Morse Band, Steve - Split Decision

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Magna Carta
Catalog Number: MA-9058
Format: CD
Total Time: 53:08:00

The first time ever that I recall having heard Steve Morse play was at an awesome Deep Purple show before which the only thing I kept asking myself was, "how the hell is this guy going to replace Blackmore?" Show is over. I'm all covered in sweat. I have a big smile on my face and no more questions. By the time the seminal British act came back a couple of years later to double the score, I just knew that Morse was one of the coolest guys to ever place his nimble fingers on a guitar. Modest, talented, always enjoying himself while playing and smiling with that innocent "hey mom! Look! I can play the guitar!" attitude, not to mention with the most excellent chops, the man had earned himself the respect of yet another young dude.

And so it is that upon listening to Split Decision, I can't help but picture images of a longhaired guitar player whose attitude just brightens up my day, because the album is every inch a reflection of Morse himself. Capable, dexterous, impressive, fun, emotional, focused, and yet so down to Earth that its riffs and solos send a vibrant tingle down one's spine that just refuses to let go. Divided into a first half of testosterone-building riffs and cool electric action, and a second one of more tranquil selections, this is yet another impressive offering from a dweller of the upper echelons of guitar heaven who is accompanied by neighbor bassist Dave LaRue and inhabitant of the deepest pits of drumming mayhem Van Romaine. In other words, you're in for a treat.

A treat of assorted flavors, I might add. Because the Steve Morse Band isn't a monaural, one dimensional, limited collection of moods and solos that are repeated time and time again in mindless bursts of lightning. No, thank God, this band rocks. Its members have the tricks and turns of Americana all down pat, but they spice it up all of a sudden with a baroque composition, an engaging Middle Eastern bass solo, subtle Celtic hues, or anything of the sort in order to keep things vitally fresh and entertaining. Not that it was absolutely necessary, because the Americana was already working just fine, but the eventual surprises keep the listener on one's guard while the rest subdues him into a state of joy.

Oh yes, joy it is without a shade of doubt. There is just an infectious good-humored spirit that pervades every single note on Split Decision, whether it is in the spiritual Indian reach coupled with cool riffs of "Great Mountain Spirits," the bluesy laid-back feel of "Back Porch," or the awesome driving theme of the album's undisputable highlight, "Mechanical Frenzy." And despite the feeling, the sweat, and the blood poured onto every memorable second, the instrumental interplay is carefully calculated to serve as a perfect coil for these guys' expressiveness, dripping a layer of bluesy entertainment over the general proceedings and an overall capability that will leave quite a few musicians drooling their guts out. Sporadic, virtuous, rocking: welcome to Split Decision.

Similar Artists: Dixie Dregs, Eric Johnson, Joe Satriani

Heightened Awareness (4:19) / Busybodies (2:34) / Marching Orders (4:58) / Mechanical Frenzy (4:26) / Great Mountain Spirits (4:22) / Majorly Up (3:54) / Gentle Flower, Hidden Beast (5:37) / Moment's Comfort (5:33) / Clear Memories (3:21) / Midnight Daydream (5:18) / Back Porch (4:04) / Natural Flow (4:42)

Steve Morse - guitars
Dave LaRue - bass
Van Romaine - drums

Dixie Dregs - The Great Spectacular (1975)
Dixie Dregs - Free Fall - (1977)
Dixie Dregs - What If (1978)
Dixie Dregs - Night Of The Living Dregs (1979)
Dixie Dregs - Sex, Dregs & Rock 'n' Roll (1979)
Dixie Dregs - Dregs of The Earth (1980)
Dixie Dregs - Unsung Heroes (1981)
Dixie Dregs - Live In New York (1981)
Dixie Dregs - Industry Standard (1982)
The Introduction (1984)
Stand Up (1986)
Kansas - Power (1986)
Dixie Dregs - Best Of The Dixie Dregs (1987)
Dixie Dregs - Off The Record (1988)
Kansas - In The Spirit Of Things (1988)
Dixie Dregs - Divided We Stand - Best Of (1989)
High Tension Wires (1989)
Southern Steel (1991)
Coast To Coast (1992)
Dixie Dregs - Bring 'Em Back Alive (1992)
Dixie Dregs - Full Circle (1994)
Structural Damage (1995)
Stress Fest (1996)
Deep Purple - Purpendicular (1996)
Deep Purple - Live at the Olympia
Dixie Dregs - King Biscuit Flower Hour (1998)
Deep Purple - Abandon (1998)
Kansas - King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Kansas (1998)
Deep Purple - Total Abandon (1999)
Deep Purple - Major Impacts (2000)
Deep Purple - Live at the Royal Albert Hall (2000)
Dixie Dregs - California Screamin' (2000)
Major Impacts (2000)
Split Decision (2002)
Major Impacts 2 (2004)

(amongst others)

Genre: Rock

Origin US

Added: May 18th 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website:
Hits: 490
Language: english


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