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Dixie Dregs - Unsung Heroes CD (album) cover

UNSUNG HEROES

Dixie Dregs

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Reviewing this album is really a challenge for me. This kind of music is not really in my cup of tea. Typically, I like upbeat tempo music and / or music which has touchy melody. DIXIE DREGS's music is a blend of jazz, country and sometime rock components. Two things that triggered me why I need to listen to this album. First, I'm amazed on how brilliant STEVE MORSE guitar playing in DEEP PURPLE's live album "Olympia" and "Total Abandon 99". I like especially his improvisation in "Pictures of Home". Even, I think, his existence has made DEEP PURPLE proggier than before. You may agree with me if you listen to "Perpendicular" album.

Second, I've just heard that my friend, Didi, has just bought the CD of the band two months ago with an unbelievable price: approx USD 35! (one CD only). So I talked to myself .."This must be a great band! Otherwise, Didi wouldn't buy the CD .". So .. I took my record (that I owned it since 1982) and tried to enjoy it, again. "Cruise Control" and "I'll Just Pick" are the songs with medium beat heavily influenced by jazz. It's kind of jazz-rock fusion.

"Go For Baroque" is a song with heavy classical music touch. It's dominated by acoustic guitar and violin. It's really an excellent track. I would say that this has no "rock" component in its composition.

"Attila the Hun" is a jazz-rock fusion song with violin dominating the lead. I notice the bass guitar playing by Andy West is terrific. Morse's guitar sound does not contribute a lot in this track. It functions as gate keeper with its rhythm at the beginning. But when the track reaches.

Overall, this album is enjoyable. If you enjoy jazz and country music, you will enjoy this album. For me personally I like Steve Morse's guitar playing and Andy West's violin playing especially if the two team-up during interlude part. - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#26550)
Posted Thursday, June 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Another reasonable album from The Dixie Dregs. I kind of feel a lot of their studio work fits the ' comfortable' mode and only the live stuff stands out. In saying that Allen Sloan's violin work is as usual exemplary as is Steve Morse on guitar.Divided we Stand and Kat Food stand out as prominant songs and a fairly even tempered album.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#26551)
Posted Wednesday, July 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars The (Dixie) Dregs Unsung Heroes is one of the best of The Dregs early LPs. The sound production is very good and clean, and features several songs that are Classics such as I'll Just Pick and Cruise Control, with also Kat Food, Atilla the Hun, and Rock and Roll Park as solid Jazz Rock fusion efforts.

I'll Just Pick is one of the best examples of Jazz Bluegrass ever recorded.

In fact the Bluegrass cuts, usually one on every album by The Dixie Dregs, Dregs, and the Steve Morse Band are some of the highlights of all of Steve Morse's songwriting and playing efforts. Put all these bluegrass cuts together and you have a very impressive portfolio of Jazz Bluegrass that Morse plays as well as anyone ever has. I especially enjoyed his collaborations with Mark O'Connor.

This album needs to be re-issued on CD in the United States as one of the best examples of Jazz Rock Fusion of the 1980's. It sounds as original today as when it was recorded, a true testament to its classic playing power by true virtuoso musicians.

Steve Morse is simply one of the greatest guitarists of All-Time.

Listen to The Dregs Unsung Heroes. This one is a keeper.

4.5 Stars

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Send comments to ufo3 (BETA) | Report this review (#90074)
Posted Monday, September 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
Slartibartfast
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars In the early '80s the blight of commercialitis had severely degraded the quality of progressive music being created. There are still many gems from that era. Unsung Heroes isn't necessarily one of them yet a fine, and imperfect album all the same. The Dregs dropped the "Dixie" from their name in an attempt to reach a broader audience. I wonder how many of you out there haven't checked this band out because of the "Dixie"? This was the first of two albums in that direction and under "The Dregs" band name, which was what we all around here referred to them as anyway. It unfortunately didn't work as well as they'd hoped and after the second album as "The Dregs", everyone moved on to other projects. (The original violinist Alan Sloane moved on after Unsung Heroes. )

Cruise Control kicks off the album and is probably the worst piece on the album, not to say it's actually a bad piece of music, it's just that the live versions are far superior. And as the song was mostly a vehicle for improvisation, it was just sad to see it reduced to this way too short piece for the sake of trying to get some airplay. Fer shame, fer shame. The older version on the album Freefall beats this version but also pales in comparison to any live version I've experienced.

