Proto-Kaw – Before Became After
Label: Inside Out Music – IOMSECD 159, PROMO
Format: PROMO CD
Style: Prog Rock
1-1 Alt. More Worlds Than Known 7:28
1-2 Words Of Honor 4:28
1-3 Leaven Backing Vocals – Britta Livgren, Jake Livgren, Jessica Livgren Drums – Kerry Livgren 8:26
1-4 Axolotl Bass – Rod Mikinski 6:04 www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEvUBTLMVFE
1-5 Quantum Leapfrog 5:42
1-6 Greensburg, Glickstein, Charles, David, Smith And Jones Backing Vocals – Jake Livgren Music By, Lyrics By – Isaac Guillory, Jim Fairs 3:05
1-7 Gloriana Backing Vocals – Jake Livgren 9:07
1-8 Occasion Of Your Honest Dreaming 3:38 www.youtube.com/watch?v=08fZvO-rnfo
1-9 Heavenly Man 5:53
1-10 Theophany 9:07
Bass, Backing Vocals – Craig Kew
Drums – Brad Schulz
Guitar, Piano, Keyboards, Percussion, Backing Vocals, Engineer, Producer – Kerry Livgren
Liner Notes – Kerry Livgren, Steve Jack
Organ, Keyboards, Percussion, Backing Vocals – Dan Wright
Tenor Saxophone, Flute – John Bolton
Vocals, Narrator – Lynn Meredith
Proto-Kaw continues to define and redefine the sound of progressive rock. Proto-Kaw is solidly progressive, but never forget how to rock! The album is full of lush symphonic arrangements juxtaposed against solid, hard rock, though never harsh in tone, retaining warmth in their sound. Recommended. Period. This one is definitely worth its “”wait”” in gold.
Proto-Kaw is the second version of the band that, in its third incarnation, evolved and became what the world knows as Kansas. “”Kansas II”” formed in 1971 and dissolved in 1973. Livgren went on to become an integral member of the famous version of Kansas for more than a decade, writing songs such as “”Dust in the Wind”” and “”Carry On Wayward Son”” that became true classics. “”Kansas II”” never got a record deal back then. The band’s music was simply too far ahead of its time, even for the open-minded music scene then. Fortunately, early studio demo recordings and two live recordings were ultimately remastered by Livgren and released in 2002 with the full consent of the members on the critically acclaimed CD ‘Proto-Kaw: Early Recordings from Kansas 1971-73.’ “”Proto”” means “”pre”” and Kaw is a Native American word for Kansas. “”This band doesn’t sound like any band that I can think of,”” Livgren says. “”Proto-Kaw is a songwriter/composers’ dream. We’re very eclectic and very experimental but with very tight arrangements. I love the variety. We differ from Kansas in that we’ve integrated a jam band approach into progressive rock, and that allows for a lot of improvisation”
5.0 out of 5 stars A Triumphant Return!!!,
In the Summer of 2002, a collection of unreleased demos from the legendary progressive/arena rock band Kansas was released. The CD, entitled “”Proto-Kaw””, consisted of recordings made by the band line-up that pre-dated the one that made Kansas a household name. For many, the “”Proto-Kaw”” CD was a like opening a treasure chest for Kansas fans. The CD was so successful that it brought members of that particular line-up together again for the first time in over 30 years. The end result is “”Before Became After””, the first recordings made by the Kansas “”Proto-Kaw”” line up since 1973.
The band line-up for this fabulous reunion consists of Kansas mastermind Kerry Livgren on guitar and keyboards, Lynn Meredith on vocals, John Bolton on sax, Dan Wright on keyboards, Brad Schulz on drums and Craig Kew on bass. Kew is the only member of Proto-Kaw not to have been part of the band previously. He replaces bassist Rod Mikinski who plays on one track on this CD. Also not present is keyboardist/wind player Don Montre who passed away several years back. In the CD booklet is a small dedication to him.
