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DIXIE DREGS

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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Dixie Dregs biography
Formed and headed by composer/guitarist extraordinaire Steve Morse (KANSAS, DEEP PURPLE) in 1975, the DIXIE DREGS are a bunch of extremely talented musicians whose intricate style has a definite MAHAVISHNU flavour plus an off-beat, weird sense of humour. A perfect mix of power and finesse American style, they blend Southern boogie with lots of prog goodies thrown in such as funk-driven licks, fun country-style pickin' fusion, baroque acoustic classical bits, rockabilly metal, bluegrass and jazz - think of them as a more complex, instrumental version of KANSAS. They split up in 1982 but made a successful reunion again in 1992, gracing us with a total of seven studio albums, four live cd's and one standard 'greatest hits' type package ("Divided We Stand", '89).

"Free Fall" ('77) and "What If" ('78) are definite favourites although the more jazzy "Dregs of the Earth" ('80), "Unsung Heroes" ('82) and "Full Circle" are certainly worth checking out. "Industry Standard" ('82) isn't exactly bad but it does show the band taking on a slightly more commercial direction. The album "Bring 'Em Back Alive" ('92), recorded over two nights at Atlanta's Center Stage, is a must-have for all DREGS fans.

If you like hot, jaw-dropping fusion, you can't go wrong with these guys, especially with such albums as "Free Fall", "What If" and "Bring 'Em Back Alive". All are very highly recommended.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

Dixie Dregs official website

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Dixie Dregs  -  Dregs Of The Earth/Unsung Heroes/Industry StandardDixie Dregs - Dregs Of The Earth/Unsung Heroes/Industry Standard
Import
BGO 2015
Audio CD$11.78
$24.68 (used)
Night of the Living Dregsdixie DregsNight of the Living Dregsdixie Dregs
Universal Music & VI 1988
Audio CD$17.00
$1.97 (used)
Free FallFree Fall
Universal Music & VI
Audio CD$2.03
$3.00 (used)
What IfWhat If
Remastered
Capricorn 1998
Audio CD$4.99
$4.89 (used)
Wages Of WeirdnessWages Of Weirdness
Import
AIR C 2015
Audio CD$12.44
$21.44 (used)
Full CircleFull Circle
Import
Capricorn Records 1994
Audio CD$6.45 (used)
Best of the Dixie DregsBest of the Dixie Dregs
Grand Slamm Records
Audio CD$39.99
$2.82 (used)
Dixie Dregs: Live at Montreux 1978Dixie Dregs: Live at Montreux 1978
Multiple Formats
Eagle Rock Ent 2007
DVD$9.50
$4.99 (used)
Bring 'em Back AliveBring 'em Back Alive
Warner Brothers 1992
Audio CD$43.99
$5.97 (used)
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Dixie DregsKing Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Dixie Dregs
King Biscuit Flower 1997
Audio CD$35.00
$11.99 (used)
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Stressfest by Steve Morse Band (CD, Apr-1996, High Street) Dixie Dregs, Kansas USD $8.75 Buy It Now 4 days
Structural Damage by Steve Morse Band (CD, Mar-1995, High Street) Dixie Dregs USD $8.75 Buy It Now 4 days
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DIXIE DREGS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

DIXIE DREGS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.58 | 22 ratings
The Great Spectacular
1975
3.76 | 72 ratings
Free Fall
1977
4.17 | 168 ratings
What If
1978
3.75 | 70 ratings
Night Of The Living Dregs
1979
3.80 | 62 ratings
Dregs Of The Earth
1980
3.38 | 44 ratings
Unsung Heroes
1981
3.33 | 48 ratings
Industry Standard
1982
3.07 | 30 ratings
Full Circle
1994

