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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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Dan Bobrowski
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a hard review to write simply because I know so little of Kansas, the follow up band to Proto-Kaw. The disc was a gift from a friend and a very pleasant surprise. Stranger still, I bought the second Proto-Kaw release, Before Became After, directly after it's release last year. I'm coming into this recording through the back door.

Simply put, I was blown away, both by the strength of the tunes and by the incredible musicianship. These songs are on par with the releases of the days in which this was recorded, 1971 to 1973. The heyday of prog. I hear bits of King Crimson, Jethro Tull, Genesis, VDGG and Emerson Lake and Palmer. Even more unique still, is the addition of some American bands, Chicago, Grateful Dead, a touch of the Allman Brothers, jazz and advant garde. You'll even hear a bit of what was to become Kansas, but not as much as you would expect.

Lynn Meredith's vocals are ethereal and chill inducing. Sometimes soft and fragile like Jon Anderson, but then as bombastic and powerful as Peter Hammill. Kerry Livgren tears it up on guitar while Dan Wright's keyboard parts are full of earthshaking hammond and razor sharp synth. The drumming is snare heavy, in the jazz tradition. The sax work of John Bolton really sets this music apart. He plays some off the wall lines, but then erupts into melodic counterpoint. Rod Mikinski's bass, even with this discs poor production, rounds out the bottom nicely.

Cheers to Cuneiform for bringing this disc to the light of day and to the musicians for reforming behind the interest and giving it another go thirty years later.

Any fan of early seventies progressive rock should check this out. It's worth the time and the money.

Dan Bobrowski | 4/5 |


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