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Kerry Livgren - Prime Mover II CD (album) cover


Kerry Livgren


Crossover Prog

3.16 | 12 ratings

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3 stars Prime Mover was the last of the AD band recordings. This was truly a transitional album and for what ever reasons budget money to record had dried up in the 1980's for Livgren and the band he supported. Because of this Kerry Livgren decided to re-record this cd except for the vocals making it the second in this seiries of remakes following Reconstructions Reconstructed and follwed with last years Collectors Sedition Directors Cut

The previous album, Reconstructions, only used Mike Gleason on lead vocals Livgren allows the other AD vocalist Warren Ham (Bloodrock) to take that duty on this one. I can't say what my impressions of the original version of this having not heard it in some 20 years but this remake is something special.

Livgren takes on all rolls here musically playing guitars, bass, keyboards and drums. Ham adds some sax and flute to give other colors. I find a great mix of styles used throughout Livgren's career. Out of Opus is a short keyboard only piece that opens the stage. It moves into Portrait II a remake of the Kansas classic. Here Kerry goes with the rule if you remake a song make it different. As Portrait for Kansas is a hard rocking classic it turns here into a lavish symphonic song using more keyboards than guitars and parts of it almost Jethro Tullish in places thanks to Ham's flute. Yes, as you might except the lyrics change to reflect Kerry's spiritual views and Ham sings them wonderfully. Some other songs that follow in this symphonic vein are I Will Follow You (great instrumental breaks) Brave Hearts and Children of the Shadows (which should have been a Kansas song).

Because Ham has such a great blues voice Livgren gives a few songs in that vein as well. T.G.B. represents this style very well. Its not even a new song back when this was first released as I had heard it on the first AD tour as an encore. This song has a great blues rock beat using piano and harmonica along side some great guitar work. Ham's voice shines on this song. Other songs in this hard rock or blues style are Fathers and Sons, Fair Exchange (another Kansas remake) and New Kind of Love.

A couple of songs really sound like they are out of the first two AD albums they are Don't Pass Me By with some great guitar and flute, Wandering Spirit and Item 89. It does seem that Kerry was really moving away from this type of song with this album and turning more towards his solo work to come. All in all this is not a Kansas album or a Proto-Kaw album but a filtered AD album. Some very good things on this CD and not a bad place to start with a solo Livgren album. This re-recording takes away a lot of the dated sounds of the original I am sure. If you like Kerry's work pick this up. As with other solo works Kerry's refusal to use a drummer hurts it in places so I can only give this 3 solid stars.

Garion81 | 3/5 |


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