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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Carry On Wayward Son" - Kansas Isolated Parts

Here are the vocal tracks and a little more from the 1977 Kansas hit "Carry On Wayward Son." This particular video seems like it was an extraction of the center channel, since a lot of instruments besides the vocals appear. That's OK because we get to hear inside the track in a way that few have heard before. Here are some of the things that I picked up on.

1) In the intro line, I never heard the left hand organ of the organ doubling the guitar before.

2) The 2nd half of the verse speeds up enough that it starts to feel uncomfortable. It seems a little more so when you hear the vocal mostly by itself. It also speeds up a bit in the 2nd verse, but not as badly.

3) The 3 part harmony on the chorus is very tight, even during the turnaround and ends of the phrase. It wasn't uncommon in those days to have the harmony vocals follow along pretty closely only to break into unison at some point, mostly because the vocalists were harmonizing by ear. You can tell this vocal arrangement was worked out very well before hand.

4) The lead vocal sound is pretty good but gets a little gritty during the bridge and the end of last chorus during the loudest parts. I think it's Steve Walsh singing, and he really has a set of pipes! The reverb is pretty long and thick with what sounds like a very short 15ips tape delay in front of it.

5) My favorite part (being an old Hammond player myself) is the very end of the song where Walsh pushes in the lower drawbars leaving only the higher harmonics, and then turns the Leslie to high speed. Classic!

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