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THE INTRODUCTION

Steve Morse Band

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Steve  Morse Band The Introduction  album cover
3.70 | 23 ratings | 3 reviews | 22% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1984

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Cruise missile (5:32)
2. General Lee (4:19)
3. The introduction (2:50)
4. V.H.F. (4:21)
5. On the pipe (4:46)
6. The whistle (2:13)
7. Mountain waltz (4:24)
8. Huron River blues: (6:18)
a) Dark water
b) Water under the bridge
c) Toxic shuffle

Total Time: 34:43

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Rod Morgenstein / drums, synths (6)
- Steve Morse / guitars, organ, synths
- Jerry Peek / basses

WITH:
- T. Lavitz / piano (7)
- Albert Lee / guitar (2)

Releases information

Lp. Elektra / Asylum 96 03691 / Lp. Elektra / Asylum WE 361 / Cd. Elektra 60369

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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STEVE MORSE BAND The Introduction ratings distribution


3.70
(23 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
22%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
43%
Good, but non-essential (26%)
26%
Collectors/fans only (9%)
9%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

STEVE MORSE BAND The Introduction reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars I have an observation that is only remotely related to this album, but I have to get it off my chest. This is the solo debut from a guy who was voted the top overall guitarist by Guitar Player magazine five years in a row in the early 80's. He had just released the Grammy-nominated album 'Industry Standard' as a member of the Dixie Dregs. Right after "The Introduction" came out, Morse was voted best guitarist by Guitar Player yet again. Yet within two years he would join Kansas and release 'Power', followed by 'In the Spirit of Things', two of the worst-selling and poorly critiqued albums in the Kansas catalog. How was this possible for them to screw up what should have been a 'sure thing'? Steve Morse and Kansas should have owned the music industry in 1986!

But I digress...

This is one hell of a great guitar album! Like pretty much all the Steve Morse Band stuff I've heard, it's all instrumental. The range of styles is quite impressive, from fusion to hard rock to southern-fried to meaty blues. Steve Morse clearly intended his solo introduction to be a sampler of his immense capabilities, and that's just what it is. Every track is pretty much flawless. Besides guitars, Morse gets behind the keyboards (both synth and organ) on most of the songs. Rod Morgenstein moved over from the Dregs on drums, and Jerry Peek (another guy with immense talent but apparently no business sense) pays bass. The trio recorded one more album together before Morse introduced Van Romaine and Dave Larue, who would continue to record together into the 21st century.

On to the music.

The band and the album debut with "Cruise Missile", a high-voltage, fast-paced work that is marginally fusion, but arranged tightly enough that it just comes off as three exemplary musicians complimenting each other perfectly on a five-plus minute jam-fest.

"General Lee" is the southern-fried number, very reminiscent of the deep American south in the vein of Robert Johnson or even Muddy Waters. Albert Lee guest stars as well. A very fast-paced number that is frankly almost danceable. A pop-culture note: 'General Lee' was both the name of a famous rebel leader in the American civil war, and also the name of the Dixie-striped muscle car driven in the 'Dukes of Hazzard', a good ol' southern boys comedy television show of the same era. This track is consistent with mental images both of these should give you.

"The Introduction" is saved until the third track, for some reason. Morse's guitar work here has a definite 80's arena band sound to it, although it's disguised somewhat by intermittent keyboards and Peek's irregular bass line. This is the one song where I kept expecting some juke-box hero to start belting out lines about cruising on a Saturday night or trying to get laid or something like that. There's no denying that Steve Morse grew up south of the Mason-Dixon line (Florida if I'm not mistaken), and was undoubtedly somewhat influenced by bands like the Allman Brothers.

The keyboards on "V.H.E." (Vertical Hair Factor) remind me of some of Steve Walsh's arrangements in the pre-Leftoverture period of Kansas, but the similarities stop there. This is another track that is very reminiscent of the later Dregs albums, particularly 'Unsung Heroes' and 'Industry Standard', with a fusion sound that seems at times like it's going to head off in an improvisational direction, but manages instead to keep tracking along on a well-defined course.

Side Two of the album starts off with "On the Pipe", which I suppose is supposed to be about just what the title says. The style on this one is a lot like "V.H.E.". I wish I were a guitar virtuoso because I've read his technique is quite accomplished, and it would be nice to be knowledgeable enough to really appreciate it here. I can say it's a fast, tight, very controlled sound that clearly shows his command of the guitar. Aficionados will presumably be giddy when they hear this one.

