Steve Morse started his career as the lead guitarist for the Dixie Dregs. He then formed the Steve Morse Band and released numerous albums over the 80's & 90's. Stand Up was their 2nd album release, issued in 1985. It fe... more »atures guest artists Eric Johnson, Peter Frampton, T. Lavitz, Albert Lee & Mark O'Connor. Wounded Bird Records.« less
Steve Morse started his career as the lead guitarist for the Dixie Dregs. He then formed the Steve Morse Band and released numerous albums over the 80's & 90's. Stand Up was their 2nd album release, issued in 1985. It features guest artists Eric Johnson, Peter Frampton, T. Lavitz, Albert Lee & Mark O'Connor. Wounded Bird Records.
An excellent LP finally back in print....
S. McCrea | Henderson, NV United States | 12/11/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Out of print for probably fifteen years, it's great to see this album available again.
I'd give it 5-stars except for the rather banal lyrics of the songs. The soaring guitar work and expert arrangements make it a solid 4 (a 4+ if such a thing existed!)
I was introduced to Steve Morse when opened for Rush on the "Power Windows Tour" in 1986. (My ticket cost $14.50--less than the cost of this CD!)--for a seat that would easily cost $100 to $200 today!.
Unlike most opening bands, Morse didn't suck. In fact, he and his band impressed me so much I bought the casette on the way out of the concert. I didn't see any CDs. In fact, before it was re-released I don't think "Stand Up" was EVER available on CD. If it has been on that vendors table, I would have bought it.
The songs are recorded with the same excellence as the instrumentals, its the lyrics that are average (though positively stunning compared to the crap that dominates radio these days!). "English Rancher" is a rollocking, country-rock tribute. At the other end of the spectrum, the penultimate track "Golden Quest" begins with one of the most beautiful intros ever recorded. It then launches into a Zepplenesque "bombs-away" reminiscient of "Over the Hills". It's no pastiche however, just stylistically similar. The "Travels of Marco Polo" is another worthy instrumental.
Of the songs, "Rockin' Guitar" is a funny tribute to the rock life before one of the choruses, Morse can clearly be heard saying, "I refuse to scream." This is the very essence of the true rock sensibility, sadly lost as bands like the gawdawful White Stripes are hailed as the "new rock" (when in fact they are just recycled crap in a new package, with everything from their hair styles to their girlfriends probably chosen by the label, in many ways the music business resembles the studio system of Hollywood's so-called "Golden Years").
"Distant Star" is a pretty piece of love-lorn fluff, redeemed, as are all the songs, by the excellence of Morse's guitar and the arrangements. The only real howler is the opener, "Book of Dreams." The lyrics are simply silly. The music maintains the same level of ability. This one would have been much better as an instrumental. But instrumentals in the rock world have, with few exceptions, never sold well. The biggest exception would have to be the Ventures (their biggest success, however, has been in Japan, where they have sold over 40,000,000 records, easily ten or eleven times as many as they've sold in the US over nearly 50 years!). Songs are what have always sold.
Happily, for artistic reasons, Morse abandoned sprinkling his albums with sub-par lyrics and stuck to the instrumentals where his guitar is the real star. This choice, however, has condemned him to almost total anonymity amongst the music buying public. If you didn't discover him in the 80s, its unlikely you ever will. Hence his confinement to an unknown indie label.
After sampling some of the subsequent releases after "Stand Up" I never found the same fire and inspiration in this sophmore effort.
I love this album so much I still have the casette I purchased over 20 years. Recently, I discovered it on iTunes and downloaded it. It was great to finally have the songs in a quality digital format.
While the instrumentals are an awesome display of composition and execution; Morse easily ranks with Page, Gilmore, Lifeson, Clapton as one of the top ten greats. The back up band of unknowns was equal to the task of supporting Morse's fantastic lead. Yet another example of just how many talented musicians there are out there (and this was 20 years ago mind you!) that MTV, the likes of the tone-deaf Simon Cowell of "American Idol" infamy, and consolidation in the music industry (there are now essentially three records companys on the entire planet with the merger of Sony and BMG) have insured will never get a deal because the don't have the "look."
