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20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Dixie Dregs

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Album Review

The Dixie Dregs are one of those recording artists who have spread their catalog among competing labels, making a comprehensive compilation difficult to assemble. This midline-priced effort draws only from their initial stint at Capricorn Records, 1977-1979, with nothing from the Arista years (1980-1982), the second Capricorn sojourn (1992-1994, by which time the earlier Capricorn catalog was owned by PolyGram), or the Zebra period (2000). So, perhaps this album should be called something like "The Best of the Early Years." It draws three tracks from the band's first Capricorn album, Free Fall, and four each from their second, What If, and their third, Night of the Living Dregs. The Dixie Dregs never had a hit single, so the choice of their best recordings is subjective, but the selection here is reasonable and gives a sense of the breadth of their stylistic diversity, from the fusion music on Free Fall to the rock of "Punk Sandwich" from Night of the Living Dregs and the country hoedown of "Patchwork," recorded live at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1978 and also included on Night of the Living Dregs. Guitarist Steve Morse, violinist Allen Sloan, and keyboardists Steve Davidowski (on the first three tracks) and Mark Parrish (on the rest) each get to play intricate, fleet-fingered solos, and the rhythm section of bassist Andy West and drummer Rod Morganstein navigates their way through the often-tricky patterns and tempos. This is technically accomplished, showy music that often impresses more than it really engages, unless you are a musician yourself trying to figure out how it's being played. But that's the Dixie Dregs, and this is a good summary of the first Capricorn period.

Customer Reviews

Amazing

I love this band. Not only are they extremly tallented, but they have an addicting style. A very fun blend of southern dixie rock, and progressive funk. I can not stop listening to these guys, and Andy West is by far my favorite bassist. Very nice.

Awesome

Hands down, Steve Morse and the Dixie Dregs package guitar-drums'n'bass-fiddle trio into some of the greatest and diverse, virtuostic music. buy!

Oh, I don't know

There's a lot to be said for some of the cuts on Industry Standard - but along the lines of earlier reviews, mostly technical "wow," although the movement of "Assembly Line" and the out-and-out crank of "Bloodsucking Leeches" still stay with me. I could most definitely live without cheap efforts at 80's power anthem knock-offs like "Crank It Up," which sounds more like a low-budget concession to label marketeers to attempt at least ONE top 40 single. Too bad, as it tends to overshadow other Dregs guests like Steve Howe (classical guitar on "Up In The Air") - which shows where the bands true sympathies lie: in technical perfection regardless of genre.

Biography

Formed: 1975 in Augusta, GA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the top jazz-rock fusion ensembles ever, the Dixie Dregs combined virtuoso technique with eclecticism and a sense of humor and spirit too frequently lacking in similar projects. Guitarist Steve Morse and bassist Andy West played together as high-school students in Augusta, GA, in a conventional rock band called Dixie Grit. When Morse was expelled from school for refusing to cut his hair, he enrolled at the University of Miami School of Music, where he met violinist Allen Sloan, who had played...
Full Bio