Divided We Stand sees them back in finer form. This is what the Dregs were all about. It's just progressive fusion, jazzy/rocky/a little bluegrassy/complexy, well, you'll just have to hear it to appreciate it (dancing about architecture and what not.).

I'll Just Pick has even a stronger bluegrass flavor to it. Trust me, this is bluegrass even a die hard prog zombie pod person could like. I know, I was one when I went nutzo for the Dregs.

Day 444 is a nice slow long piece dedicated to the release of the American embassy hostages from Iran. Post Rock fans should really dig this.

Rock and Roll Park another attempt at an instrumental AOR friendly hit. But dang it, just way too progressive to be successful. We're talking 1981 here. Ok maybe it was just the title trying to sound AOR friendly rather than the music.

Attila the Hun is hard to really classify. High energy prog? Speed prog? Complexo prog? A fun little musical ride, for sure, Mr. Morse can really play rings around every guitarist out there, seriously.

Kat Food not to be confused as a cover for Crimson's Cat Food, this one's actually a much better song. A little funky/bluesy, I suppose. Killer complex musicianship again.

In Go for Baroque, the Dregs really did go for an excellent piece in the classical style, really not anything like the classical style pieces they did in the past, it could just about get a classical snob to appreciate prog.

Had to get the CD as a Japanese import. (I'm greatful for all the great import prog available only from Japan!) Really glad to have it back in my collection available to play after a hiatus due to the whole LP Cassette CD transitioning thing.

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Send comments to Slartibartfast (BETA) | Report this review (#135556)
Posted Thursday, August 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#178464)
Posted Wednesday, July 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Unsung heroes from 1981 is an usual Dixie Dregs album. Same kind mood, same arrangements, same violin interplays, almost some pieces can easely enter on any DD previous albums, but doesn't mean is bad, is just a typical DD album and nothing more. Some pieces worth mentioning as real DD classica like Attila The Hun and Cruise Control , the rest are good but don't expect to something groundbreaking as What if from 1978 album. Here are again same jazzy moments combind with violin interplays and some country elements here and there. So all in all a good album who desearves without doubt 3 stars, but nothing special or close to a masterpiece as is What if - the best album they ever done. Even the early '80's begun to show their sharp teeth in prog music, DD keep their music on a high level, not like other bands from the glorious '70 when they begun to sound or more pop or disbanded. DD remains without question among the best jazz fusin bands from USA and not only.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#190756)
Posted Friday, November 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
The Quiet One
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Unsung Heroes for a reason.....

Unsung Heroes is a typical Dixie Dregs album in which features their wide range of influences in each seperate song and as a result making it sound like a mix of chocolate, pasta, hamburgers, and what-not; all tastey foods, but none have anything in common with each other.

From the semi-hard rock, speed-up Cruise Control to the gentle acoustic, Baroque inspired, Go for Baroque. As many Jazz Fusion albums, you got the funk presence like in Kat Food. Then you also have the semi-bluesy Rock & Roll Park with some great saxophone work. The album also contains a odd number, a fast acoustic tune called Attila the Hun, which then evolves through Steve's amazing guitar(electric) solo to a great violin break-through with some synth work.

It's all played top-notch but there's not one single song that flows well with another, and that makes the big and obvious flaw The Dixie Dregs always had. You can listen to seperate songs each for a different mood you're into, but not listen to the whole album expecting some reasonable flow, it just sounds like a compilation of a bunch of un-related genres played magnificently well, but not a single moment that is memorable.

Poor album with incredible musicians on board playing some forgettable tunes.

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Send comments to The Quiet One (BETA) | Report this review (#195517)
Posted Sunday, December 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
4 stars This was the last great Dixie Dregs studio album. It was also their first on a major label. I have always wondered if it was those record (*sniff*) company (*snort*) executives who convinced them to drop the word "Dixie" from their name, as well as the usual hard-core blugrass tune.

Despite the record label, and the hideous album cover, with a portrait of the naked Dregs with their mouths airbrushed away, the group put out a highly complex, fine, prog album. The songwriting is as goos as ever (althoughthere is nothing as strong as Oddyssey, or the like. And the closing classical sounding piece, Go For Baroque, is just beautiful.

My only complaint is that in the rerecorded version of Cruise Control, the bands signature tune, the best part, the high speed alternating solos, has been excised. Is that another record company decision?

At least no one sings.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#306756)
Posted Tuesday, October 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
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

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Send comments to Mr. Mustard (BETA) | Report this review (#771391)
Posted Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permalink

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