Album review: Steve Morse, The Introduction (1984)


By Steve Newton

My choice for best instrumental rock album of the year–so far–has got to be this new release by former Dixie Dregs guitarist Steve Morse. With accompaniment from bassist Jerry Peek and drummer Rod Morgenstein, Morse unleashes some of the tastiest riffs imaginable, melding technical genius and spontaneous feel within the realms of slow blues, cookin’ country, screaming raunch, and much more.

The Introduction opens with the explosive “Cruise Missile”, a Beck-ish rave-up in which Morse displays his unreal speed and control. The song also features a Peek bass solo that puts Eddie Van Halen’s neck-tapping tricks to shame. These guys are hot!

The next cut, “General Lee”, was named after veteran sessionman Albert Lee, who sits in with Morse and turns the song into a real stomping, country/rock tour de force. Shades of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “I Know a Little'”, but without the words. The strings do all the talkin’ here.

The title track follows, and it’s the closest thing to popular (meaning commercial) rock on the LP. If you tightened this one up a bit and added vocals it could probably be a radio hit (God forbid).

Side One of The Introduction ends with “V.H.F. (Vertical Hair Factor) and more of Morse’s breathtaking lead work.

Overall, Side Two isn’t quite as impressive as the first, but it continues to show Morse’s mastery. He sounds like a frenzied cross between Larry Carlton and Lee Ritenour in “On the Pipe”. And he ends the record on a fine note, with a song that used to be the Dixie Dregs’ concert tribute to ZZ Top, “Huron River Blues”.

Intrigued by the endless world of guitar sounds, tricks, and effects? Here’s all The Introduction you’ll need.




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