Home > CCM, Christian Music, Christian Pop, Christian Rock, Greatest Albums, Jesus Music > 146. Vinyl Confessions – Kansas

146. Vinyl Confessions – Kansas

VINYL CONFESSIONS (1982)

Kansas

After over a decade on maintaining virtually the same line-up the super-group Kansas went through a major overhaul with the departure of lead vocalist Steve Walsh and the recent public declarations of Christian faith by band members Kerry Livgren, Dave Hope and Phil Ehart. Though the three were Christian on the previous release, with the departure of Walsh the songwriting of Livgren came front and center.

The search for a new singer landed the band an amazing vocalist named John Elefante. Elefante was playing drums and singing at the time for a Christian band called Sojourn. The facts of his Christian beliefs did not come to the bands attention until after he had signed on. Elefante was also a songwriter (along with his brother Dino) and now Livgren had a partner who also shared his faith.

After the rather choppy (lyrically) but still satisfying “Audio Vision” the band created the best of the “Christian Years” album with Vinyl Confessions. Oddly enough, the biggest hit from the album would be written by one time vocalist for Petra and popular CCM singer-songwriter Rob Frazier. Small world.

But the best the album had to offer would come from the pen of Kerry Livgren now that his artistic freedom would be matched by a maturing faith. Side One always felt like an attempt at pop/rock music radio success with a much more comemrcial appeal while Side Two reflected the bands more progressive past.

Side two would also provide two of Livgren’s finest Christian works. “windows” may be the shortest progressive rock song ever at just 3 minutes and 30 seconds, but retains all that makes progressive rock so intriguing to its fans. But it would be Crossfire that remain the truly great progressive rock anthem from this album. Beautiful, stirring, progressive and simply amazing. This musical direction would be much more realized on several of the AD projects.

Livgren and Elefante would only ever collaborate exclusively together on one song. That song is “Play On” and one that should have found some rock radio success if only it was 1978. Livgren would begin pulling away from the band with the follow-up as he wrote on three songs and did not record with the rest of the band. At this point his efforts were geared toward AD and, as a result, Elefante would take over the band for “Drastic Measures,” the last album before the return of Walsh and official departure of Livgren.

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  1. February 23, 2011 at 2:52 am

    “Crossfire” is easily my favorite Kansas song of all time! Another fine song from this album is “Chasing Shadows” which was impressive, though some would probably argue was simply Livgren’s attend to write “Dust In The Wind” part 2.

  2. Wayne
    February 27, 2011 at 1:16 am

    “Crossfire” is my favorite song too.

    I remember listening to Casey Kasem on American Top 40 as “Play The Game Tonight” was going up the charts. I was so disappointed that it didn’t make it into the top 10 (it peaked at 17), but it was still exciting to hear your favorite band on the radio.

  3. Don
    April 8, 2011 at 4:40 am

    My favorite album of the 80’s

  4. September 16, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    At first I was disappointed when I heard that this album was sung by John Elefante. I liked Steve Walsh’s voice very much. When I listened to this album closely – I found it even better than “Audio-Visions”. The songs “Play the Game Tonight”, “Borderline” and “Crossfire” are easily my favorites from here. I bought the remastered version – amazing! I don’t know what they were thinking while making “Drastic Measures” but that was a huge fall.

  5. Greenchili
    December 31, 2011 at 7:03 am

    I’ve actually had this one for some time now. It was only this year that I got of my tush and listened to it. Took a couple listens to get my mind into that “progressive rock” state of mind. But anyways.. it’s a really good album. “Chasing Shadows” does kinda have a “Dust In The Wind” feel to it.

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