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Dixie Dregs

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Dixie Dregs Industry Standard album cover
3.36 | 66 ratings | 9 reviews | 6% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1982

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Assembly Line (4:22)
2. Crank It Up (3:32)
3. Chips Ahoy (3:39)
4. Bloodsucking Leeches (3:57)
5. Up In The Air (2:25)
6. Ridin' High (3:38)
7. Where's Dixie? (3:55)
8. Conversation Piece (6:10)
9. Vitamin Q (5:33)

Total Time: 37:11

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Morse / guitar, composer & producer
- Terry "T" Lavitz / keyboards
- Mark O'Connor / violin
- Andy West / bass
- Rod Morgenstein / drums

- Alex Ligertwood / vocals (2)
- Patrick Simmons / vocals (6)
- Steve Howe / guitar (5)

Releases information

This album received a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.

Artwork: Daved Levitan

LP Arista ‎- AL 9588 (1982, US)

CD Arista ‎- 74321122832 (1992, Japan)
CD Wounded Bird Records ‎- WOU 9588 (2007, US) Remastered (?)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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DIXIE DREGS Industry Standard ratings distribution

(66 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(6%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (44%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

DIXIE DREGS Industry Standard reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lucas
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This album is even more eclectic than the previous Dixie Dregs efforts. In fact, it features vocals on two tracks. Steve Morse followed the same pattern as other fusion bands : Bruford : Jeff Berlin sings on a few tracks on 'Gradually going tornado' ; Brand X : Phil Collins began to sing on 'Product'. We know that this was intended to turn the music towards a more commercial direction. Nevertheless, the music is still lush, with beautiful violin parts played by a virtuoso newly recruited after the departure of Allen Sloan : Mark O'Connor (who recently released a fabulous record with the London Philharmonic Orchestra : 'Fanfare fot the volunteer'), the participation of another guitar vituoso : Steve Howe and long-time bandmates : drummer Rod Morgenstein and bassist Andy West, plus a keyboard genius : T Lavitz. Altogether, these artists created a delightful record, with still a strong fusion feeling but with a wider range of styles thanks to the contribution of Alex Ligertwood and Patrick Simmons to vocals.
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars As other albums of this band, "Industry Standard" offers similar music composition. In my opinion, DIXIE DREGS music is mostly straightforward in the vein of jazz-rock fusion. What makes their music unique is the balance combination of melodies played by multi instruments: violin, keyboard/piano and lead guitar.

"Assembly Line" is probably the best track in this album. It has a dynamic instrumentation since its intro where drums, bass and piano go in-line with the music in its harmony. The lead guitar fills the melody and followed by short drum solo in the middle. It's an energetic song. . "Chips Ahoy" is a typical jazz-rock fusion song. "Ridin' High" offers different sort of music that DIXIE DREGS typically creates. It has a guest appearance of Patrick Simmons who fills the vocal part. The music has a strong melody with nice piano and some guitar riffs. "Where's Dixie?" is opened by a nice violin as lead melody with a sort of country music as song's rhythm. As the music flows, the guitar fills accompanied by piano provide a nice harmony for this song."Vitamin Q" is a blues-based song with bass guitar sound as beat keeper. It has a stunning lead guitar.

Overall, this is a good album. It has good songwriting and musicianship. On musicianship, I praise highly on STEVE MORSE guitar style and MARK O'CONNOR's violin. One thing bothers me though, this album fails to create any musical orgasm or I would say it has no or little "soul" in its music. Everything flows smoothly, a bit boring to me. The music is so simple; it's like listening to country music plus electric guitar. Wonder why this is categorized as prog. What is prog, anyway? Or ... this might not be my cup of tea. It's ok for a change, sometime. That's how I feel. I leave it up to you to judge. Gatot Widayanto - Indonesia.

Review by Guillermo
3 stars This album was produced by former YES`producer Eddie Offord and recorded in late 1981. This is mainly a Jazz-Rock album with good music and good musicians, particularly guitarist Steve Morse and keyboard player T Lavitz. But one thing that I didn`t like from this band was their name:"The Dregs? What a name for a band!". But maybe calling themselves "The Dixie Dregs" was a bit better, but not enough for being a good name for a band.

"Assembly Line" is the best song from this album, with good synchronization betwen the musicians, but the rest of the songs are good too. "Up in the Air" is an acoustic guitar duet played by Steve Morse and Steve Howe, and composed by Steve Morse. Maybe Eddie Offord`s connection with YES was the main reason to include this duet in this album, which is very good, but it seems that both guitarists recorded their parts separately in different studios. But the guitar duet sounds like they played it together.

Review by Slartibartfast
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
4 stars Wow, this one had vanished down my memory hole until someone posted something about it recently on this site.

This album is notable for several reasons. It was the last album before a big hiatus. The first and only studio album with Mark O'Connor on violin. The second and last using the abbreviated band name The Dregs. Steve Howe, guesting on a track. And last but least, the first Dregs album to have vocal pieces. One from Santana band at the time, Alex Ligertwood. Patrick Simmons, of Doobie Brothers fame, provides vocals for the second vocal piece.

