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STEVE MORSE BAND

Eclectic Prog • United States


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Steve Morse Band biography
For those not in the know Steve MORSE is simply one of the most amazing guitarists and instrumental songwriters ever. Steve has been a member of The DIXIE GRITS, The DIXIE DREGS, The DREGS, KANSAS, BIFF ALLSTARS. After the breakup of "The DREGS" Steve formed the inventively named "STEVE MORSE BAND" in 1983 with 2 relative unknowns - Doug Morgan on drums and a young hotshot bass player by the name of Jerry Peek.

Dave Larue and Van Romaine replaced Morgan and Peek after the band's second album, and remained with Morse until the band's final studio release in 2004, although Peek and Morgan have appeared on subsequent various compilation and live recordings.

After a period of touring and rehearsals the new group recorded their first album "The Introduction" in 1984. Featuring a more guitar heavy approach than The DREGS(a fact necessitated by being a three piece). "The Introduction" was a masterwork of heavy rock guitar with elements of country, jazz, blues and classical thrown in for good measure. Steve still leads the band off on tangents occasionally with country and classical pieces, but overall they are less stylistically diverse than The DREGS.

Steve Morse Band official website

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STEVE MORSE BAND discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

STEVE MORSE BAND top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.69 | 24 ratings
The Introduction
1984
3.40 | 21 ratings
Stand Up
1985
3.91 | 37 ratings
High Tension Wires
1989
4.06 | 22 ratings
Southern Steel
1991
3.72 | 18 ratings
Coast to Coast
1992
3.91 | 19 ratings
Structural Damage
1995
3.14 | 18 ratings
Stressfest
1996
3.16 | 18 ratings
Major Impacts
2000
3.84 | 21 ratings
Split Decision
2002
3.97 | 23 ratings
Major Impacts 2
2004
3.37 | 13 ratings
Out Standing In Their Field
2009

STEVE MORSE BAND Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

STEVE MORSE BAND Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.67 | 3 ratings
Sects, Dregs & Rock 'n' Roll
2003
3.95 | 3 ratings
Live In Baden-Baden Germany March 1990
2005

STEVE MORSE BAND Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 3 ratings
Prime Cuts
2005

STEVE MORSE BAND Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

STEVE MORSE BAND Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 High Tension Wires by MORSE BAND, STEVE  album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.91 | 37 ratings

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High Tension Wires
Steve Morse Band Eclectic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars High tension wires is Steve Morse third album under his name and a very fine work aswell. Issued in 1989 this album shows the gentle and melacholic side of Morse with elegant passages and very fine musicianship overall. Helped by all Dixie Dregs members here, but don't expect to be another DD album, no this is quite diffrent, the album is diverse in songwritting and shows how versatile Steve Morse is as a musician. This is mid temo most of the time with mellow passages, but the beautiful pieces like Ghostwind or the version of Leprechaun Promenade easely bits the DD original, in my view. This album is not constructed on riffs and solos like the albums befor this one or after High tension, is very delicate with sense of melodic line of the highest calibre. I don't know if this ishis best solo album, I like Stessfest very much , equaly with this one, and is better then Stand up for sure. A very worthy album where Steve Morse shows that he is on the tip of the iceberg. 3.5 stars.

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 Major Impacts by MORSE BAND, STEVE  album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.16 | 18 ratings

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Major Impacts
Steve Morse Band Eclectic Prog

Review by Gerinski
Prog Reviewer

3 stars An interesting album for guitarists and lovers of instrumental guitar-rock.

This is a tribute album in which Morse pays homage to some of the guitarists and bands that influenced him, but instead of doing it by playing covers he does so by own original songs which remind us of the honored guitarists or their bands, being it by the guitar playing technique utilized, sound, song mood or style of the riffs, phrases and licks.

So in a way it's more like an academical exercise in which Morse shows us his versatility and his ability at analyzing what makes a certain guitarist have his personal style and then applying his own version of those elements in a composition of his own. However he does not simply create a clone song, it is always clear that it is Steve Morse who we are hearing, just that he bends his own trademark style to incorporate flavours of the guitarist he is paying homage to, which in my opinion is the right way to do it and much more interesting than creating a clone song. Supporting him are his Steve Morse Band fellows at the time Dave La Rue at the bass and Van Romaine at the drumkit.

It's no news that Morse is a guitar master and all the songs are good but from a prog perspective this album does not offer much because most of the honoured guitarists are just rock guitarists. We have songs dedicated to Cream / Clapton, Hendrix, The Byrds, The Rolling Stones, Leslie West / Mountain, The Beatles and The Allman Brothers, all of them interesting interpretations of their styles but hardly proggy.

