Leftoverture [Bonus Tracks]

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For any art rock band, the fourth album means it's time for a self-styled masterpiece -- if you need proof, look at Selling England by the Pound or Fragile. So, with Kansas, the most determinedly arty of all American art rock bands, they composed and recorded Leftoverture, an impenetrable conundrum of significance that's capped off by nothing less than a five-part suite, appropriately titled "Magnum Opus," and featuring such promising movement titles as "Father Padilla Meets the Perfect Gnat" and "Release the Beavers." Of course, there's no telling whether this closing opus relates to the opener, "Carry On Wayward Son," the greatest single Kansas ever cut -- a song that manages to be pompous, powerful, ridiculous, and...
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05/22/2001 CD Original recording remastered Fine Books, CDs, DVDs, Videogames, LPs & more! Fast shipping! All items guaranteed!

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide
For any art rock band, the fourth album means it's time for a self-styled masterpiece -- if you need proof, look at Selling England by the Pound or Fragile. So, with Kansas, the most determinedly arty of all American art rock bands, they composed and recorded Leftoverture, an impenetrable conundrum of significance that's capped off by nothing less than a five-part suite, appropriately titled "Magnum Opus," and featuring such promising movement titles as "Father Padilla Meets the Perfect Gnat" and "Release the Beavers." Of course, there's no telling whether this closing opus relates to the opener, "Carry On Wayward Son," the greatest single Kansas ever cut -- a song that manages to be pompous, powerful, ridiculous, and catchy all at once. That they never manage to rival it anywhere on this record is as much a testament to their crippling ambition as to their lack of skills. And it's unfair to say Kansas are unskilled, since they are certainly instrumentally proficient and they can craft songs or, rather, compositions that appear rather ambitious. Except these compositions aren't particularly complex, rhythmically or harmonically, and are in their own way as ambling as boogie rock, which still feels to be their foundation. It's not really fair to attack Kansas for a concept album with an impenetrable concept -- it's possible to listen to Lamb Lies Down on Broadway hundreds of times and not know what the hell Rael is up to -- but there are neither hooks nor true grandiosity here to make it interesting. That said, this still may be Kansas' most consistent set, outside of Point of Know Return. In 2001, Sony Music released a remastered, expanded CD edition of Leftoverture -- the sound on the latter puts it in just about the same sonic league as Rhino's expanded Yes reissues and Atlantic's Genesis remasterings. Every part of the music benefits, with a presence akin to a live performance, but the real delight is Dave Hope's bass, which is now so out there in the mix that it's like listening to John Entwistle's work on a Who album -- and around and above his instrument everything just roars out though in terms of the actual playing he could be compared more with Greg Lake from In the Court of the Crimson King or the first ELP album, or Boz Burrell's work on the harder songs from King Crimson's Islands album. In essence, a great album became an even greater CD with this release, and David Wild's essay gives some good insights into the band and the making of the record, while producer Jeff Glixman explains that the original LP was mastered to accommodate the limitations of vinyl, and the redone CD just bounds over those sonic barriers. The added treat comes in the form of a pair of bonus tracks, previously unissued live versions of "Carry On Wayward Son" and "Cheyenne Anthem," roughly contemporary with the release of the album -- neither is essential listening in terms of any revelations these guys did well in the studio, in terms of generating an exciting sound, but together they constitute a great sonic snapshot of the band at this early peak; and it's nice to know that they could capture the electric/acoustic textures of "Cheyenne Anthem," and Robbie Steinhardt's delicate singing live, even then. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine & Bruce Eder
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/22/2001
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 696998538627
  • Catalog Number: 85386

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Kansas Primary Artist
Kerry Livgren Guitar, Keyboards
Steve Walsh Organ, Synthesizer, Piano, Keyboards, Vocals, Background Vocals, Vibes
Phil Ehart Percussion, Drums
Dave Hope Bass, Bass Guitar
Toye LaRocca Vocals
Cheryl Norman Vocals
Robbie Steinhardt Violin, Viola, Vocals, Background Vocals
Rich Williams Guitar
Technical Credits
Kansas Arranger, Producer
Stephen Stills Composer
Kerry Livgren Composer
Steve Walsh Composer
Phil Ehart Composer
Jeff Glixman Producer
Dave Hope Composer
George Marino Mastering
Robbie Steinhardt Composer
David Wild Liner Notes
Rich Williams Composer
Suha Gur Mastering
Howard Fritzson Art Direction
Darcy Proper Engineer
Tom Drennon Art Direction
David McMacken Illustrations
Bill "Bleu" Evans Engineer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    American prog rock at its best

    'Leftoverture' is both Kansas' best album, and arguably America's finest prog-rock album too (something Dream Theater might attest too, themselves being the finest prog of the '90s to today). When I first heard the album, it sounded huge, majestic, powerful and all so musical -- at once an American band absorbed the best of the British prog masters (Yes, Genesis, ELP), with the best of kick-butt home-grown hard rock (Allman Bros, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Aerosmith) and of course, some Led Zeppelin thrown in for good measure. "Carry On Wayward Son" ranks as one of the best FM rock songs ever, and in a way, like Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody", is majestic, grand, and somewhat over the top and pompous ("BH" moreso than "COWS") but a seriously rockin' song that still gets you going when you first hear the first seconds of it. "The Wall" is an emotional highpoint, "Magnus Opus" is in league with any lengthy Yes or Genesis epic from 'Fragile' or 'Selling England By the Pound'. (For a great source of information on prog rock's history, 1967 to 1979, see www.strawberrybricks.com -- 'Leftoverture' can be found under '1976', in fact, Kansas represents the first American album entry)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The first time I hear the song carry on wayward son I was hook

    one of the best album's of the seventies. I place it right up there with, Boston's 'Boston' Fleetwood mac's 'Rumors' The Eagles 'Hotel California'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    this is great stuff

    This music is great. I am a big kansas fan. I love the sound of this music, it seems its better than the music thats out today.

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