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Dixie Dregs

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Dixie Dregs Bring 'Em Back Alive album cover
4.60 | 45 ratings | 7 reviews | 44% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Live, released in 1992

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Road Expense (3:45)
2. Assembly Line (3:47)
3. Holiday (4:05)
4. Country House Shuffle (4:03)
5. Kashmir (3:36)
6. Odyssey (6:13)
7. Kat Food (5:20)
8. Hereafter (6:10)
9. Medley (Take It Off The Top) (6:21)
10. Divided We Stand (4:54)
11. Bloodsucking Leeches (4:07)
12. Cruise Control (14:24)

Total Time: 66:45
This album received a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Morse / guitar
- Rod Morgenstein / drums
- T Lavitz / keyboards
- Allen Sloan, M.D. / violin
- Dave LaRue / bass

Releases information

Capricorn 9 42005-2

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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Buy DIXIE DREGS Bring 'Em Back Alive Music

DIXIE DREGS Bring 'Em Back Alive ratings distribution

(45 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(44%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

DIXIE DREGS Bring 'Em Back Alive reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ClemofNazareth
5 stars Yeah.. Just buy it.

I could probably stop there, but I won't. This is one of the most stunning live albums in my collection. I would say it's the best live album in my collection except that I also have 'Frampton Comes Alive' and Kansas' 'Two for the Show', so that might be just a little bit of a stretch. Not too much though, as this one actually has much better production than either of those, and the quality of musicianship is far higher here as well. But for a child of the seventies it's hard to overcome the emotional high that those other two albums offer, so this one gets the nod for being just as awesome but not 'awesomer', if you know what I mean (and I think you do).

The liner notes tell the whole story, both of how the Dregs came together, and what led to this incredible album being made, so there's no need to rehash that in detail. Suffice to say that a decade after arguably the best rock/fusion band in history went their separate ways they decided to get back together and do it all again, at least for a few nights of live gigs. Lucky for us because not only do these guys sound like they never left, they actually sound like they improved while they were gone. It's hard to believe that five guys could come back together after a decade apart and put out music that is so tight, crisp, and vibrant that sometimes you wonder if they are all thinking with one brain.

There's really not much point in drilling down into each track here since the totality of the experience far outweighs any individual song. This is an hour-long, non-stop roller coaster ride of sound that cannot be appreciated in little snippets any more than half of an opera or just soundbites from a movie. You really need the full Monty.

There's something here from every one of the band's first seven studio releases, but the real treats are the various medleys and blended tunes that splice in a number of blues-rock and pop standards as only Steve Morse can do them. The instrumental version of "Kashmir" gets the crowd nuts when it kicks off, and Led Zeppelin themselves would have been impressed with the respectful reverence the band shows in delivering each note to perfection and with almost as much soul as Robert Plant did himself, even without the vocals. Magic!

During the big medley toward the end of the album, I would say that the Dregs actually managed to improve upon Mountain's classic "Mississippi Queen", since to-a-man they are better musicians than the old hairy Mountaineers ever were. And they're sober, which is a plus. I'm still stunned that someone with the incredible skill that Steve Morse has didn't completely dominate the world's airwaves during the seventies and eighties. Oh well, the world's loss and our gain, I suppose.

The little taste of Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues" is kind of gratuitous, but the blending in of riffs from Skynyrd's "Freebird" and the Knack's "My Sharona" is pure brilliance. Kind of lost in the shuffle are a couple of blasts from the old Spencer Davis Group summertime standard "Gimme Some Lovin", and only a real musician like Morse would have the genius to so seamlessly meld all that together into an entertaining and breathtaking explosion of sound. This one alone would have been worth the price of admission.

"Bloodsucking Leeches" is far superior in sonic pizzazz than the original studio version, but the best of actually saved for last. The band goes way back to when it all began with the encore "Cruise Control", probably the most popular of the Dregs live set numbers. This is their equivalent of Jackson Browne's "Stay" or Kansas' "Carry on Wayward Son", a signature tune that keeps both thanks the audience for coming out, and sends them on their way satisfied that they've had a full and worthwhile evening. The various solo excursions (especially Morse's and T Lavitz' keyboard forays) keep this thing going for about ten minutes longer than the studio version, but by the time it finally climaxes and thunders to a finish, you know you've been witness to the best these artists have to offer.