The most interesting songs for proggers are TruthOla dedicated in tandem to Jeff Beck, Eric Johnson and Alex Lifeson (of whom I do not hear a lot except for a few chorus-drenched chords with open strings), Led On dedicated to Led Zeppelin which is perhaps the most accomplished rendition imo, The White Light honouring the acoustic soft side of John McLaughlin and Prognosis dedicated to Kansas and Yes. This last song is obviously the proggiest, with some odd time signatures and changes along its 6 minutes of lenght. Once again it does not really resemble the music by any of these 2 bands but it just incorporates some flavours reminiscent of them.

Interesting album but I have 5 of his real Steve Morse Band albums and they are all better. A couple of years later he released a Vol.2 of Major Impacts which I have not heard so far.

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 Stand Up by MORSE BAND, STEVE  album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.40 | 21 ratings

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Stand Up
Steve Morse Band Eclectic Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

3 stars This is a relatively disappointing album (compared to the other Steve Morse albums). Sure, his guitar playing is exceptional, and there is some great music, but almost half of the songs are vocal songs, and Morse just isn't very good at that form. No, he doesn't sing, he brings in guest vocalists, like Albert Lee and Eric Johnson, but they don't help the quality of the songs.

Of the vocal tracks, Book Of Dreams fares the best. Even behind the vocals, there is a Dregs- like backing track, that makes it listenable. The other vocal tracks, not so good.

Of the rest of the music, there are fine pieces. Pick Your Poison is a bluegrass romp, with Mark O'Connor helping out on violin. And the last three tracks from Travels Of Marco Polo through Unity Gain, are all good enough for any Dregs release.

So despite the four vocal pieces, of which only one is worth multiple listens, this gets three stars.

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 Split Decision  by MORSE BAND, STEVE  album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.84 | 21 ratings

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Split Decision
Steve Morse Band Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I agree with most music fans out there that Steve Morse is a great guitarist. I've heard his playing on many albums including his solo debut, his earlier work with THE DIXIE DREGS and later stuff with KANSAS and DEEP PURPLE but i've just never been too a big a fan of the music from these recordings except for "What If" by THE DIXIE DREGS and his work on a RUSH tribute album I own called "Working Man". So it came as a huge surprise when I first listened to this album at how heavy it was at times and also how emotional it was but mostly at how great the songs were.This blew me away. My respect for Steve just went through the roof as I listened to his amazing performance throughout. Dave LaRue on bass is in your face almost all the time and he adds so much here. Steve says he named this album "Split Decision" because he had these heavy band tracks he wanted on here but also these more acoustic songs, so we 7 heavy and 5 acoustic giving the heavy side the split decision. Or something like that.

"Heightened Awareness" opens with guitar as the bass comes in throbbing then it turns heavy. Nice. Contrasts continue.This is great ! Morse is putting on a show. "Busybodies" is fairly uptempo and has a classical flavour to it. I'm really impressed with the guitar here and the bass is prominant. "Marching Orders" turns heavy quickly and we get some aggressive guitar before 2 1/2 minutes and a minute later as well. Morse sounds so good here. "Mechanical Frenzy" has this ripping guitar intro then the bass shakes the soundscape with some deep grooves. So good. It settles back before 2 1/2 minutes as LaRue puts on a show.Mores then comes in lighting it up. Killer stuff. "Great Mountain Spirits" has a good heavy beat with some atmosphere. Great sound. Heavy guitar comes in.This is nasty. Love the guitar before 4 minutes to end it.

"Majorly Up" is a good uptempo track and I like the gutar/bass section 2 minutes in. "Gentle Flowers" is beautifully pastoral early on then it turns surprisingly aggressive before 1 1/2 minutes. An all out assault before 4 minutes. Check out the bass that follows.The next five tracks are mostly acoustic. "Moment's Comfort" is laid back, gorgeous and emotional. "Clear Memories" features strummed guitar, bass and drums.There's a depth here, a rich beautiful sound. "Midnight Daydream" has some intricate acoustic guitar reminding me so much of POPOL VUH. "Back Porch" has this deep rumbling bass with drums as the guitar plays over top. "Natural Flow" is an uplifting and pleasant closer.

No wonder this is the highest rated solo Steve Morse album on the the RYM site. I kept waiting for the Country / honky tonk / Southern Rock style to rear it's ugly head but it never did.Thankyou ! Now i'm excited to hear the new album that Morse, LaRue, Portnoy and Neal Morse are working on.