Musically, “”Before Became After”” picks up where the band left off over 30 years ago. It’s almost as if they never went away. Tracks such as “”More Worlds Than Unknown””, “”Glorianna””, “”Quantum Leapfrog”” and “”Leaven”” are full of Kerry Livgren’s musical trademarks and signature orchestrations. Lynn Meredith’s voice sounds almost the same as it does on the first “”Proto-Kaw”” disc. “”Axolotl”” and “”Theophany”” are both brand new recordings from the bands early 70s repertoire and are heard for the very first time on this CD. “”Occasion of Your Honest Dreaming”” captures a more light MOR-pop style with shadings of The Moody Blues.
Hands down, this is an awesome CD. If your a Kansas fan, this is definitely an essential addition to your collection. Kerry Livgren’s compositional style is better than ever and this group of musicians is as strong and solid as when they made their initial demos over 30 years ago. It’s great to have the boys back in business again.
5.0 out of 5 stars There is Truth in the Unbelievable,
Simply stunning, astounding, sensational, quite brilliant. Livgren is pure genius. One cannot grasp the enormity of the passion, intensity, emotion and so much more that one listen of this CD conveys. You will be playing this over and over again on first purchase to see if it really is as brilliant as it is!!! Then you will come back to it a few days later, because you cannot get enough of it.
The story of this CD and Band is so worth telling that it is somewhat unbelievable – after 30 years these guys re-unite to make music that is so far out front, that it almost gets ahead of itself – if that is possible.
By that I mean that while the music has a certain 70’s prog-rock feel about it and there is no mistaking Livgren’s influence on the whole (if you are familiar with this man’s genius), it is certainly music of the new Millenium – progressive to the core.
The Band’s story (not just the Bio) is a story that should make the annals of Rock history – of that there is absolutely no doubt – whether you like the music or not. It is simply astounding.
Prog-rock should be filled with soaring melodies and instrumental intracacies, where the vocals should be harmonious and add an extra dimension to the music. This CD delivers on all fronts.
Prog-rock to retain it’s own integrity must NOT remain in the years past masters such as Genesis, Pink Floyd, Rush, and many others – brilliant that they were and some still are.
However, the new breed of Prog-protaginists include Bands that have been around for some time now (and some newer ones), but are moving amongst this genre to be exactly what it is meant to be – progressive with the times. I place the likes of “”Dream Theater”” (sometimes), “”Marillion””, “”Porcupine Tree”” (brilliant), “”Enchant””, “”Spocks Beard””, “”OSI””, the new “”Opeth”” and a few others in this category.
This Proto-Kaw, along with their new CD is even ahead of that bunch or certainly up there with them. It was Livgren himself in one of his previous songs suggested that the “”Future is borne out in our History””. While he was referring to his deeply held Christian beliefs in that particular song, that statement applies to this CD.
A listen to “”Words of Honour””, “”Axolotl”” (just wrap yourself around this tune building to an absolute brilliant cresendo), “”Heavenly Man”” and “”Theophany”” – and you will see what I mean.
I trust the Band makes a few more gems. This CD is a sparkling diamond in a very monotonous, irksome and plastic music industry. We are awash in a sea of mediocrity these days. It is nice to find the opals (being Aussie) amongst the discoloured rocks.
Well done KL and the Band and that you have renewed your friendships from so long ago. Maintain the standards and we look forward to the next Proto-Kaw release.
5.0 out of 5 stars Blown away, Being a long-time Kansas fan I can honestly say that this one simply blows me away. Knowing a bit about the recording industry, how this group did not make it is of little surprise, but THAT they did not make it is a mixed set of emotions. These guys are amazing, but if they had made it, would the classic Kansas that we all know and love exist? Inversely, where would these guys had gone if they had been given the opportunity to continue? ….. which begs the question ….. will they continue? My vote is to write more songs (Kerry, get busy!) and get back into the studio. You guys are amazing and should be proud of this fantastic collection of extremely high quality and well crafted music. If you are a fan of the early and classic Kansas, or simply a fan of progressive rock, or simply a fan of good music, I would highly recommend this CD.
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