Kansas – Carry on Wayward Son


The beginnings of the American band Kansas are quite complicated, the band was practically formed twice. The first founders were Kerry Livgren and Phil Ehart, students of the West High School in Topeka. The former played guitar in the band Saratoga, the latter played drums in the band White Clover. Kansas was born in 1970 from the amalgamation of these groups. They toured a lot, playing covers of other groups. One of the most important events in this period of activity was the performance on December 12, 1970. as support for The Doors in New Orleans and a joint jamsession at the end of the concert. In the fall of 1971. the team breaks up. K. Livgren tries to do something under the Kansas banner, but nothing comes of it. On the other hand, P. Erhart, after a short stay in England, reassembled in 1972. White Clover (and it is worth mentioning the line-up here, as he will later be the backbone of the new Kansas) – Robby Steinhardt on the violin, Dave Hope on bass, Steve Walsh on the main vocalist and guitarist, Richard Wiliams on the second guitar. In 1973. they are joined by Kerry Livgren, not so much a guitarist but more a keyboardist.

And the band was released again under the name of Kansas in 1974. an album simply called “Kansas” – this collection, despite a few pop songs, is quite an interesting debut thanks to longer compositions such as – “Journey From Mariaborn” and “Death of Mother Nature Suite”, which give us a foretaste of what we can expect in the future, that is, great violin parts, thoughtful keyboards and unusual guitars. The delicate ballad LonelyWind looks similar. A year later “Song For America” ​​is released – an album similar to the previous one, maybe a bit more subdued, from this album the title track sounds the most interesting – a perfect example of a team game – after a juicy performance, we can also hear great motifs of synthesizers, piano and violin, all rhythmically it flows in the hamond current that is heard in the background. In the middle of the piece an interesting, classic piano ornament and then we hear again synthesizers and a violin, which gently end the piece. The song “Incomudro- Hymn To The Atman” deserves attention.

In the same year (1975), the third album entitled “Masque” – it is recorded sharper than the previous one, you can feel an attempt to search for new ways and sounds, and this reflects badly on the quality of the material. Only maybe the song “Icarus- Born On The Wings” (with the great guitar playing of Livgren and Williams, with sharper than usual violins and interesting changes in tempo) defends itself on this album. Record from 1976. “Leftoverture” is probably the band’s most interesting proposition. Not only because it included one of the group’s greatest hits – “Carry On Wayward Son”, but more thanks to the beautiful melody in “The Wall”, great violin in “Miracles Out My Childhood”, or the baroque organ in “Question Of My Nowhere ”, and when we add the rhythmically diversified“ Magnus Optus ”- we have material that is great to listen to.

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