Kerry Livgren, Steve Walsh Steinhardt and Walsh 9:54
8. "Death of Mother Nature Suite"   Kerry Livgren Steinhardt 7:43

Personnel[edit]

Production[edit]

  • Producer: Wally Gold
  • Engineer: Dan Turbeville
  • Assistant Engineers: Kevin "Whip" Herron & Jimmy "Shoes" Iovine
  • Mastering: Tom Rabstenek & Greg Caldi
  • Cover Design: Ed Lee
  • Painting: John Steuart Curry
  • Back cover photo: Don Hunstein

Chart positions[edit]

Album - Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1974 Pop Albums 174

references[edit]

  1. ^ Discogs - 21 released versions of the Kansas album
  2. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Allmusic review". Allmusic. All Media Guide. Retrieved 2011-06-15.