DIXIE DREGS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.61 | 36 ratings
Bring 'Em Back Alive
1992
3.71 | 11 ratings
King Biscuit Flower Hour (aka Greatest Hits Live / aka In The Front Row DVD-A)
1997
3.61 | 18 ratings
California Screamin'
2000
3.00 | 4 ratings
Night Of The Living Dregs
2002
4.47 | 6 ratings
Greatest Hits Live
2003
2.50 | 2 ratings
From The Front Row... Live!
2003

DIXIE DREGS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.38 | 7 ratings
Live At The Montreux Jazz Festival 1978
2005

DIXIE DREGS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Best Of The Dixie Dregs
1987
3.40 | 10 ratings
Divided We Stand
1989
3.00 | 3 ratings
The Millennium Collection
2002

DIXIE DREGS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Demo
1976
2.00 | 2 ratings
Off The Record
1988

DIXIE DREGS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 What If by DIXIE DREGS album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.17 | 168 ratings

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What If
Dixie Dregs Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Reactions to the Dixie Dregs seem to fall into two distinct camps. On the one hand, you have their very enthusiastic fans, those with whom this music really resonates, for whom What If is a real gem. On the other hand, you have listeners like me - folks who can appreciate the technical chops on offer here, but who are left somewhat cold by the whole thing, the fusion package offered up here tasting flavourless and plastic-y.

Maybe it's the down-home Southern-ness of it all, but I just find the Dregs' music an impressively intricate way to express absolutely nothing, a crystal-clear example of how technical chops don't save your compositions from being just a little trite. I won't rate it below three stars, because it's clear that there's some real skill being applied here, but I think this is one where you'll either love it or find yourself entirely unable to see what all the fuss is about,

 Night Of The Living Dregs by DIXIE DREGS album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.75 | 70 ratings

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Night Of The Living Dregs
Dixie Dregs Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Following some critical success and an extended tour throughout the States, Dixie Dregs were up to release a few live pieces for the first time.Their next album ''Night of the living dregs'' was actually a mix of studio material, recorded in different studios, and live tracks, captured during the performance of the band at the Montreux Jazz Festival on July 23, 1978.It was also the last album of Dixie Dregs on Capricorn Records and the first to by the band to receive a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance, eventually released in April 1979.

The studio material shows the band following a more conventional style of playing, now offering lots of happy tunes and pleasant melodies, but the performances are still kept in a good level, featuring again some sudden breaks, American-styled rockin' grooves and impressive violin work by Allen Sloan.''The Riff Raff'' actually sounds more like an American Folk interpretation, based exclusively on acoustic guitars and violin, while the rest of the studio tracks suggest again Dixie Dregs' strong influences by MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA and Country Music.The guys produced emphatic, jazzy music with a good bunch of interplays and tight structures, somewhat misdirected by their love for rural flavors.

Live tracks are coming in the already familiar style of the Fusion band, maybe sometimes with a more pronounced Southern Rock/Country taste like on ''The bash'' or ''Patchwork'', but tracks like ''Leprechaun promenade'' and the eponymous one show Dixie Dregs' love for dense, instrumental Jazz/Fusion, led by powerful drumming, instrumental interactions and a constant change of tempos.For the first time some nice keyboard parts, including Moog synthesizer and Hammond organ, come in evidence, and the personal sound of the band is displayed with great energy.

Not exactly up there with thr fantastic ''What if'', still this well-played Jazz/Fusion with soaring violin and rich instrumentals, developing from enjoyable themes to complex ideas.Recommended.

 What If by DIXIE DREGS album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.17 | 168 ratings

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What If
Dixie Dregs Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

5 stars Despite the uninspiring cover art and a band name that has always led me to believe that they were in a musical category akin to Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet or even the Allman Brothers, I was absolutely shocked to find out that the DIXIE DREGS were nothing of the sort. Although progressive bluegrass is included in the mix, what we have here is a very eclectic mix of styles and moods comprising a most magnificent musical gem. Steve Morse has always been referred to as one of the greats in the guitar world, yet most of the things i've heard from him have left me lukewarm at best. I guess the secret to understanding all the praise is to go back far enough into his discography before the watered down versions of the greatness appeared.

