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Proto-Kaw - Early Recordings from Kansas 1971-1973 CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.75 | 54 ratings

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Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Proto-Kaw, if you don't already know, was originally Kansas. Actually, it was Kerry Livgren's band before joining the Kansas that we know so well. The recordings here are from the second lineup of Kansas, which only existed from 1971-1973 (hence the title). Livgren renamed the band to Proto-Kaw since he has reformed the band in the new millenium, and the famous lineup of Kansas still exists.

For anyone who thinks that Kansas was a late imitation of British prog, listen to these tracks, recorded during the heyday of the classic prog bands. The Kansas sound is here, American sounding compositions, with a few Native American themed riffs thrown in.

There are two full songs that found there way into the next version of Kansas, and onto the classic albums: Belexes and Incomudro. The recordings are rough. A producer was definitely needed. But still, they show the promise of a band with exceptional talent. A major difference between this band and the classic Kansas is the lack of violin, and the addition of sax and flute. This serves to soften, and jazz up many of the pieces. It gives them a bit of a Canterbury sound, as well.

The two live tracks at the end are much looser than the other songs on the album. Cyclopy and times reminds me a bit of ELP's Fanfare For The Common Man, with more variation, keeping it from getting tedious (as ELP's song was).

For prog historians, this is a must. For the casual prog fan, it's still a great album to own.

Evolver | 4/5 |


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