STEVE WALSH – Schemer Dreamer [Rock Candy Remastered & Reloaded]
“Schemer Dreamer” is the first solo album by STEVE WALSH, the original keyboardist / vocalist of progressive rock band Kansas, ‘Remastered & Reloaded’ by Rock Candy Records. This version was requested by a reader and really worth to check because not only it’s a good record, but one that indeed needed a proper remastering.
Kansas were one of the most successful American rock bands during the 1970’s. Their carefully constructed a brand of progressive rock managed to not only appeal to album buyers but also delivered hit singles like ‘Carry On Wayward Son’ and ‘Dust In The Wind’.
Front man Steve Walsh provided unique appeal, lifting melodies up into the stratosphere and delivering class-A performances night after night.
Inevitably Kansas’s success led to some its members looking for further opportunities and, following a solo album from guitarist Kerry Livgren, vocalist Steve Walsh was the second member to branch out and record an album of his own.
Taking his cue from their most successful record ‘Point Of Know Return’, the emphasis was on shorter more accessible tracks but was still imbued with supreme instrumental agility and, of course, his signature vocal.
Indeed, the Kansas connection was still very much in evidence, not only in the songs but also in the studio, where several members of the band helped out (Kerry Livgren, Phil Ehart and Rich Williams) as well as members of Dixie Dreggs, including guitarist Steve Morse who, ironically, went on to join Kansas in 1986.
The success of Kansas was partly due to the mix of Livgren’s grandiose orchestral epics and Walsh’s simpler rock and roll leanings, so it came as no surprise that much of “Schemer Dreamer” is pretty direct with simple arrangements and vocal melodies.
The insistent riff of the title track, for instance, has a classic rock feel, while there are a couple of other straight rockers in the excellent ‘Get Too Far’ and ‘You Think You’ve Got It Made’, each with great singing and a nice groove.
Walsh was always a master of the melodramatic vocal so the ballads ‘So Many Nights’ and ‘Just How It Feels’ are ideal showcases, whilst one of the highpoints was undoubtedly the lengthy and autobiographical ‘Every Step Of The Way’, a shortened version of which would graze the lower reaches of the US singles chart.
Steve Walsh was obviously a big Dixie Dregs fan and as well as violinist Allen Sloan appearing on ‘Just How It Feels’, Walsh teamed up with guitarist Steve Morse for the first time on the albums outstanding track ‘Wait Until Tomorrow’, which starts off with simple melancholic keyboard stabs before erupting into a Dregs-like riff and rocking out in a flurry of notes.
There were other clues in there as to Walsh’s next couple of moves with drummer Tim Gehrt playing on most of this album, of course Walsh would famously leave Kansas after one more album (‘Audio-Visions’) to form the great, stupendous melodic rock band Streets with Gehrt.
“Schemer Dreamer” is universally acclaimed as an essential component in the Kansas musical tapestry. An enjoyable album with many different moods and should find favour with fans of Walsh’s varied musical works, if you haven’t heard it before then it’s well worth checking out.
This 24-bit remastering from original source tapes by Rock Candy adds air to the original recording and comes warm out of the speakers with a vinyl-LP sonic feel.
01 – Schemer-Dream That’s All Right
02 – Get Too Far
03 – So Many Nights
04 – You Think You Got It Made
05 – Every Step Of The Way
06 – Just How It Feels
07 – Wait Until Tomorrow
Steve Walsh – keyboards, lead vocals, vibes, drums (track 3)
Jeff Lux – guitar, vibraphone, flute, background vocals
Merle McLain, Turner Gaugh, Duane Buckler – bass
Tim Gehrt – drums
Phil Ehart – guest drums (track 7)
Kerry Livgren – guest electric guitar (track 4)
Rich Williams – guest electric and acoustic guitars (track 1)
David Bryson – electric guitar (track 2)
Steve Morse – guest electric guitar (track 7)