WHAT IF is the absolute perfect place to start. This was love at first listen with only the first and third tracks taking me several listens to appreciate but now they have weaseled their way into my soul and are stuck there until the great decomposition of body and mind occurs. This album is absolutely phenomenal in how progressive it is. It is labeled as jazz fusion and to be fair there is plenty of that going on particularly in a Mahavishnu Orchestra type of way but there are classical guitar pieces, bluegrass, Kansas type rockers and moments of calmness. Every track is impressive and my favorite idiosyncrasy of this band is how they play out a passage by alternating instruments to finish riffs and fills. A kind of lightning fast call and response that serves as the backbone for the melodic whole. Impressive album indeed that I never get tired of. It just keeps getting better after repeated listens. A perfect marriage of melody and technicality.

 Dregs Of The Earth by DIXIE DREGS album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.80 | 62 ratings

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Dregs Of The Earth
Dixie Dregs Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by jhelm_waterw

5 stars This album sadly marks the end of the Dregs heyday. This was a crossover time. Mark Parrish was replaced by T. Lavitz on keys. Legendary producer Ken Scott oversaw the project. The Dregs were between cult fav and pseudo stardom.

This album DOES follow a sort of pattern in the mix of song types. A few Rockers, a Bluegrass song, one or two fusion Jazz songs, a classical guitar peice.... But, they did these extraordinarily well. Even though you may say... "oh... this is the country song"... it did not sound like "the country song" on the last album.

I won't break down each song, but... Hereafter is simply one of the greatest, deepest, most powerful songs ever written. Period. It is a masterpiece of chamber arrangement for rock band. Even if one were to completely put aside Steve Morse's virtuosity, it is his songwriting that I find stunning and almost heartbreaking.

This album actually stays in my car's 6 disk changer at all times.

 What If by DIXIE DREGS album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.17 | 168 ratings

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What If
Dixie Dregs Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars After ''Free Fall'' keyboardist Steve Davidowski quit from Dixie Dregs, following violinist Vassar Clements.Original keyboardist Mark Parrish, having completed his studies at Georgia State University, returned to the line-up at the fall of 77'.The next year the group recorded the album ''What If'' at Chateau Recorders Studio in Los Angeles and this work was again released on Capricorn in March 78', produced by Ken Scott.

This is a very energetic Prog/Fusion album, reminiscent of Dixie Dregs' passionate approach on rich, instrumental compositions, with lots jazzy and a few of Classical references, with the group sounding even closer to KANSAS on this album, though the MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA influence is still the major leading guide.The two long tracks of the album are really fantastic with impressive breaks and changes, going from Classical-inspired violin parts to jazzy interplays and full-blown proggy battles with nice use of keyboards, while it is doubtful if you'll find a more accomplished rhythm section than the one of Andy West and Rod Morgenstein.The shorter tracks are more straight but far from easy-going.Here the group can divide its influences to separate tracks, from the groovy Boogie Rock of ''Take It Off the Top'' to the light Jazz-Rock of ''What If'' anf from the superb Fusion of ''Travel Tunes'' to the funkier rhythms of ''Ice Cakes''.However the performance of Dixie Dregs will remain always on a very high level with lots of changing climates, technical playing and rich delivery all the way, while a few smoother passages are added for good measure in an attempt to keep things balanced.

Superb follow-up to the otherwise very good ''''Free Fall''.Passionate Prog/Fusion of high quality with tremendous both individual and team performances.Highly recommended.

 Free Fall by DIXIE DREGS album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.76 | 72 ratings

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Free Fall
Dixie Dregs Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars My introduction to Steve Morse came secretly via his appearance on Triumph's final studio effort "Surveillance". I didn't pay much attention to the name of the guest player and it wasn't until almost 20 years later that I found out it was Morse. Now I am familiar with his work on the last four Deep Purple albums and I decided to check out his roots, going back to 1977 with this album. I had no idea what to expect. Rock/jazz fusion guitar and fiddling were on this album. What was I in for?

