is the European retail version of Thames Thompson's 2002 mail
order only 'Sects Dregs & Rock'n'Roll' DVD. As well as having
been retitled, it sports different packaging to 'Sects Dregs..',
and comes with a twelve page booklet containing an overview of
also a difference in the contents of the DVD. T2 have concentrated
on the two lengthy live performances, improving the sound performance
of the Dixie Dregs show by introducing a stereo option. Most of
the bonus video material has been dropped from the disc to make
space, apart from 35 minutes of the 'Guitarshow Interview'.
It is an awesome
dvd release. Not all of the footage is top grade quality-wise,
but it's over three hours in length (fitted onto a single dvd!),
and contains enough great material to delight any Steve Morse
or Deep Purple fan.
had the pre-release track listing online for some time before
the original release appeared, but being a Purple fan who has
never really explored Steve's career in any depth, it didn't mean
a lot to me. Very little has been written about Steve's music
from a Deep Purple perspective, so I feel it's worth going into
some detail for 'Cruise Control'.
contents are split between his Dixie Dregs and solo / Steve Morse
Band career paths, both of which are still ongoing...
First up is a complete Dixie Dregs performance filmed at Toad's
Place, New Haven, Connecticut, on 29th November 2001. The show
was part of a reunion tour, very obviously done for the sheer
pleasure of it.
music is stunning throughout (and purely instrumental, as is all
of the music on the dvd), which helps disguise that the footage
is at best just ok. It's a mediocre looking three camera job,
lacking decent close-ups. The sound is excellent however, with
a choice between 5.1 surround sound and regular stereo . 'Sects,
Dregs..' featured only 5.1, which without a surround sound system
made the violin over-dominant in the mix. Thankfully that has
now been rectified.
that I've got used to the music (some of it took two or three
playings!) it simply blows me away. On a calmer note, it also
provides a fascinating perspective into Steve's music, certainly
more than he's been able to exhibit in Deep Purple since Abandon.
Anyway, on to the tracks, (click the underlined titles to hear
mp3 soundclips courtesy of TT / T2!)
Leeches....from Industry Standard (1982) kicks
off the set in uncompromising fashion. It's a fast jazz-rock workout,
reminiscent (to my ears) of Tommy Bolin on Billy Cobham's Spectrum
album. The jammed mid-section brings Tommy to my thoughts again,
it sounds like what Deep Purple were reaching for in their jams
during Gettin' Tighter on the 75-76 tour.
House Shuffle.....from The Great Spectacular (1976) doesn't
drop the intensity, ploughing much the same heavy furrow as Take
It From The Top. With T.Lavitz's excellent Hammond backing, the
sound of Dutch prog rock greats Focus also comes to mind.
Line....from Industry Standard (1982) is pure jazz, featuring
rolling bass and drums underneath some neat piano work.
Dregs Of The Earth (1980) is tight and structured, with the
guitar and violin 'singing' the tune in tandem. For someone who
had heard very little Dixie Dregs previously, I finally picked
out the expected hints of country music in this track.
Justice....is an organ lead T.Lavitz track. For this tour, all
of the band were encouraged to bring some of their outside work
within the Dregs framework.
Bodies....from Steve's solo album Split Decision (2002)
is his contribution, the newest track on the entire dvd. It's
a very catchy Bach-like piece, which skips along much like the
opening of Seventh Heaven, gradually getting busier as it progresses.
Food.....from Unsung Heroes (1981) is a Dregs classic.
A catchy jazz riff leads into everyone having a solo space to
really stretch out in. On this evidence Steve should really be
given a go at Wring That Neck, a track designed for similar treatment.
in Seattle (see video clip) ....from Full Circle (1994) is an incredible,
penetrating riff which then settles to something very similar
to Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming (recorded just a year later).
