Bobby Kimball – We’re Not in Kansas Anymore (2017)

Original Toto lead vocalist Bobby Kimball returns to form with We’re Not In Kansas Anymore, a new collection of hard-charging songs which make terrific use of his instrument.

The album finds Kimball is fine voice and puts his lyric writing skills to good use. Working with cowriters/producers John Zaika and David Barrnett, as well as producer Brian Bromberg, Kimball stays true to form with touches of Toto-like rock and hints of soul.

“Too Far Behind,” the opening track on We’re Not In Kansas Anymore, has an immediately identifiable feel. His crack band, led by Barrnett on guitar and Zaika on keyboards, don’t try to emulate Toto but do provide a solid rock bed for Bobby Kimball’s strong tenor. Kimball, who wrote all the lyrics on the album, has no problem rising to the occasion. His vocal harmony with David Barrnett is a perfect blend and the song has a Bill Champlin swamp-blues feel to it.

“Hey It’s Me” rocks harder and is reminiscent of Toto’s “Hooked” in feel, though not in content. Kimball gets to work his range effectively, while the band moves forward with this straight-ahead rocker. “One Day” teams Kimball with vocalist Jonny Zywiciel in a tender mid-tempo ballad. Bobby Kimball’s lyrics forge new ground in the love song genre, but the duet is a refreshing change from his Toto work. It also harkens back to his last two solo albums, where Kimball also cowrote with John Zaika.

“Met Her For” has a contemporary country feel provided by Dave Barrnett’s guitar. Again, Kimball and Barrnett team up effectively on lead vocals. “Scam” kicks things up a notch on We’re Not In Kansas Anymore, with Adam Schwem’s stinging lead guitar and a funked-up rhythm perfectly suited for Kimball’s vocal. “You’re Not Alone” is standard power-ballad fare, but it becomes uplifting and powerful as Kimball effortlessly utilizes his range.

As a collection, We’re Not In Kansas Anymore is straight-ahead rock and roll with elements of R&B. However, Bobby Kimball’s voice, which has lost little of its range and emotional presence, elevates the album. For this listener, that’s enough for a good time.

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier is a bass-playing lawyer living in Atlanta. His first Steely Dan exposure was with an eight-track cassette of 'Pretzel Logic.' He can be reached at slangofages@icloud.com; follow him on Twitter: @slangofages. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Preston Frazier