Progressive fans tend to turn up their noses at commercial success and industry recognitions, but I think it's important to note that this album garnered a Grammy nomination when it came out in 1992. High praise for a bunch of swamp rats from the Florida bayous who managed to establish themselves collectively and individually as consummate musicians and top-notch showmen 'back in the day'. I've toyed with writing this review for a while because I wasn't sure a live album could ever be considered essential, but as I started to put pen to paper (allegorically speaking of course - I'm actually putting fingertips to QWERTY), I realized that I led off mentioning two live albums that I definitely consider to be essential to any proper album collection. I don't see any reason to think any less of this jewel; so five stars it is, and enjoy.


Review by 1800iareyay
5 stars In 1992, The Dixie Dregs reformed after a decade-long hiatus while various members pursued solo gigs. The Dregs were perhaps the truest form of fusion, mixing more than just jazz and rock; they threw in classical and bluegrass/country for good measure. The classic lineup booked a few gigs, with the exception of bassist Andy West. In his place is Steve Morse's bass virtuoso Dave LaRue, who is unquestionably more talented than Andy (sorry, man, but few people hold a candle to Dave). The result is one of the best albums of fusion, live or otherwise.

Judging from the taut playing and rapid-fire improv, you'd swear these guys practiced with each other on the weekends while they did their own things. LaRue's pulsating rhythms combine standard contrapuntal lines as well as slapped sequences that bring out the low end. Rod Morgenstein runs the gamut from subtle fills to wild, Moonie-like crashes. He and LaRue make for a rhythm section that can be both tight and loose, almost simultaneously. The real delight, however, is the interplay between Lovitz, Sloan, and Morse. Lovitz's keyboard washes and blistering pieces stack up against Sloan's fiery violin and Morse's jaw-dropping ability. Listening to Steve Morse play is to hear what shredding should sound like. He uses speed as an accent, not as a means for attention.

Picking highlights from this album is hard, since the whole thing is prime fusion. The band's rendition of Kashmir matches the majesty of the original, and it does so without the vocals or the overdubs. Kat Food is a showcase for LaRue's considerable bass skill, going from a rhythmic solo to a brief slap-fest. Take It Off the Top breaks down into a medley of covers, all of which amazingly flow into one another despite their disparate sources. The closing Cruise Control is a show-stopper, featuring arguably Morgenstein's best performance to date, as well as magnificent solos from Morse and Lavitz. This epic jam has all the good parts of fusion without devolving into the meandering self-indulgence that lesser fusion acts fall into in a live setting.

The Dregs picked a hell of a way to return, and this record belongs on the shelf of any fan of the band, fusion, rock, guitars, bass, drums,- You know what? If you love music, buy this album.

Grade: A

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Okay, maybe I'm being too picky here, but The Dixie Dregs without Andy West just isn't quite The Dixie Dregs. Dave LaRue is an exceptional bassist, and he keeps up with West's original basslines spectacularly (except on The Dregs best song ever, "Odyssey", where he skimps a bit), he doesn't attack the songs with the ferocity West did. LaRue tends to mostly sounds like a hundred other great, but nondescript bassists. Maybe it's the engineering, but that's how it sounds to me.

The other fault I find in this album is the engineering in general. The drums and violin reverb a bit too much, and it makes the louder sections, of which there are many, get washed out.

But aside from that, the song selection is almost perfect, covering most of the best songs on the Dregs albums. Only missing is one of the blazing fast bluegrass tunes. Morse, Morgenstein, Dr. Sloan and Lavitz are all as great as ever here. And LaRue manages to shine on "Assembly Line".

Well worth buying.

Latest members reviews

5 stars A superb live-album by superb musicians. They are probaly one of the greatest prog bands in the late 70's and beginning of the 80's, when all those others ran out of ideas. Steve Morse made thrilling music before he took the honour of joining Deep Purple as Lead Guitarist. I have witnessed S ... (read more)

Report this review (#166288) | Posted by Skink_123 | Thursday, April 10, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The true test of any band is the way they sound live. The Dregs have no problem taking their live show to the stage. If you have seen them live, you will understand. Many fusion bands can't reproduce their sound live, Unlike the Dregs who's live recordings are far superior to their studio a ... (read more)

Report this review (#70207) | Posted by titfortat03 | Wednesday, February 22, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Great Dregs album, not even that buts also live (my favorite). Live is the real chance for the listener to hear what the band is really made of! No recording techiniques, even though they could have at this point with digital equipment! The Dregs took a break and have come back as friends to ... (read more)

Report this review (#42215) | Posted by Shane Wallace | Tuesday, August 9, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Simply put, this is one of the best live albums out there. Sonically speaking, the mix is solid; everything is clean and the levels are good. Musically, these guys are masters, one with their instruments. There are very few bands, as a whole that can compare to Dixie Dregs. Their style is a un ... (read more)

Report this review (#26555) | Posted by | Friday, April 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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