Brick Chicken....from Levy/Goodman/Smith/Burb....Stranger's
Hand (1999) is one of violinist Jerry Goodman's contributions,
Dance of the Maya....from the Mahavishnu Orchestra....The Inner
Mounting Flame (1972). Goodman played alongside Billy Cobham
on the original recording. To my ears it's a tuneless racket,
though I enjoy Brick Chicken, which sports a riff rather like
Bash....from Night Of The Living Dregs (1979) is a souped
up country pickin' workout. Great fun, sounds like Junior Brown!
Control.....from Free Fall (1977) is Steve's personal
Smoke On The Water, a simple but immediate riff.
from Full Circle (1994). A riff later donated to Abandon,
being a wonderfully speeded up Evil Louie!
Take It Off The Top....What
If (1978). The one I knew! You can see why Steve was everyone
in DP's no.1 to succeed Ritchie. The call and answer section is
very similar in feel to Mr B's music.
solo work is represented by a 60 minute acoustic / electric show
recorded in New York 1992 for Japanese TV. It's way more professional
looking than the Dregs footage. The actual music is often jaw-droppingly
good, especially the opening batch of unaccompanied acoustic performances..
Lights....from The Dixie Dregs...Free Fall (1977) is unbelievably
beautiful, and technically stunning, as is
This...(see video clip), from the Practicing Musicians Vol.2 compilation
Joy of Mans Desiring...a mesmerising version of the Bach
piece also touched upon by Jon Lord on occasion (eg Live In London)
Jammin ...(on electric guitar + pedals) is the layered guitar
exercise used by Steve for his solo spot on the Purpendicular
Morse Band bassist Dave Larue is then introduced, firstly to accompany
Steve's acoustic on a few quiet but very busy vworkouts:
Point Counterpoint....from Steve Morse Band...'Southern Steel'
Kids...from Dixie Dregs...What If (1978).
Flat Baroque....from Steve Morse Band....'Coast To Coast' (1992)
then swaps acoustic for electric:
Tension Wires (1989)
It In Writing....Steve Morse Band....Coast To Coast (1992)
Colours....solo....High Tension Wires (1989)
Notes....solo....High Tension Wires (1989) is a
definite precursor of Deep Purple's latest instrumental 'The Well
keyboard player T.Lavitz comes onboard:
Top...(cover) orig. by The Osborne Brothers.
show ends with a feast of country pickin' to end a very attractive
selection of music.
a bonus there is a superb 35 minute long 'Guitarshow Interview',
with Steve saying his piece on any number of career and guitar
subjects. He is not the most lucid of speakers, but has a plugged-in
electric guitar perched on his lap which is used regularly to
illustrate his points. This makes it all very watchable (though
I still don't know why he reproduces other people's riffs to absolute
perfection, but insists on mangling 'Smoke On The Water'...)
DVD stands as a very enjoyable and intensive introduction to Steve's
music. For most Deep Purple fans (especially outside of the US),
the work which Steve has produced outside of the band is still
there to be discovered in all of its depth and diversity. 'Cruise
Control' contains plenty of both. Treat yourself, I guarantee
that within a few days of purchase you'll be singing 'Cruise Control'
in the bath.
DREGS & ROCK'N'ROLL'
T2's 'Cruise Control' concentrates on the two live performances,
(particularly improving the sound performance of the Dixie
Dregs show by introducing a stereo option), 'Sects Dregs
& Rock'n'Roll' fills the disc out to a whopping 230
minutes with a number of extras. As well as a longer (60
minute) version of the 'Guitarshow Interview' there are
a number of other bits and pieces of varying quality and
A blurry 1984 promo video for the deeply uncommercial 'Cruise
Missile' is an odd piece of vintage Morse, showing an older
incarnation of The Steve Morse Band including Rod Morgenstein
on drums (he currently tours with The Dixie Dregs)..
There is a Deep Purple section. It contains a 6 minute chat
with Gillan and Glover discussing Steve's appointment to
the band, along with Steve's solo spot from 'Total
Abandon' as a token Purple artefact. It's unfortunate
that nothing else could be used.
'Guitar Clinic & Interview' is a short Australian TV
report (don't know if it was broadcast or not) which doesn't
really add anything to the collection.