(All Album Reviews by Sean)
Towards the end of the 70s, as the band Kansas started to fragment, guitarist/keyboardist and principal writer Kerry Livgren released his first solo album, Seeds of Change.
This cd is one of the better solo outings by Livgren, and by Kansas members in general. His solo catalog is rather uneven, but it started out well with Seeds. This album is a bit scattered and lacks the focus of the best Kansas albums, sort of a musical potpourri, but therein lies it's charm.
There are a variety of singers on Seeds and I think that is one of the main reasons it seems un-unified. All the performances are good though. Singers like David Pack of Ambrosia, Ronnie James Dio, Steve Walsh and even Livgren on one tune, "Whiskey Seed", appear here. I think Dio's vocals are the strongest. He adds a lot of character to cuts like "Mask of The Great Deceiver" and "To Live For The King", two of the best cuts on the album. Walsh turns in a decent vocal, but the tune he is on is not one of the strongest here.
Fans of classic Kansas will be pleased to see Phil Ehart and Robbie Steinhardt in the credits, though I must say their contributions are scarce, maybe on a track or two. Musically this cd is a mixed bag. I think "Mask of the Great Deceiver" and "Ground Zero" will probably appeal to fans of the sound Kerry created with Kansas. In fact Kansas played "Deceiver" on their Audio-Visions tour and it fit great alongside the classic Kansas tunes in the set. The rest of the cd varies and shows that Livgren had different musical avenues to explore.
This is a strong album and I suggest it as the place to start if you are looking to get into Livgren's music. This is all nice analog stuff with real drums; warm- real sounds. Not all of his albums in the future would have those elements and for that reason Seeds of Change ranks at the top of his solo catalog for this listener. Recent copies come with a bonus interview with Livgren that decribes the making of the album....