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Kansas - 1998 Always Never The Same



ARTIST: Kansas
ALBUM: Always Never The Same
LABEL: River North Records
SERIAL: 51416 13842
YEAR: 1998

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Phil Ehart - drums * Billy Greer - bass, vocals * Robby Steinhardt - violin, vocals * Steve Walsh - keyboards, vocals * Rich Williams - guitars

Additional Musicians: Larry Baird - conductor * The London Symphony Orchestra * James Majors - drums * Jim Roberts - percussion * Larry Stock - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Eleanor Rigby * 02 Dust In The Wind * 03 Preamble * 04 Song For America * 05 In Your Eyes * 06 Miracles Out Of Nowhere * 07 Hold On * 08 The Sky Is Falling * 09 Cheyenne Anthem * 10 Prelude And Introduction * 11 The Wall * 12 Need To Know * 13 Nobodys Home

WEBLINKS: www.kansasband.com


Background
This album was slightly out of left field for Kansas. 'Always Never The Same' was a covers album but recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra in attendance. It's a mix of older classics plus a handful of new/unreleased songs. Recorded at the famous Abbey Road Studios in London, this is symphonic rock on steroids, with the arrangements given a hyper-boost from the London Symphony Orchestra, with strings and brass complimenting the existing songs. Recorded during the latter half of 1997 and into early 1998, 'Always Never The Same' finally hit the shelves in May 1998.


The Songs
The band deliver the lengthy epics of the past including 'Song For America', 'Cheyenne Anthem' and 'Miracles Out Of Nowhere'. Classics such as 'Dust In The Wind' and 'Hold On' get the enhanced treatment; but also sound stripped back from their original studio recordings. One song that sounds good here is 'The Wall' from 'Leftoverture'. The melancholy 'Nobody's Home' from 'Point Of Know Return' sounds even more majestic than the original. Two interesting tracks include 'Prelude & Introduction' which is a medley of existing songs, plus there's a cover of The Beatles 'Eleanor Rigby'; perhaps a celebration of recording at Abbey Road? Hmm I think so. The new tracks include 'Preamble' which is a symphonic instrumental, which sounds like it was sourced from a movie soundtrack. 'In Your Eyes' is possibly the rockiest song here, while 'The Sky Is Falling' is a return to Kansas' lengthy epics from those first few albums. 'Need To Know' is a wistful tune with a timepiece ticking away for accompaniment.


In Summary
No doubt this was an interesting album to make, and one the band can cross off the bucket-list. In the years that followed, Kansas only released one more studio album: 2000's 'Somewhere To Nowhere', which marked the return of the bands' original line-up. Kerry Livgren and Dave Hope (plays on two tracks) rejoin the band, with the sound returning to their 70's heyday. To read more about the life and times of Kansas, read issue 12 of Classic Rock Presents.. AOR.


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Comments
#1 | Eric on December 28 2014 12:15:36
I liked the disc at the time it came out, even caught the following tour with orchestra although I haven't played the album in years. In 1998 at the show I saw and on this disc, you could/ can hear Walsh starting to strain vocally.
 
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