Bobby Kimball - 'We're Not In Kansas Anymore'

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Bobby Kimball - 'We're Not In Kansas Anymore'

A "musician's album" it may be, but we mere mortals shouldn't be deterred from investing in its charms.

There's no denying or questioning Bobby Kimball's vocal attributes or his contribution to Rock per se. Now a septuagenarian, Kimball is undoubtedly most famous for his two substantial stints with Toto (1978-1984 and 1998-2008). However, the time spent away from Toto has certainly not been wasted; he has worked with a plethora of vocalists, musicians and composers, from Bill Champlin and Barbara Streisand to Tom Jones and The Tubes. The man is truly prolific in all that he does and has done over four decades.

'We're Not In Kansas Anymore' is only Kimball's third "solo" album, following on from 'Rise Up' (1995) and 'All I Ever Needed' (2000), although his definitive discography reads like a telephone directory. As you would expect from someone of such renowned stature, Kimball has immersed himself fully into a "Grade A" gene pool of musicians who, throughout the opus, play at the top of their game and seem to have fun whilst doing so. As the album title may suggest, this is not Kimball riding on the coattails of Toto, but a man who is attempting to distance himself from what many would expect of him. To some extent this album does that, but it's nigh on impossible to totally liberate oneself from the time-honoured Toto tapestry.

So, if you're expecting a Toto album then you may be somewhat disappointed, although 'Flatline' and the exquisite 'Scam' certainly accommodate many of the Toto traits, as does opener 'Too Far Behind' with its funky drive and silky smooth vocals. Regarding the vocals, I find it amazing that a vocalist of Bobby Kimball's maturity can still produce the goods without straining or displaying an aura of complacency. Elsewhere, it's mid-tempo territory most of the way, 'Hey It's Me', 'Some They Do' and 'On My Feet' being faultless compositions that ooze Soul, Funk and Pop virtues courtesy of the aforementioned "gene pool". 'On My Feet' is my favourite as they've meticulously included everything but the kitchen sink within the song's confines; guitar bursts, piano, horns and orchestration all combine to give depth, drive and delectation. Of course, this type of album wouldn't be complete without piano-led, slow-tempo songs, and 'One Day', 'Met Her For', 'Hold On', 'You'll Be With Me' and closer 'You're Not Alone' all provide classy chill-out compositions.

A "musician's album" it may be, but we mere mortals shouldn't be deterred from investing in its charms.

Dave Crompton

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