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Steve Walsh - Schemer Dreamer  CD (album) cover

SCHEMER DREAMER

Steve Walsh

 

Crossover Prog

2.30 | 26 ratings

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Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
2 stars This album is a blessing for those who enjoy the more mainstream tracks from Kansas, particularly those on Monolith and Audio-Visions like "Loner," "Got to Rock On," and "Away From You." Given the immense support from The Dixie-Dregs, it's no wonder the music largely retains a southern rock flavor. The album cover, despite the ridicule it has received, is actually typical of how Walsh would appear in concerts (well, I suppose he didn't pack heat on stage); for him, being in front of a crowd was more than a performance- it was a workout. From running around all over the stage, to jumping up and down while playing, to doing handstands on his keyboard, he was certainly a dynamic performer (even though by his own admission, he regrets doing any of that "nonsense," to use a gentler word).

"Schemer-Dreamer" This is a bouncy number, with upbeat blues-rock sensibilities. The piano rolls through the whole track, and there's some crunchy bits of guitar that really work. The narrative lyrics make me think of "Lonely Street," but the story to this one is about a boy trying to get laid with only a dollar. It's a good jaunty, rockabilly track, that almost humorously goes into "That's All Right" by Elvis Presley.

"Get Too Far" Straightforward guitar and lyrics about the plight of the blue collar man, who is not painted in a positive light, make up this one. It puzzles me, given that the very type his music would appeal to would be the working class, and wasn't Walsh aiming toward mainstream acceptance? The brief flute interlude is out of place, but the guitar solo is right on the money.

"So Many Nights" Piano and flute introduce this much softer song. For the most part, Walsh hangs around the lower end of his wide vocal range, and relegates most of his higher end to the layers of background vocals (which take on a life of their own).

"You Think You Got It Made" Here are more contempt-ridden lyrics that I find to be something of a self-fulfilled prophecy, about someone who is riding the gravy train even if the line isn't a long one. The rhymes are a lazy, and the music is fairly uninteresting.

"Every Step of the Way" A gospel-like piano plays under Walsh's voice as he describes his own conflict with religion and the questions of life. Given that, and despite it's ordinary arrangement, this song would not have been out of place on a Kansas album from the late 1970s. A biting saxophone solo concludes the song.

"Just How It Feels" This is a different feel and flavor from what else is here, particularly lyrically. The words portray nostalgia and a regard for the aged. It makes me think of Walsh's better compositions, like "Taking in the View" from Power or "Peaceful and Warm" from Freaks of Nature. The song is gorgeous, with lovely strings and piano. For me, it is easily the best track here.

"Wait Until Tomorrow" Another strong track begins with piano and Walsh's voice through a phasing effect. The melancholic lyrics make me think of the saddening Kansas album In the Spirit of Things. After two minutes, the soft music ends completely, and the only part that could be reasonably considered progressive rock begins. This instrumental sections are of a much more complex arrangement. The guitar playing throughout this song is simply phenomenal. I believe this one would have made an album like "Audio-Visions" far stronger, especially alongside "No One Together."

Epignosis | 2/5 |

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