JZ 34929 Point of Know Return
Produced by Jeff Glixman
Released on October 1977
US CHART POSITION #4
Find it at GEMM
JZ 34929 cover  

C ertainly the highest point in Kansas’ progressive flatlands is Point of Know Return. True, one foot remains firmly caught in the musical trappings of their English forebears -- ELP, Genesis, Gentle Giant -- but that still leaves one free foot to take root in American soil via hard rock. This meeting of clever counterpoint and fist-pumping pomp may not be uniquely American (the UK boasted plenty of headbangers), but it did help make the prog scene more palatable to American youth raised on rock & roll. Kerry Livgren and Steve Walsh alternate between dazzling their audience with busy arrangements and pummeling them with great rock riffs. In between it all is that sublime oasis of pseudo-philosophy, “Dust in the Wind,” which became 1977’s answer to Zep’s Stairway. Point gets out of the gate quickly with the lively title track, a top 40 single that prominently features Robby Steinhardt’s violin. Kansas does have a tendency to throw too many notes at the listener in lieu of natural genius; sometimes it clicks (“The Spider,” “Nobody’s Home”) and sometimes it clinks noisily to the ground (“Paradox”). Fortunately, Kansas splits its eggs between Livgren’s musical passages and Walsh’s inclination to swagger; when the two aims meet, as on “Portrait (He Knew),” everybody’s happy. There are some who would give no quarter to Kansas in the progressive rock pantheon of classic albums, others who may view the band in a constant state of grace, but I think it’s objectively fair to call Point of Know Return a classic prog album. The genre appeared to have run its course by the late ‘70s, and bands like Kansas were instrumental in discovering a viable middle ground between old and new, force and finesse. The two have rarely been better balanced than on Point of Know Return.

JZ 34929 back cover
JZ 34929 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. POINT OF KNOW RETURN    (Steve Walsh/Kerry Livgren/Robby Steinhardt)    3:11
  2. PARADOX    (Kerry Livgren/Steve Walsh)    3:49
  3. THE SPIDER    (Steve Walsh)    2:08
  4. PORTRAIT (HE KNEW)    (Kerry Livgren/Steve Walsh)    4:32
  5. CLOSET CHRONICLES    (Steve Walsh/Kerry Livgren)    6:30
  6. LIGHTNING'S HAND    (Steve Walsh/Kerry Livgren)    4:21
  7. DUST IN THE WIND    (Kerry Livgren)    3:26
  8. SPARKS OF THE TEMPEST    (Kerry Livgren/Steve Walsh)    4:15
  9. NOBODY'S HOME    (Kerry Livgren/Steve Walsh)    4:37
  10. HELPLESSLY HUMAN    (Kerry Livgren)    7:10

    CD reissue bonus tracks
  11. SPARKS OF THE TEMPEST (LIVE)
  12. PORTRAIT (HE KNEW) (REMIX)

CREDITS

PHIL EHART --
DAVE HOPE --
KERRY LIVGREN --
ROBBY STEINHARDT --
STEVE WALSH --
RICH WILLIAMS --
Jeff Glixman -- engineer
Terry Becker -- engineer
Peter Lloyd -- artwork

return to KANSAS discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US October 1977 Kirshner LP/CS JZ/JZT 34929 lyric sleeve
UK/GER/NET 1977 CBS LP/CS 82234 lyric sleeve
CAN October 1977 Kirshner LP PZ 34929 lyric sleeve
  1977 CBS LPPICPRO JZ 34929 promo picture disc
NET 1977 Kirshner LP 82234  
NET   Epic LP EPC 32361  
US   Kirshner CD/CS ZK 34929  
WW 2002 Sony CDX 5060322 digital remaster w. bonus tracks

 

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