KANSAS – In The Spirit Of Things [Japan Limited Edition SHM-CD remastered] Out of Print

KANSAS - In The Spirit Of Things [Remastered] Limited Edition Japan SHM-CD / UICY-75138
Limited Edition Japan SHM-CD / UICY-75138

Appeared in Japan-only in a Limited Edition SHM-CD and already out-of-print, this version of KANSAS“In The Spirit Of Things” deserves a hunt-down as seems to be the only remastered version of this album. This one was the last KANSAS album recorded in the ’80s, and for our melodious ears, one of the best of their entire career.
A year and a half after the original Kansas disbanded at the end of 1983, former lead singer and keyboardist Steve Walsh returned to revive the group along with original band members Phil Ehart and Rich Williams. Bass player and vocalist Billy Greer (who had worked with Walsh in the AOR band Streets after he left Kansas in 1981) completed the new line-up with guitarist Steve Morse (Dixie Dregs and later Deep Purple), who added a heavier, rockier sound to the band’s music. The debut from this new line-up was the rocking ‘Power’ in 1986.

Their record label wanted a commercial, mainstream sounding follow-up, so for “In The Spirit Of Things” external contributors were brought to the table.
In first place, we have mighty Canadian Bob Ezrin (Kiss, Alice Cooper, The Babys), who not only produced but also co-arranged and co-written, helped on many tracks by another white-glove producer; Greg Ladanyi (Toto, Eric Martin, Asia).
Add to this tracks penned by Mark Spiro, Dan Huff (Giant), Bruce Gaitsch (Richard Marx, King of Hearts) and Marc Jordan, and there’s no need to tell you that this recording is clearly ’80s AOR oriented.

“In The Spirit Of Things” (1988) has the crisp, lush, huge, typically big-budget ’80s sound we all love.
But while ‘Power’ basically rocked hard in a high tempo throughout, this is a more mellow and reflective affair, balanced with many semi-midtempo AOR tunes, rockers and some ballads. And truly good ones.

The mellow nature of the album is revealed right from the start with the excellent “Ghosts”, a slow and beautiful piano-based ballad which explodes at the end, featuring a fantastic vocal performance by Walsh.
But next track is a bombastic AOR-rocker with on-top drums, a swirling guitar and excellent vocal arrangements, complete with a choir; “Inside Of Me” is one of my favorites, a mid-tempo poppy AOR showcasing Walsh’s strongest vocals in years, as well as showing the band’s ability for razor-sharp execution and catchy choruses.

Then arrives our pick of the album; “One Man, One Heart” was written by Mark Spiro / Dan Huff, so expect a monster AOR song with great atmospherics and a refrain to die for. I bet many classic AOR fans never heard this track. Never is too late. Seriously, one of the Best AOR songs of the ’80s, an absolute winner.
They keep the uptempo pace for the moment with “House On Fire”. Here the Hammond organ is brought in, and the guitar sounds more like it did on the Power album. A strong rocker with killer dynamics.
“Once in a Lifetime” slow things down with a reflective acoustic guitar, that picks up during the chorus into a melodic rock backbone melody.

With “Stand Beside Me”, written by the duo Marc Jordan & Bruce Gaitsch, we have (obviously) a poppy melodic AOR tune. The chorus is simply delicious. The muscular proggy AOR of “I Counted On Love” is another high point in the album.
“The Preacher” has a cool bluesy hard rockin’ structure with some solid riffs, and the melodies are quite memorable. The chorus adds lots of harmony layers via elaborated backing vocals.

For the remaining tracks, Kansas has reserved space for a crossover with the ‘new’ sound of the band with their classic style. “Rainmaker” is epic and dramatic, with Walsh singing in great form over the choir, telling a haunting story. Heavier proggy instrumentation follows, with an awesome guitar / keyboard work. Terrific track.
“T.O. Witcher” is a terse acoustic short guitar piece, nostalgic and appealing, showing Morse’s ability and class with the 6-strings.
The album ends with “Bells Of Saint James”, a huge song incredibly produced and arranged. Morse scratches out a quick solo, the vocals soar and the drumming is terrific. The musicianship show the band in great form and somewhat reminding of their power and majesty of the ’70s but with a lush ’80s sound. Repeat this track many times in a row, and you will find more and more beauty after each listen. Super

As you see, we wrote many words describing “In The Spirit Of Things”. Yes, it’s one of our favorite albums from the ’80s. This recording is a pot of gold, with excellent songwriting, musicianship and an out-of-this-world production. Rabid Kansas first-hour fans hate it loudly, but we know this is a guilty pleasure for most of them.
A must have for any ’80s AOR fan and lovers of the good, elaborated melodic sounds.



01 – Ghosts
02 – One Big Sky
03 – Inside Of Me
04 – One Man, One Heart
05 – House On Fire
06 – Once In A Lifetime
07 – Stand Beside Me
08 – I Counted On Love
09 – The Preacher
10 – Rainmaker
11 – T.O. Witcher
12 – Bells Of Saint James

Steve Walsh / lead vocals, keyboards
Billy Greer / bass, backing vocals
Steve Morse / guitar, backing vocals
Rich Williams / acoustic & electric guitars
Phil Ehart / drums

Terry Brock / backing vocals
Stephen Croes / Synclavier
Bob Ezrin / percussion, backing vocals
John Pierce / fretless bass
Ricky Keller / programming
Greg Robert / programming, backing vocals
Christopher Yavelow / Kurzweil
The Southern California Community Choir / backing vocals


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