Musically, the album is really good. These guys know how to play what they play and they do it well. Every member contributes his skill right from jazzy drum rhythms, wicked bass grooves, searing fiddle playing, groovy keys, and of course, Morse's flying fingers on the fret board. There are no vocals. Every track is purely instrumental.

But what kind of music is this? It sounds to me as though the jazz band at my old college donated the tablatures for the music they played to various artists from the Windham Hill New Age/Folk collection (later Windham Hill was Morse's label!), the Rankin Family, the Alan Parsons Project, and some very talented young guitarist. Fortunately for me, I have albums by everyone mentioned above except the jazz band of my old college. Taking a moment to adjust, I was able to appreciate the music on this album. Particular favourites are "Refried Funky Chicken" and "Holiday", but other tracks are good too. There is this wonderful quirky sense of humour in the music when it gets a little wild, but it keeps its shirt tucked in for the more beautiful and sentimental pieces.

As great an album as I think it is, this is not my usual taste and so I really don't listen to it much. There's a bit too much jazz and down home fiddlin' here for me. But as I said, Dixie Dregs do a remarkable job of playing everything they write. Maybe not quite essential, but better than "good".

 King Biscuit Flower Hour (aka Greatest Hits Live / aka In The Front Row DVD-A) by DIXIE DREGS album cover Live, 1997
3.71 | 11 ratings

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King Biscuit Flower Hour (aka Greatest Hits Live / aka In The Front Row DVD-A)
Dixie Dregs Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Chicapah
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Back in the wide-open 70s there were always renegade rumors skittering hither and yon about some new guitar wiz who'd just popped up on the radar and most of these urban legends turned out to be grossly exaggerated affairs. But when it came to Steve Morse and his dangerous Dixie Dregs outfit the buzz was warranted. Yet being associated with the southern regions of the states and the dubious moniker "Dixie" in particular didn't exactly conjure up images of the jazz/rock fusion giants like John McLaughlin and Al DiMeola who'd blazed a scorching trail through popular music so the uninitiated were inclined to approach their work with some trepidation. However, within just a few seconds of hearing Steve and his cohorts ply their wares one had to agree that this was something worth paying attention to. By the time their third album, the outstanding "Night of the Living Dregs," came out all doubt about their abilities had been effectively squashed flat as a stink bug. They were the real deal.

Sometime in 1979 they played a set for the widely syndicated King Biscuit Flower Hour radio program, thus spreading their unique sound into unsuspecting ears the world over and enhancing their reputation. As were many of those tapings, it remained confined to bootleg status for a long time until it was packaged properly and released on CD in 1997. It's a good thing, too, because the concert captures their unbridled spirit quite well. The recording is very intimate and close up, eschewing studio tricks and embellishments that would often make less-talented bands appear to be better than they actually were. This is more like sitting in a tiny bar, being dazzled by the eclectic combo set up on the little stage in the corner.

After a brief introduction, some reassuring feedback leads to "Freefall," an incredibly tight, progressive jazz/rock fusion tune that will pin your ears back against your noggin. You are immediately struck by the level of individual virtuosity this ensemble possesses in spades. Rod Morgenstein's frantic drums start "Country House Shuffle," an engaging song owning a playful melody that rolls around in your head like a mental whirlwind. The playing is so tasteful it makes you drool. For "Moe Down" Rod's inventive drumming provides a great change of pace moment early on in the show. The group incorporates a combination of bluegrass and Irish folk influences into the number with highly satisfying results. There's a mirthful élan surrounding this tune that's irresistible. "Ice Cakes" follows and it's one of those instrumentals that's impossible to label, it's that eccentric. Morse's style has so many affectations in it, garnered from his noble heroes and mentors, that it's an adventure just listening to him perform. It's obvious that they were admirers of the stupendous Mahavishnu Orchestra but they weren't a copycat band at all. They had their own way of doing things. "Travel Tunes" is next, a rocker with entertaining quirks that give it a spunky character. Steve shreds like an electric sander on a quilt.