While "image" has always been part of rock (where world Elvis have been without his pelvis? the Beatles without their embrace of the so-called "counter-culture"?), once upon time pure talent could and you a deal (look at, say, Ray Charles, he certainly didn't land a deal because he fit some marketing nitwit's scheme!).
No more. With the Maurice Stars, Lou Perlmans and Simon Cowells (if these mean nothing to you, the Lord has been merciful!) and MTV talent is not even part of the equation anymore. Synthesizers can make even the most mediocre singers (Fantasia Barrino anyone?) sing in tune. And with slick marketing and packaging lack of ability, let alone inspiration, is irrelevant. Its all about focus groups, audience testing, and the "Q-score" (the "index" by which marketing geeks determine whether an actor, singer, band, etc, is "bankable").
And the record companies wonder why record sales have fallen in 11 of the last 12 years. It has NOTHING to do with "file-sharing" and everything to with the FACT that music SUCKS these days. What's even worse than the manufactured "artists" are the utterly talentless songwriters. It was painful to watch really talented singers like Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken forced to sing the utter garbage foisted upon them by the senile has-been Clive Davis.
In fact the ONLY good thing to come from the horror-show of "American Idol" has been the chance given to Aiken and Clarkson (my wife, incidentally is at Clarkson's concert this evening). Were it not for a show, it is almost inconceivable that either would have ever seen the light of day.
If Morse were coming on the scene today, he'd never have a shot. His talent might land him work as a studio musician, but as front-man? Never. None of the three major labels would touch him. The fact that he's been consigned to an almost completely unknown indie label is proof of my argument. If he had the right "look" or the knack of a Christina Aguilera or an R. Kelly for generating head-lines, perhaps. But we all know he'd never get past the marketing nitwits who control who gets a deal and who doesn't.
What ever has brought you to this page, I definitely urge you to buy this CD. If you're a true rock fan, especially one that doesn't mind some country flavor, buy this one. I have a feeling you'll be as pleasantly surprised as I was twenty years ago when Morse has his 20 minutes before Rush came on-stage. Unlike the Stevie Vai/Billy Sheehan mess that opened for Rush the second time I saw the (the "Presto" Tour in '89), I was left wanting MORE from Morse--whereas with Vai/Sheehan, I couldn't wait until they cleared the stage for the Masters."
Closed minds are the devil's playground.....
L. Katz | Line Lexington Pa USA | 04/26/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Stand up was Steve Morse's follow-up to the Introduction...Steve... has diverse abilities and like to flex his creative boundries... The album has great playing on it,in a more "song/vocal format rather than his usual(and personally appreciated)instrumental pieces.Like his foray's into Kansas(When he was "allowed" to stretch in the format)) and Deep Purple, it's all music and [really] good stuff at that, but not all apples have to be 'Red Delicious'. 'Stand up','Distant Star',and 'Book of Dreams' are good solid songs with lyrics that are par or above most(not all) found in our music, and 'Pick your poison' and 'Travels of Marco Polo' are great instrumental listening..With or without excellent guests...Be glad it's back,I assume, with a full color Sleeve..."
Pitchulo Dun Dun | Filha de Uma Puta | 08/21/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Morse is the master in whatever he writes, with or without lyrics. STAND UP is a very good album. I just didn't like the drums sound, exagerated reverb on it."
It's all over the map
Ronald S Thompson | San Jose, California United States | 04/12/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Stand Up is an album typical of the time it was produced. It's good, but fragmented. When you have such diverse talents as Peter Frampton, Eric Johnson and Allan Holdsworth on the same disc, it's bound to have high and low points. Alot of people who know Morse tend to want to have instrumentals only. I think it's great that there is at least some vocal work on this album, Alex Ledgerwood, on a tune co wrote with Frampton. It's not great, it's not bad, there are high points and low points. Enjoy the artistry and the effort. It's fun!"
The Punisher | 10/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For decades this was out of print. This one is great with talents like Morgenstein , Ligertwood , Eric Johnson helping out makes this one excellent for Dregs fans and rock fans. I have this on cassette and recorded it to cd not knowing it was ever going to be released. This is probably his best solo effort ever."