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Dixie Dregs - Industry Standard CD (album) cover

INDUSTRY STANDARD

Dixie Dregs

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.35 | 57 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
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.

Sean Trane | 2/5 |

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