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 The Introduction  by MORSE BAND, STEVE  album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.69 | 24 ratings

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The Introduction
Steve Morse Band Eclectic Prog

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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 Structural Damage by MORSE BAND, STEVE  album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.91 | 19 ratings

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Structural Damage
Steve Morse Band Eclectic Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

4 stars Hopefully, you guys aren't getting tired of reading so many of my Steve Morse Band reviews that are so similar to each other. But the fact is, this band is remarkably consistent. No matter which album you choose, you will be hearing a great mixture of fusion, rock, southern rock, and baroque classical. And that, of course is what you get here.

The album opens powerfully with Sacred Ground, a fine example of Morse's proggy song styling, shown since his Dregs Days. The best prog tune is Barbary Coast, which despite clocking in at under three and a half minutes, contains a lot of nice prog riffs.

Special mention should be made for Slice Of Time. Morse has always shown proficiency at classical based compositions, but he has outdone himeself with this one. This Bach inspired just amazes me every time I hear it.

The album closes with the whirlwind Structural Damage. This is a great finish for the disk, leaving the listener drooling for more of The Steve Morse Band.

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 Split Decision  by MORSE BAND, STEVE  album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.84 | 21 ratings

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Split Decision
Steve Morse Band Eclectic Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

3 stars Despite the fact that I love Steve Morse's music, both his compositions and guitar playing, this album just misses the mark with me. I've listened to it over and over and it just doesn't do much for me. Sure there are a few great tunes. Busybodies and Mechanical Frenzy are excellent, complex works. But the rest just doesn't quite seem to be up to the band's usual standards.

The first part of the album, according to the liner notes, is "heavier", band oriented songs. And it's nice. The two songs mentioned above are great works of prog fusion, the former mixing in some baroque classical as well. But the rest of the "heavy" songs are just okay.

The last five songs are more mellow. And again, Morse can make the worst material sound good. But that's just it. These songs are only good. Morse music is usually great.

So while this is not a bad album, I wouldn't call it essential. It's one of the last Morse albums I'd recommend.

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 Southern Steel  by MORSE BAND, STEVE  album cover Studio Album, 1991
4.06 | 22 ratings

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Southern Steel
Steve Morse Band Eclectic Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

4 stars Say what you must about Steve Morse's work with other bands, but his own albums are remarkably consistent. His compositions and performances are always remarkable, and is band is always top notch.

This was the first album with what has become Morse's band's longest static lineup (that includes The Dixie Dregs, too). Dave LaRue on bass and Van Romaine on drums have proven to be a perfect backup for Morse's pyrotechnics.

As usual, Morse's music is strong, inventive hard rock, with country, fusion and classical mixed in. I tend to prefer the faster, hard rock tunes, so Cut To The Chase, the opener is one of may favorites on this album. And the usual bluegrass song is more rock than usual (for Morse), but the song Southern Steel still provides him with a nice guitar workout.

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 Prime Cuts by MORSE BAND, STEVE  album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2005
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Prime Cuts
Steve Morse Band Eclectic Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

4 stars This collection makes me want to go find the rest of the Magna Carta released Steve Morse albums. even though almost half of this collection does not come from Steve Morse albums per se.

Two of the tracks come from tribute albums. First, there is a fantastic cover of Rush's La Villa Strangiato (I know the original is perfect, but who else could cover this so well?). Morse and Bassist Billy Sheehan almost succeed in making this their own. Then there's Steve Howe's (The) Clap. This was made for Morse's fine picking style, and I think he outdoes Howe himself.

There is also Quantum Leap, from a Jordan Rudess solo album. This is a great keyboard based symphonic prog tune with another great Morse solo.

Then there's Led On. Originally a Steve Morse Band track, remixed by some "producer" calling himself some pretentious title, like Vapidspace. What make these leeches think that looping a rhythm track, and taking tiny excerpts from a song and dropping them over the rhythm at random intervals, to make something the ecstacy-numbed "ravers" can wag their butts at in interesting. It's not! Vapidspace, you created the only bad track on what could have been a great album.

The rest of the tracks are from Morse's more recent albums, the ones on Magna Carta. And true to the label's history, they are all excellent works of prog. It makes a great album by paring away the romantic and bluegrass pieces, and focusing on the best stuff.

4 stars, thanks to Vapidspace :( - it would have been a five otherwise.

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 The Introduction  by MORSE BAND, STEVE  album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.69 | 24 ratings

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The Introduction
Steve Morse Band Eclectic Prog

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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