Proto-Kaw - Early Recordings From Kansas 1971-1973

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Cuneiform Records
Catalog Number: Rune 171
Format: CD
Total Time: 79:00:00

Before, way before Kansas, there was Kansas ... oops, 'scuse me if this phrase puzzles you a bit, but I too was confused the first time I dug among the name switches and line-up changes that mighty prog stalwarts Kansas had to endure in their early years. So here's the deal, at last: Kansas started out in 1970, co-founded by Phil Ehart (of White Clover) and Kerry Livgren, at the time the leader of Saratoga. The first line-up of the group, which goes under the mark of Kansas I, comprised musicians of both White Clover and Saratoga, but disbanded only a year later. Nevertheless, right after that, Kerry tried to build another formation, called Kansas II, reuniting the talents of John Bolton, Don Montre, Dan Wright, Rod Mikinski, Zeke Low (later replaced by Brad Schultz). Unfortunately the lack of interest seemed to follow this band version, too. So after two years Kerry decided it was time to put Kansas II on hold. It was 1973, and Livgren rapidly accepted Phil's invitation to join him in the reformed White Clover. Now all of you should know that only a few months later White Clover were signed by major label magnate Don Kirschner, adopted the Kansas name and ... well, the rest is history.

However, thanks to Cuneiform Records, now we are able to listen to some of the music that preceded such masterpieces as "Kansas" or "Song for America". In fact this Proto-Kaw CD is an amazing archival release that shows the beauty of those Kansas II days, made of dark and suggestive songs. To be precise Early Recordings From Kansas 1971-1973 includes a lot of brilliant "new" tunes, alongside future Kansas anthems like "Belexes" or "Incomundro" (here in slightly different takes), songs that brilliantly take the listener back to the warm sound of the '70s. But, as I already mentioned, it's not only the sound that draws you back to this record. Albeit vaguely influenced by such comtemporaries like King Crimson, early Chicago or Soft Machine, Kansas II demonstrated a passionate touch and tons of ideas, as displayed in the gloomy opening "Hegemonium" or the evocative "Reunion In The Mountains..." Mmh, maybe that's not the typical Kansas sound of the glory days, but in the end there's not a single track to miss on the CD! So while one has vividly in mind what Kansas achieved in all their "official" existence (and what they still can achieve!), you are briefly left to wonder... what if...

Hegemonium (7:48) / Reunion In The Mountains Of Sarne (7:44) / Nactolos 21 (11:37) / Belexes (5:10) / Totus Nemesis (13:53) / Greek Structure Sunbeam (5:41) / Incomudro (11:26) / Cyclopy (5:45) / Skont (9:36)

Lyn Meredith - vocals
John Bolton - electric saxophone, flute
Don Montre - RMI piano, flute, alto sax
Kerry Livgren - guitar ; piano (intro 3)
Dan Wright - Hammond organ, ring modulator
Rod Mikinski - bass
Zeke Low - drums (1,2,8,9)
Brad Schulz - drums (4,5,6,7)

Early Recordings From Kansas 1971-1973 (2002)
Before Became After (2004)
The Wait Of Glory (2006)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: October 13th 2002
Reviewer: Igor Italiani

Artist website:
Hits: 508
Language: english


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