FZ 38002 Vinyl Confessions
Produced by Kansas and Ken Scott
Released on June 1982
US CHART POSITION #16
Find it at GEMM
FZ 38002 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

T errible cover, and the loss of Walsh is the elefante in the room, but I confess to liking this more than I expected. Kansas replaced Steve Walsh with John Elefante on this album, a large void for anyone to fill. Elefante, like Livgren, appeared to be a deeply religious person, writing and cowriting several tracks that spoke directly to a spiritual awakening (“Play On,” “Chasing Shadows”). Without the material interests of Walsh to offset him, Livgren’s vision for Kansas as a religious rock band could take full flower. And yet that doesn’t happen on Vinyl Confessions. Yes, the album is spiritual in the same sense that Kansas always was, but this is a thematic work first and foremost. (I wouldn’t call it a concept album since there is no linear storytelling.) The theme is one of a rock musician looking to reconcile their own spirituality with the materialism of the music industry (I didn’t say it was a good theme), clearly a vantage point that Livgren and Elefante shared. The rest of Kansas isn’t kept out of the picture; Phil Ehart’s drumming has rarely been so superlative, for example. The music continues to move away from progressive rock as its reference point; at this stage, Kansas had firmly settled into the arena rock camp (a genre they helped establish, consciously or not) alongside Asia and Foreigner. These days, I don’t go into Kansas albums looking for progressive flights of fancy, so when they do occur I take it as a gift. Vinyl Confessions is a difficult album to pigeonhole anyway. Sometimes it sounds like classic Kansas (“Chasing Shadows,” “Crossfire”), sometimes it sounds like any number of rock bands from the ‘80s (“Borderline,” “Fair Exchange”). Although it marked a period of commercial decline for Kansas, Vinyl Confessions is actually a better album than some of its predecessors. I’m not enamored of the vocal mix on my vinyl version (could be the needle I suppose), so you may want to get this on CD.

FZ 38002 back cover FZ 38002 lyric sleeve
FZ 38002 back cover FZ 38002 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. PLAY THE GAME TONIGHT    (Kerry Livgren/Phil Ehart/Rich Williams/Danny Flower/Rob Frazier)    3:254
  2. RIGHT AWAY    (John Elefante/Dino Elefante)    4:03
  3. FAIR EXCHANGE    (Kerry Livgren)    4:56
  4. CHASING SHADOWS    (John Elefante/Dino Elefante)    3:17
  5. DIAMONDS AND PEARLS    (Kerry Livgren)    4:47
  6. FACE IT    (John Elefante/Dino Elefante)    4:15
  7. WINDOWS    (Kerry Livgren)    3:29
  8. BORDERLINE    (Kerry Livgren)    3:57
  9. PLAY ON    (Kerry Livgren/John Elefante)    3:30
  10. CROSSFIRE    (Kerry Livgren)    6:33

CREDITS

PHIL EHART -- drums
JOHN ELEFANTE -- keyboards, vocals
DAVE HOPE -- bass
KERRY LIVGREN -- keyboards, guitars
ROBBY STEINHARDT -- violins, vocals
RICH WILLIAMS -- guitars
Bill Bergman -- tenor, alto sax
John Berry -- trumpet
Jim Coile -- tenor sax
Bev Dahlke -- bassoon
Warren Ham -- harmonica
David Pack -- additional background vocals
Greg Smith -- baritone sax
Lee Thornburg -- trumpet
Donna Williams -- additional background vocals
Ken Scott -- engineer
Tom Drennon -- album concept, design & art direction
Glen Wexler -- photography
Andrew Barnum/Drennon Studio -- additional art and design

return to KANSAS discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US June 1982 Kirshner LP/CS FZ/PZT 38002 lyric sleeve
UK/NET 1982 Kirshner LP KIR 85714 lyric sleeve
BRA 1982 Epic LP 144762  
JPN   CBS/Sony LP 25AP-2364 lyric insert
MEX   Epic LP LNS 17394  
US February 27, 1996 Columbia/Legacy CD 66418  

 

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