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Dixie Dregs - Divided We Stand CD (album) cover


Dixie Dregs

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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3 stars Curious newcomers looking for a taste of southern-fried fusion will find more than enough here to whet their appetite, but don't be fooled by the record-biz hyperbole. No way is this single-disc sampler really "the best" of the (formerly Dixie) Dregs, and with a miserly running time of only 44 minutes it's hardly the most representative collection, either.

First the bad news: there isn't anything new here for the dedicated Dreghead. Ninety percent of what's being sold on the CD as the band's best music is from just three albums ("Dregs of the Earth", "Unsung Heroes", and "Industry Standard"), spanning only a limited two-year recording period, from 1980 through 1982. (The remaining selection is a scorching update of the classic rocker "Take It Off the Top", originally the kickoff to their 1978 album "What If".)

But as a beginner's guide to the group's heavy blend of instrumental Jazz-Rock (in truth more Rock than Jazz), it can be an indispensable primer. Just about everything you need to know about The Dregs is included: the impeccable musicianship, powered as always by the lightning lead guitar of Steve Morse; the dynamic interplay of keyboards and electric fiddles; and of course the inevitable hillbilly barnyard stomper (here it's the aptly titled "Pride O' the Farm"), without which any Dregs collection would be incomplete.

All three of the highlighted albums were Grammy® Award nominees, but don't let that scare you away (for the true musical artist, winning a Grammy must be like getting a pat on the back from your accountant). There's enough good music here to build a springboard toward the rest of the greater Dregs catalogue. If you like what you hear, by all means take the plunge.

Report this review (#113067)
Posted Wednesday, February 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Back in the mid seventies, the Dixie Dregs invented thier own brand of fusion, country jazz rock. This collection was released by Arista before any of the individual albums were available on CD, probably to test the waters for the full albums.

Although the label says the songs were digitally remastered for the collection, the mix is top heavy. The high end is way too hot. Maybe back in 1989 they hadn't quite gotten the hang of the whole digital thing.

The song selection is not bad, showcasing all aspects of the bands talents, the fusion, the funk, the country, etc. The only unreleased track on the disk is a studio remake of "Take It Off The Top". And I question the inclusion of the "Unsung Heroes" recording of "Cruise Control". While the all around playing on this version is better than the "Free Fall" recording, it lacks the spectacular round robin solo section that was a highlight of Dregs concerts.

3.5 stars, rounded up because, hey, it's the Dregs.

Report this review (#229279)
Posted Friday, July 31, 2009 | Review Permalink

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