"The Whistle" is a slower number, with lilting organ throughout. This actually reminds me of some of the stuff Jah Wobble was doing around the same time, kind of chamber music meets rock ballad (but without the lyrics). Try it, you'll see what I mean.

The "Mountain Waltz" features T. Lavitz in a guest appearance from the Dregs on piano. This is the only song on the album with piano, and it lends an Appalachian feel to the work. This is also a fairly slow and winding song, almost like it was meant to bring the listener down from the high of the previous twenty minutes of instrumental attack. Morse's guitar sounds like boilerplate fusion, but the piano really gives the song a unique touch.

The album closes with the "Huron River Blues". This is a really interesting work; the drums and bass kind of meander along in a jazzy rhythm, while Morse ranges from an almost keyboard-sounding picking, to full-blown blues riffs. The song is mostly slow and moody, but builds to what seems to promise a nice rallying finale, but instead just abruptly crashes to an end.

This is an important work in the timelines of Steve Morse, the Dixie Dregs, and even Kansas (sort of). Morse's kickoff of this phase of his career would also have a big impact on Van Romaine and Dave Larue, who don't appear here but probably wouldn't have the careers they do today if Steve Morse had stayed in the Dregs. One note about this album: I have the vinyl version and the production is a bit muddy. I'm not sure if there is a re-mastered version available, but if there is it's probably a better investment than this original mix (which I'm sure is out of print anyway).

This isn't really Art Rock, I'm not even sure it's progressive based on any of the definitions typically used here, but I'm sure most prog fans would enjoy it. It is an excellent example of outstanding guitar work, very tight arrangements, and three musicians working closely with a single focus to produce a quality piece of work. Plus it's actually pretty fun to listen to. For these reasons, I think four stars is very appropriate.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#74452) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 08, 2006

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
4 stars Just two years after the breakup of The Dixie Dregs, Steve Morse returned with his self named band, including Dregs drummer Rod Morgenstein, and a cameo by keyboardist T Lavitz. On this album, Morse proves the the Dixie Dregs sound was primarily his sound, as this album sounds almost exactly like the Dregs.

The music, as we have come to expect from this guitar master, is a mix of rock, country, jazz fusion, and classical, in that Steve Morse style. The best songs are Cruise Missile, which starts the album on an agressive note (this one would have been a Dregs classic), General Lee, the obligatory Dixie breakdown tune, witha cameo by Albert Lee, and Huron River Blues, a three part proggy piece.

This is a must for Dregs lovers.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#294292) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, August 12, 2010

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Steve Morse has been involved with some pretty good bands in his career, most notably the DIXIE DREGS. Sure he played with KANSAS and DEEP PURPLE but those were long after their glory days. This is Steve's first solo album released in 1984. It sounds almost like a lost DIXIE DREGS album not so surprisingly. Of course having Rod Morganstein on drums will only add to that DREGS flavour. I do like this album a lot but I have so many instrumental albums that I feel are way better than this. I guess i've never been exactly wowed by the DIXIE DREGS either.

"Cruise Missile" is a great opener and I especially like the prominant bass from Jerry Peek. Morse cranks it out while Morganstein pounds it out. Synths in this one too. "General Lee" is perhaps named that because of guest guitarist Albert Lee, I don't know. Not a fan anyway as it has a strong Country flavour to it. "The Introduction" has some beautiful moments in it. One of my favourites.Some tasteful guitar before 1 1/2 minutes. "V.H.F. (Vertical Hair Factor)" opens with drums before the song settles in. Not bad.

"On The Pipe" opens with some Honky Tonk sounding guitar. Yikes ! Much better when it changes and gets heavier. Morse comes in soloing over top. Keys after 2 minutes but this is mainly a guitar led track. "The Whistle" is pastoral but it does build some. Morganstein is on the synths here in this mellow offering. I like it ! "Mountain Waltz" is another story. It has that Southern Dixie / Country vibe I dislike. "Huron River Blues" sounds serious to start. Like a different band really.Then it settles right down before a minute. Some bluesy flavoured guitar follows.Some slide guitar too. Not a fan. A blues flavoured section starts around 3 1/2 minutes. It builds until we're rocking pretty good.

Like I said it's a good album that DIXIE DREGS fans will no doubt appreciate more than I.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#376664) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, January 08, 2011

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