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Dixie Dregs - King Biscuit Flower Hour (aka Greatest Hits Live / aka In The Front Row DVD-A) CD (album) cover

KING BISCUIT FLOWER HOUR (AKA GREATEST HITS LIVE / AKA IN THE FRONT ROW DVD-A)

Dixie Dregs

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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jmdnla@yahoo.
5 stars I've seen the Dixie Dregs live back in the 70's and they were one of the best musical performances I've seen to this date. Being a musician and critical listener, I pay very close attention to the accuracy of the performance. I heard no mistakes throught the entire performance. Although the Dixie Dregs are no longer together, Steve Morse lives on. See http://www.magnacarta.net for more info.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#26558)
Posted Tuesday, January 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
lor68
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Well such a great approach live by Steve Morse with D.D. is witnessed thanks to this King Biscuit Flower Hour (I remember another good live from GTR with this label)...for instance "Night Meets Light" and "Cruise Control" are excellent tracks, but also "Ice Cakes" and "The Bash" , being meaningful examples of their attention to each detail during their stunning execution, also in the longest tracks. Of course their album "What If" remain alone as an unsurpassable number, cause above all of a better production; nevertheless this style of their own, which is not strictly progressive (rather a mix-I should say- of different styles) is unmistakable also in the present live act: sometimes it could resemble the fusion of Brand X in the relaxed moods,while in other circumstances They like to play according a completely different mood, such as the experimental country rock or the shuffle...it's difficult to understand, so listen to it and stop it!!

This was one of the most original and clever fusion bands of the seventies...make it live over again through this unforgettable performance!!

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#43541)
Posted Saturday, August 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 3.5 stars. I do prefer the "What If" and "Free Fall " studio releases to this live record.This would be a good place to start though if you'd like to check out the DIXIE DREGS sound. I would describe the music here as Southern fried Fusion. There is an American almost country feel at times to some of these songs.

Things get started with "Free Fall" and certainly the violin play of Allen Sloan plays a prominant role in this mid paced song. Nice solo from Morse 3 minutes in. "Country House Shuffle" features some good drumming from Morgenstein. Good uptempo song. "Moe Down" has a definite country flavour to it. Some good guitar picking, as well as violin and piano. "Ice Cakes" has lots of great drums, percussion and guitar. "Travel Tunes" is an excellent song, Morse is amazing. Some mood shifts in this one.

"Night Of The Living Dregs" features a lot of violin melodies. "Night Meets Light" is different from the rest. Synth guitar helps create an atmospheric beauty. "Punk Sandwich" starts heavy but quickly becomes light like the other songs. Some nice solos from Morse. "The Bash" has some real country picking going on and Morse and Sloan trade solos later. "Cruise Control" is a catchy, energetic song that the crowd loves. More guitar and violin solos."Take It Off The Top" is my favourite song here and no doubt a fan favourite. Some good bass lines from West on this one.

Although this band no longer exists this certainly helps to bring back some of the magic that was the DIXIE DREGS.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#116917)
Posted Friday, March 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
4 stars This album captures the Dixie Dregs as they sounded on their original set of albums. The songs all come from "Free Fall", "What If", and "Night Of The Living Dregs". And despite some problems in the mix (the sound engineer didn't appear to know when the solos were going to occur, and often brings up the soloist in the middle of their highlight), this is the best live album if you want to know how the Dregs sounded in their prime.

The song selection is great, although they left out the masterful "Odyssey". The band is exceptional when playing proggy tunes like "Ice Cakes", "Night Of The Living Dregs", "Punk Sandwich", and the ever popular "Cruise Control". And as usual, the bluegrass is played at an impossibly fast pace.

You can't go wrong with live Dregs.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#230616)
Posted Saturday, August 08, 2009 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Steve Morse's Dixie Dregs live in Philadelphia at the top of their career. The music is full of positive energy, light and heavy Americana scent. Guitar driven jazz-rock fusion is filled with different Americana moods. There are bluegrass, country and Americana rock all.

Audience is very loyal and the music, even if not too complex in moments, are perfectly performed. There is very own face of DD kind of jazz-rock fusion. Highly optimistic, no way dreamy or psych, this music is just sunny light in your window ( coming from the time when the world was still simple and the threes still were big and more green).

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#260425)
Posted Tuesday, January 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to Chicapah (BETA) | Report this review (#812194)
Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2012 | Review Permalink

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