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Dixie Dregs - Unsung Heroes CD (album) cover


Dixie Dregs


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.40 | 54 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After four official albums and an independent release, the Dixie Dregs were standing strong for their entry in the 80s. Their musical pattern was already solidified by a trademark sound and the robustness of each individual member's technical ability, paired with the warm feeling generated from their interactions. So this is what you'll fin in "Unsung Heroes", the band's second album with keyboardist T Lavitz: positive vibe jazz-rock music, at times country-friendly, enhanced with colorfulness and refinement, displaying a notable but controlled virtuosity. Since Lavitz replaced Parrish, you can tell that the Dregs' core sound became a bit more elegant regarding the arrangements' structure. A shortened, rockier version of the classic 'Cruise Control' opens up the album with a tight rocking punch; next, 'Divided We Stand' exhibits pleasant jazzy colors on an agile rhythmic cadence where blues-rock and country fuse. 'I'll Just Pick' is your typical DD stylish country piece, full of abundant happy-go-lucky moods. Going down to a deeper reflective inclination, 'Day 444' arises like a solemn, beautiful piece whose main motif evolves in a very evocative way: the initial acoustic guitar harmonics set the pace for the violin, piano and electric guitar to create and recreate further as the track progresses. The nuances emerge and flow naturally, keeping the nuclear spirit intact. Seven minutes of pure melodic delight. The album's second half starts with the extroverted 'Rock & Roll Park', which is as easygoing as the title suggest: good old nice rock devoid of deep pretension. 'Attila the Hun' also flaunts this sort of happy vibe, although the predominant air is one of jazz-rock, related to the playful side of Goodman-era Mahavishnu Orchestra. A special mention has to go to Lavitz' synth sole that emerges in the middle: too brief, unfortunately, but it sets the listening room on fire for the seconds that it lasts. Sloan's violin solo also smokes in an amazing exhibition of polished energy. So. Morse has to do something spectacular as well so he doesn't get overblown by his fellow soloists, just before his 6-string joins the violin for the final lines. 'Kat Food' states an effective exercise on funky jazz, including a very impressive bass solo, plus the typical groove of an ever-inspired Morgenstein. The last piece is 'Go for Baroque', which starts with an intro of acoustic guitar and violin, soon joined by the piano and the bass. As the title aptly indicates, it is a composition that follows the mold of Baroque fugues: Sloan knows how to pick Morse's ideas and turn his instrumental into a builder of the potential concretions of those ideas. This is what a fugue should always sound like. "Unsung Heroes" is, above all, a funny, nice album that comprises lots of good musical ideas and great performances. The Dixie Dregs never give up on their high ideals about the art of noise.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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