They then play a rousing version of "Night of the Living Dregs." It's one of their signature numbers and they tear it up with glee. Andy West's bass solo is exceptional and I really get a kick out of how Morse and electric violinist Allen Sloan work in tandem with each other on the central melody line. "Night Meets Light" is so good it's not to be missed. This song shows that they had a softer, more delicate side but don't worry, there's nothing pretentious about it. You can tell there's a genuine cooperative imagination present amongst the members. Sloan's violin and T. Lavitz's synthesizer conjure up a very serene atmosphere during the first half, while the latter section achieves true magnificence as the instruments dance around each other in an intricate aural choreography. "Punk Sandwich" marks a return to their more rowdy, hard-driving instincts. Everyone gets to get their ya-yas out on this one but I'm most intrigued by the fact that they don't have to rely on ear-splitting volume to get the job done. "Cruise Control" is another highlight. It's hot rock & roll poured over a funky bass line that'll twist your curlies. As a unit they zip right along at light speed but they fudge nary a beat as they take turns glamming the folks in attendance and out in Radioland. You gotta admit that there's some pretty damn astonishing stuff going on between these guys. They end with "Take It Off the Top," a killer encore tune that touches every conceivable base.

In essence, if you're a fan of impossible-to-duplicate jazz/rock fusion and also enjoy hearing it played expertly in a live setting then this is your ticket to Nirvana. These boys took a back seat to no one and they consistently fed off of each others' enthusiasm as they pushed the limits of what they could accomplish every time they alit on the stage. At least that's what it sounds like to me as evidenced by this scintillating performance caught for posterity. 4.3 stars.

 Full Circle by DIXIE DREGS album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.07 | 30 ratings

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Full Circle
Dixie Dregs Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mr. Mustard

2 stars Full Circle is the Dreg's final album after a long hiatus. This still has the core sound of the band, but is very uninspired compared to their earlier output. This is probably their most guitar-dominated album, which is good, but a lot of the eclecticism that graced Free Fall and What If are absent, leaving this album kind of stale. 'Aftershock' and 'Good Intentions' are the standout tracks for me, with their pulverizing guitar riffs that remind me of John Petrucci (who is heavily inspired by Morse). I suppose this is still a decent listen, but I would be far from recommending it.

3/10

 Unsung Heroes by DIXIE DREGS album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.38 | 44 ratings

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Unsung Heroes
Dixie Dregs Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mr. Mustard

3 stars Well, the Dregs really haven't mde a bad album, but this one is not nearly as inspired as some of their earlier stuff. Still, the classic Dreg's formula is being used to good effect, creating some rocking, up-tempo music with a variety of styles. You've got a rehash of the classic 'Cruise Control' along with the aptly titled, baroque-like 'Go For Baroque.' There is a bit of funk in 'Kat Food,' and of course the remaining songs have their mix of jazz and rock

This is a decent album at best. I would not recommend it unless you're a Dregs fan already.

5/10

 Dregs Of The Earth by DIXIE DREGS album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.80 | 62 ratings

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Dregs Of The Earth
Dixie Dregs Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mr. Mustard

3 stars The Dregs begin the 80's with another classic rocking instrumental, but unfortunately I would consider this their last strong album. The eclecticism is still here, as is the great musicianship and compositional skills. But even by now they've worn out a lot of the sound that made up their last three albums, and are sticking to that same formula. In this way, this album is slightly less inspired, and doesn't quite have the same oomph. Nonetheless, this is a consistent listen from beginning to end, and there aren't really any weak tracks. This is still classic Dregs; good, but nothing amazing.

6/10

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