STEVE MORSE – OUT STANDING IN THEIR FIELD (ARCHIVE)

Out Now / Eagle Rock
 
Steve Morse should need no introduction to readers here at Virtuosity One.  If you do suffice to say the guy came to prominence with Dixie Dreggs, won all major guitar magazine accolades in the 80’s, is the main influence for John Petrucci, joined Deep Purple as Blackmore’s replacement in 1996 and since increased his profile considerably.  Out Standing In Their Field is Morse’s first new solo album in 5 years and rocks harder than previous efforts.

On this entirely instrumental album, Morse joins forces with long time SM band bassist Dave LaRue and drummer Van Romaine to pound out un-tethered creativity.  This is enjoyable stuff from start to finish and is in my opinion the best Morse solo album to date from the grooving Purple-ish riffs of opening brace of Name Dropping and Brink Of The Edge to the more mellow timbres of Here and Now and Then right up to the superb Flight Of The Osprey and the closing classical piece of Baroque N Dreams  this is a fine collection of Morse’s wide ranging pallet. All exceptionally well played and more to the point than offerings on previous albums Morse has delivered a compact album that is about write in length with a good flow throughout.

Opinions are divided on whether Morse is right for Deep Purple, but there is no debate as to whether Morse is a true guitar legend.

Rating – 85%

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TONY HARNELL & THE MERCURY TRAIN – ROUND TRIP (ARCHIVE REVIEW)

Out Now – Frontiers

Not what I expected. That’s the least I can say about Tony Harnell’s latest project.
Harnell has decided to give us unplugged versions of some favourite songs from his 25+ year career. We’re all familiar with the roaring originals, so these subdued versions will probably strike you as a bit odd at first.

Of course Harnell’s voice is instantly recognizable, but the average hard rock fan would be well advised to listen before buying. The songs stand up well in their new guise (some of the new arrangements are actually bloody brilliant) but if you’re anything like me you’ll be left hankering for Ronnie Le Treko’s or Mark Reale’s blistering guitars. I have to say I was particularly curious about “10.000 Lovers” and I’m glad to confirm it’s one of the standout tracks here.

A very hard album to rate. Perfectly suited for a mellow evening with the missus. If you want to rock out there’s always the original versions by the respective bands.
From this point of view it easily rates an 85. It actually puts most bands’ pedestrian attempts at going unplugged to shame. If on the other hand you were hoping for a helping of heavy rock just steer clear…

Rating – 85%
Review by Sancho