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The Essential Kansas

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Album Review

Epic/Legacy's double-disc set The Essential Kansas pretty much fulfills the promise of its title. Although it doesn't delve into the group's latter-day recordings for MCA and other labels, that's not a problem because most listeners — whether they're fairweather or dedicated fans — will want to concentrate on the group's peak in the '70s, which is precisely what this does. Over the course of 26 tracks, all the hits and album-oriented radio staples are featured, usually in their full-length album versions, plus a number of fan favorites and key album tracks that help draw a full picture of what the group did. The remastered and expanded single-disc The Best of Kansas remains the best bet for the casual fan, since it has all the big hits on one disc, but anybody seeking to dig deeper than the hits and radio favorites — without actually hearing the original albums — should turn here, since its selection and sound is better than the three-disc box.

Biography

Formed: 1970 in Topeka, KS

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Fusing the complexity of British prog rock with an American heartland sound representative of their name, Kansas were among the most popular bands of the late '70s; though typically dismissed by critics, many of the group's hits remain staples of AOR radio playlists to this day. Formed in Topeka in 1970, the founding members of the group — guitarist Kerry Livgren, bassist Dave Hope, and drummer Phil Ehart — first played together while in high school; with the 1971 addition of classically...
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The Essential Kansas, Kansas
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