PZ 33806 Masque
Produced by Jeff Glixman
Released on October 1975
US CHART POSITION #70 . . . GOLD RECORD (12/16/77)
Find it at GEMM
PZ 33806 cover  

A masque is a performance based on a mythological or allegorical theme. Masque has both: mythology (courtesy of “Icarus/Borne On Wings of Steel”) and allegory that takes shape during the second half, where a child of innocence grows old and sees the material world for the Vanity Fair that it is. I can appreciate the fact that Kansas wanted to kick their two cents’ worth into the progressive fairy tale, fashioning (with bands like Boston) a new England in America that might produce vehicles with the muscle of a Chevy and the grace of an Austin-Healey. And yet it’s an uneasy alliance, with songwriters Steve Walsh and Kerry Livgren pursuing different aims. Walsh would have been better suited to Bad Company, where everyone might agree that “love” means the love of a woman. For Livgren, “love” means love of God. It’s not a question of who’s right or who’s wrong, but whose story is it anyway? “It Takes A Woman’s Love (To Make A Man)” and “It’s You” sound like the work of a different band than the Kansas of “Icarus” and “Child of Innocence.” So this is a progressive rock album most of the time, a rock album some of the time, and a watered-down version of their English counterparts (Gentle Giant, Genesis, Jethro Tull) regardless. At their best, Kansas does give the music enough dynamic tension to intrigue the idle ear; instrumental sections on “Icarus,” “All The World” and “Two Cents Worth” at least kick up some dust. But like a lot of Christian rock, the songs hold something back, perhaps afraid to explore that dark place in our minds where we find the most exotic fishes. Brief flashes of fire from Phil Ehart and Rich Williams are too quickly snuffed out, and solos from Robbie Steinhardt confuse celerity with complexity. The brilliance of Gentle Giant is that the band could break apart in mid song and still synchronize their individual acrobatics. Kansas, by contrast, stays clumped together like the Bowery Boys in a haunted house. I suppose slightly left-of-center rock fans take comfort in Kansas, and for them Masque is a pleasant prequel to Leftoverture and Point of Know Return.

PZ 33806 back cover PZ 33806 lyric sleeve
PZ 33806 back cover PZ 33806 lyric sleeve


  1. IT TAKES A WOMAN'S LOVE (TO MAKE A MAN)    (Steve Walsh)    3:06
  2. TWO CENTS WORTH    (Kerry Livgren/Steve Walsh)    3:07
  3. ICARUS • BORNE ON WINGS OF STEEL    (Kerry Livgren/Steve Walsh)    6:02
  4. ALL THE WORLD    (Steve Walsh/Robbie Steinhardt)    7:08
  5. CHILD OF INNOCENCE    (Kerry Livgren)    4:33
  6. IT'S YOU    (Steve Walsh)    2:32
  7. MYSTERIES AND MAYHEM    (Kerry Livgren/Steve Walsh)    4:19
  8. THE PINNACLE    (Kerry Livgren)    9:34

    CD reissue bonus tracks
  10. IT'S YOU (DEMO)

    All arrangements by Kansas


PHIL EHART -- drums, Moog drum, assorted percussion
DAVE HOPE -- bass guitar
KERRY LIVGREN -- lead and rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, clavinet, Moog and ARP synthesizers
ROBBIE STEINHARDT -- violin and vocals
STEVE WALSH -- organ, piano, clavinet, Moog synthesizer, congas and vocals
RICH WILLIAMS -- lead and rhythm guitar
Lon Price -- saxophones (1)
Lee Peterzell -- engineer
Flournoy Holmes/Wonder Graphics Inc. -- design
David Gahr and Mark Lawhon -- back cover photos
Guiseppe Arcimboldo -- cover art ("Water")

return to KANSAS discography

US October 1975 Kirshner LP/8T PZ 33806 lyric sleeve
AUS'L   CBS LP PC 4795  
CAN 1975 Kirshner LP KZ 33806  
NET 1975 Kirshner LP EPC 81180 lyric sleeve
JPN   Kirshner LP 25AP-1219 lyric insert
US   Kirshner CD ZK 33806  
JPN   Sony CD SRCS-6295  
US May 22, 2001 Sony CDX EK 85654 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
NET July 6, 2001 Epic CDX 5024802 digital remaster w. bonus tracks


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