480. Audio Visions – Kansas

AUDIO-VISIONS (1980)

Kansas

The last album to feature the original (at least recorded version) members of Kansas. It is also the first “post-conversion” Kansas album for band leader Kerry Livgren. Lead singer Steve Walsh would soon leave the band to pursue solo ventures. It was also considered that his departure was influenced by the increasing Christian content presented by Livgren and supported by two other recent Christian converts in the band.

The album shows a disjointed vision with Livgren’s distinctly Christian content and Walsh’s decidedly worldly lyrical influence. But Walsh was a very special vocalist and hearing him sing Livgren’s work is compelling. He also stayed around long enough to work on the demos for the follow-up album (Vinyl Confessions) and I do have copies of those demos.

AV has all the trademarks and trappings of Kansas with progressive, classically influenced rock epics filled with progressive time signature changes, creative arrangements, violin interludes and thought provoking lyrical images. It also contains what could be Livgren’s finest Christian song on a Kansas project,  No One Together. Clocking in at nearly seven minutes this song should rank along with Portrait (He Knew), Song For America, Journey from Mariabronn and Magnum Opus in Kansas “epic” lore.

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  1. Brian
    October 16, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Now if you were gong to bring in Kansas, I would have to rearrange by listings. Kansas is my all time favorite band BEFORE I was a Christian. So when a friend told me that Kansas was “Christian” (actually it was this album), I said “No they are not”.
    This album, was released in 1980. I was saved in 1981; and I cannot tell how important this band (and Kerry Livgren, Dave Hope, et al) became to me and many Christians. My favorite band was singing about CHRIST WHOM I just received. I had a friend along for the journey.
    For the album, it was probably the height of Steve Walsh’s vocal performances before it would decline. The album was created in an era of much friction within the band, the drums were too far present in the mix, but once you heard the opening riff of RELENTLESS, it had you and you listened to the whole thing. HOLD ON would break into the top 25 hit list of the day. And while the band was in the early stages of transformation, this one displayed several great examples of songwriting.

  2. September 16, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Kansas came to me as a surprise. I had the albums “Leftoverture” and “Point of Know Return” – then I decided to have a look to their Christian years because of this TOP500 list. I was surprised how awesome the songs were. This album has the songs like “Hold on”, “No One Together”…and my favorite “Curtain of Iron”. Too bad that they decided to continue without their lead singer – and replace him with Elefante.

  3. January 10, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Relentless and Hold On, two of my most favorite Kansas songs!

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