Review KANSAS ‘Another Fork In The Road – 50 Years Of Kansas’

Kansas is one of the icons of progressive rock and this now for 50 years. That’s why the moment is right to look back on five decades of music that has defined progressive rock.

It all started in 1972 when Kansas was formed from a union of White Clover and Proto-Kaw. In 1974 the debut album was released and this was the starting point of a more than stunning voyage through the landscapes of progressive and at the same time rocking music.

Even if Kansas was always an album band that regularly managed to get longplayers into the US charts, it was the single hits that made the band the talk of the town. The breakthrough in their home country, but also in the UK came in 1976 with the release of the ‘Carry On Wayward Son’ single. The song brought Kansas a lot of attention and is still one of the most played songs on classic rock radio stations. Such a song has to be on a 50-year retrospective and of course got its place.

In 1978, another hit single took the charts by storm – ‘Dust in the Wind’ – and there was nothing that could stop the band. Kansas was established in the major league of progressive rock bands and what followed were longplayers of which several have been rewarded with platinum or gold.

Photo Emily Butler

Photo: Emily Butler

That the band still has a loyal fan base even after 50 years was evident last year. Kansas released with ‘The Absence of Presence’ a new studio album, which made it to position seven of the charts in Germany.

The structure of the tracklist is chronological, from new to old which means that we start with a 2022 version of ‘Can I Tell You’, followed by two songs from ‘The Absence of Presence’ longplayer.

Step by step the musical journey goes back to the early days of the band and includes all the songs that make the heart of the fans beat faster. The finale of the album is ‘Death of Mother Nature Suite’, ‘Belexes’ and ‘Journey From Mariabronn’, three tracks from the debut album. If you listen to the total of 41 songs, spread over three CDs, you will notice the continuity. Even if Kansas have evolved and have gone through different phases, the band has managed to preserve their musical roots. This constancy and the conviction to follow one’s own passion is what distinguishes Kansas and makes them an outstanding band. Even if there were a few ups and downs in these five decades, Kansas always came back stronger and it’s a pleasure to listen to the creative work of 50 years of Kansas.

Rating: 0 out of 10.

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Tracklist:

Disc 1:

  1. Can I Tell You (new 2022 version)
  2. The Absence of Presence (The Absence of Presence, 2020)
  3. Throwing Mountains (The Absence of Presence, 2020)
  4. Crowded Isolation (The Prelude Implicit, 2016)
  5. Summer (The Prelude Implicit, 2016)
  6. The Voyage of Eight Eighteen (The Prelude Implicit, 2016)
  7. Icarus II (Somewhere to Elsewhere, 2000)
  8. The Coming Dawn (Thanatopsis) (Somewhere to Elsewhere, 2000)
  9. Distant Vision (Somewhere to Elsewhere, 2000)
  10. The Wall (Always Never the Same, 1998)
  11. Dust in the Wind (Always Never the Same, 1998)
  12. Desperate Times (Freaks of Nature, 1995)
  13. Under The Knife (Freaks of Nature, 1995)

EU Version – Disc 2:

  1. House on Fire (In the Spirit of Things, 1988)
  2. Rainmaker (In the Spirit of Things, 1988)
  3. Silhouettes in Disguise (Power, 1986)
  4. Secret Service (Power, 1986)
  5. Three Pretenders (Power, 1986)
  6. End of the Age (Drastic Measures, 1983)
  7. Incident on a Bridge (Drastic Measures, 1983)
  8. Play the Game Tonight (Vinyl Confessions, 1982)
  9. Crossfire (Vinyl Confessions, 1982)
  10. Windows (Vinyl Confessions, 1982)
  11. Hold On (Audio-Visions, 1980)
  12. Loner (Audio-Visions, 1980)
  13. No One Together (Audio-Visions, 1980)
  14. On The Other Side (Monolith, 1979)
  15. How My Soul Cries Out For You (Monolith, 1979)

North America Version – Disc 2:

  1. Fight Fire With Fire (Drastic Measures, 1983)
  2. End of the Age (Drastic Measures, 1983)
  3. Incident on a Bridge (Drastic Measures, 1983)
  4. Play the Game Tonight (Vinyl Confessions, 1982)
  5. Crossfire (Vinyl Confessions, 1982)
  6. Windows (Vinyl Confessions, 1982)
  7. Hold On (Audio-Visions, 1980)
  8. Loner (Audio-Visions, 1980)
  9. No One Together (Audio-Visions, 1980)
  10. Curtain of Iron (Audio-Visions, 1980)
  11. On The Other Side (Monolith, 1979)
  12. Angels Have Fallen (Monolith, 1979)
  13. How My Soul Cries Out For You (Monolith, 1979)

Disc 3:

  1. Carry On Wayward Son (Two for the Show, 1978)
  2. Portrait (He Knew) (Point of Know Return, 1977)
  3. Sparks of the Tempest (Point of Know Return, 1977)
  4. Miracles Out of Nowhere (Leftoverture, 1976)
  5. Magnum Opus (Leftoverture, 1976)
  6. Icarus – Borne On Wings of Steel (Masque, 1975)
  7. Child of Innocence (Masque, 1975)
  8. Down The Road (Song for America, 1975)
  9. Song For America (Song for America, 1975)
  10. The Devil Game (Song for America, 1975)
  11. Death of Mother Nature Suite (Kansas, 1974)
  12. Belexes (Kansas, 1974)
  13. Journey From Mariabronn (Kansas, 1974)

Label: Inside Out Music

Genre: Progressive Rock

Release Date EU: December 9th, 2022

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