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Dixie Dregs: Live at Montreux 1978 (DVD)

Finally now being made available here in the US thanks to the folks at Eagle Rock Entertainment is this smoking live set from the Dixie Dregs taped back in 1978 at the famous Montreux Jazz Festival. No doubt a breath of fresh air to the festival, the band's mix of jazz fusion, rock, country, classical, progressive rock, and bluegrass was something new for the hardcore jazzers who regularly attended this festival. At the time if this show the line-up of the Dixie Dregs was made up of Steve Morse (guitar), Andy West (bass), Allen Sloan (violin), Rod Morgenstein (drums), and Mark Parrish (keyboards), and the album that the band had been touring on was What If. Fans of the classic Night of the Living Dregs album will recognize a few songs from that album, as their versions are taken directly from this show, those being "Night of the Living Dregs", "Patchwork", "Leprechaun Promenade", and "The Bash".

The band, as always, were totally on fire here and deliver one jaw-dropping piece after another. While fusiony rockers like "Free Fall", "Wages of Weirdness", and the classic "Take It Off the Top" rip from beginning to end, it's the country-shuffle/bluegrass pieces that really wow, like "The Bash", "Kathreen", "Country House Shuffle", and "Dixie", leaving the audience on their feet and giving one standing ovation after another. Morse and Sloan especially deliver the goods, with blistering country solos doing battle with each other at breakneck speed. The quility of the recording is pretty good, with only a hint of occasional grain to the picture, and the sound pretty decent considering how old the source material is. The set itself is not that long, about 45 minutes, so you will be left wanting more obviously.

As far as bonus material, you get two tracks from Dick Clark's American Bandstand show, one being "Crank It Up" with Alex Ligertwood on vocals, and the other "Bloodsucking Leeches", both from the Industry Standard album. Sadly, the band is not really playing here and just going through the motions to the album recording. The other bonus is a red hot performance from Don Kirshner's Rock Concert of "Punk Sandwich", with the band all dressed up in hilarious suits. Longtime keyboard player T. Lavitz appears on all of the bonus material.

So, what are you waiting for all you Dixie Dregs fans-order this up, and pronto! No collection would be complete without it!

Track Listing
1. Free Fall
2. Leprechaun Promenade
3. Country House Shuffle
4. Patchwork
5. Attila The Hun
6. The Bash
7. Night Of The Living Dregs
8. Wages of Weirdness
9. Take It Off The Top
10. Kathreen
11. Dixie
12. Crank It Up-Bonus, American Bandstand
13. Bloodsucking Leeches-Bonus, American Bandstand
14. Punk Sandwich-Bonus, Don Kirshner's Rock Concert

Added: March 11th 2008
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Hits: 3106
Language: english

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Dixie Dregs: Live at Montreux 1978 (DVD)
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2008-03-11 17:25:58
My Score:

Filmed during the bands only appearance at the festival to date, "Live At Montreux 1978" captures the incredible set performed by the one and only Dixie Dregs. This is a great presentation of a band that was still a rising star in terms of their career and it's a fantastic way to watch a younger Steve Morse and Rod Morgenstein show their stuff as well. The festival at the time of this film was still pretty much a Jazz oriented affair so their inclusion of the Dregs based on the bands musical merits was rather exciting and the historic appearance is offered up in full on the DVD. Clearly the bands marriage of Rock sensibility along with Fusion, Jazz and Bluegrass was rather new and interesting for any music fan of the day but it was also very widely accepted and quite Progressive when it came down to it. Opening up with the smooth "Freefall", Allen Sloan's violin drives the tune and acts almost as the bands vocalist while Morse adds a duet factor to this. The rest of the guys keep the time flowing and solid with slight flair for good measure. The full lineup of the band was Steve Morse (guitar), Rod Morgenstein (drums), Allen Sloan (violin), Andy West (bass) and Mark Parrish (keyboards) and I am sure that this type of sound was a refreshing change of the way things were done at the festival. Rock bands of all sorts perform there nowadays but back during the filming of this show it was not as commonplace. If you are already a long time fan of the group you might recognize how many of the performances come from the album "Night Of The Living Dregs" and I mean this in the sense that they are the actual versions that you hear on the album itself. The album that the band would have been touring in support of during this time is "What If".

Obviously the band smokes through their set and winners come at the viewer from all directions especially on the heavily countrified "Patchwork" and "The Bash". These tracks make you feel as though you are at a bona fide hoedown and I defy you to sit still while you watch them. You truly want to get up and start those hands a clapping and the feet a stamping. Morse is a smoldering player on the latter number and it's easy to see why he has come to be so respected among guitar players everywhere across a number of genre specifications. To be honest there is no one in the Dixie Dregs who is a slouch as far as talent goes and everyone gets their chance to shine during the show. I also was rather fond of "Night Of The Living Dregs", "Dixie" and "Take It Off The Top" as far as the set list was concerned. The only downside of the film is the rather off kilter audio production of it, and sometimes the visuals leave a lot to be desired. Either way, this particular band it is more about the music than the visuals and from this you get the point without question. A booklet is enclosed for your reading pleasure and while it shows you several other concerts you might want to investigate, it also presents you with a great back story to the band's career and albums. There are a few bonus tracks as well and these come in the way of the bands appearance on the legendary Don Kirshner's Rock Concert and American Band Stand where they are even interviewed by Dick Clark. Be aware that the band was not actually performing live on this segment and merely going along with the recorded track. This was the way it was done at the time. This is a must have performance feature for any fans of the Southern Fried Fusion of the Dregs and also for those Progressive Rock followers since these guys were so ahead of the game in a number of ways with their sound. When one considers that this was the only time that they had ever appeared on the event and that the full performance is featured in full, it makes it an easy decision for many to make.

While all of the members pursue other activities in music today, it is most widely known that Rod Morgenstein is an active member of Winger while Steve Morse has been playing guitar for Deep Purple for a number of years.

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