If you don't like diversity in your prog, steer clear of the Dregs. In addition to the vocal tracks there are the signature prog rock, classical, and bluegrass styled pieces. I don't think the lack of commercial success for this one resulted in the breakup/hiatus, Steve just moved on to Kansas and solo albums.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars The last Dixie Dregs album from first era, well, now only Dregs, they left their Dixie behind now. Industry standard is from 1982, but again nothing special in their music, every piece can enter on any previoses DD album easely. The same jazz-fusion combined with excellent violin interplays and some country chops here an there, not bad really, but nothing special either. Guitar of Steve Morse did a great job again, but he don't shines like on other DD albums, he only play some fine and intruiging moments but not over the top ones i might say. We have here some pieces with vocals that sometimes reminds me of Kansas Drastic measures or Vinyl conffesion era, same AOR mood, but not bad , only not so intristing as the fellowers americans. The best pieces the opening track Assembly line or the meaningfull title Where's Dixie?So again a good album no doubt but kinda far from the shining moments from What if .3 stars for this one.
Review by Gooner
4 stars 4.5 stars for this one, really. Almost a masterpiece, but definitely a classic. Some fans might be put off with the vocals of Patrick Simmons(Doobie Brothers) or Alex Ligertwood(Brian Auger/Santana), but if you like them like I do, you're in for a treat. Not much to add here other than it's very similar to their masterpiece _What If_(check my review) with a few vocal tracks. Apparently they were looking for a more commercial audience(probably the record label). Nothing really commercial here other than _Turn It Up_, but there's enough instrumental chops to save it from the dumpster. Great song! _Industry Standard_ is the 2nd album one should purchase along with DREGS OF THE EARTH. Either one would be a great for your collection.
Review by lor68
3 stars Well probably I could add another star in the evaluation, regarding of a remarkable jazz/rock fusion album and for sure if I don't consider the present work like "a progressive rock album" (despite of the guest star S. Howe from Yes being here, playing within a track), this is one of their best performances; nevertheless as it's the last D.Drags album before their breakup dated 1982, it's an important document! Alex Ligertwood from the Santana group and above all Mark O'Connor at the violin (along with Steve Morse in his versatility) all together give an extraordinary contribution to the composition. Naturally it's not equal to "What if" for example or the most famous work entitled "Dregs of the earth", but especially the first half is very energic and creative as well!! It could complete your private collection of fusion rock, even though I prefer some other compositions such as those ones within a few immortal albums like "Romantic Warrior" by Return to Forever or the best contaminations between fusion and prog, where Echolyn meets Brand X...

Make your own choice!!

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

The last DD album before a long layoff and personally I think it sounds like it, even if I'm not totally familiar with the group's historical albums (previous to this one), but from what I know, it's their poorer effort so far. Part of my problem is that I'm not much a fan (to say the least) of country music and these influences are often interfering when listening to DD's music, thus ruining my possible enjoyment. The other thing that bothers me a bit also is the FM-rock Kansas-type of sound that sweats from all pores of this album, especially in Crank It Up, often the "fault" of O'Connor's violin, resembling Steinhardt's and Ligterwood's voice, (which never sat well with me) sounding like Walsh. To top it all off, if the album's artwork is still interesting, the title is anything but engaging, and actually fits the content of the album in some strange manner, but not in terms of sales and commerciality.

Although there are still a few JR/F overtones, Industry Standard as most tracks are still instrumental, often impressive still, but IS is definitely more of an F album, than a JR album, as the opening Assembly Line or Chips Ahoy or the soporific but symphonic Conversation Piece or the boring mid-tempo aptly-titled Vitamin Zero. The acoustic piece between the two Steve (Morse and guest Howe) is probably my preferred one, but it's clearly a hors d'oeuvre, given its short length. There are some really bad (IMHO) country feel in Where's Dixie (yup, that part of their name had been dropped for a couple of years now), but elsewhere, they are more subtle. Another good track is Leeches, but they're in a minority in IS. As mentioned above, the sung tracks (just two of them Crank and Ridin' High) give an irritating Kansas feel to them, and I refuse to believe this is an incident. Mind you, Kansas could've cried to have these songs on their albums of that precise period.

Although I do appreciate the musicianship and singularity of their earlier sound, I can't help but thinking of some slightly higher-than average instrumental AOR. Just not my type of album, and I can see why this was their last album back then. Steve Morse went on a solo acoustic guitar career and cranked out one or two excellent albums on his own.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars This was, sadly, the last of the original Dixie Dregs album (or by then, just The Dregs). Allen Sloan had left the band to pursue a career in medicine, and was replaved by the very capable Mark O'Connor. The album is very much like all of the previous Dixie Dregs albums, with a mixture of high flying fusion, classically influences pieces, country rock, and blue grass.

My favorite pieces are the ones where bassist Andy West gets to kick it into high gear. Assembly Line, the opening piece, is just that. Bloodsucking Leeches has cool bass played in unison with the rest of the band.

Crank It Up has some nice passages, but the band made the mistake of adding some generic arena-rock vocalists, which brings the song down. Ridin High reminds me of the Kansas album "Power", which Steve Morse appeared on. There are some nice breaks, but the vocal sections are sort of mundane for this band.

The obligatory bluegrass song, Where's Dixie? is okay, but I prefer the breakneck breakdowns on some of the previous albums.

And there is a special appearance by Steve Howe, playing along with Steve Morse on the classically based Up In The Air. That's worth hearing.

While this album is very good, it's not as good as the earlier Dixie Dregs releases.

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