Review: Industry Standard

With the previous 1981 album Unsung Heroes coming up short, Dixie Dregs mixed things up a little with their 1982 record, Industry Standard. Not only did the band utilise some commercial rock motifs, but they even had vocals on two tracks and changed their name to The Dregs.

When I first read up on this album, I read a lot of reviews stating that this is hands down the band’s best work. Even though I would strongly disagree with that statement, I agree that Industry Standard is a fairly enjoyable album that does what its predecessor should have done, mix it up a little.

When I say the band mixed things up a little, it isn’t as much as you’d imagine. The biggest changes is the fact that the majority of the songs are simpler in style, a little more streamlined if you will. There is also a matter of Alex Ligertwood on Crank It Up and Patrick Simmons’ lead vocals and co-writing credit on the song, Ridin’ High. Both tracks are a little different by the band’s previous standards but are both enjoyable rock songs. The latter is by far the better song with its blues shuffle groove and an overall better vocal performance.

Much like the previous albums, Dixie Dregs have some superb production values on Industry Standard, which was handled by band leader Steve Morse himself alongside Eddy Offord who has also worked with Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Yes amongst others. You can hear a little bit of the ’80s seep into the bands sound, but not enough for it to date the album too much. In fact, the most dated thing about this album is the two vocal songs and the use of synthesizers.

In conclusion, I don’t think this is a better album than What If. But it is definitely a consistent, great sounding album that the band have clearly put a lot of effort into. The more stripped back simple songs make for some interesting variety, it is just a shame they never quite hit the big time. It is also worth noting that, Industry Standard was the band’s only album until their final release, Full Circle from 1994.

Rating : 8 / 10

Where to buy :

Track Listing :

  1. Assembly Line
  2. Crank It Up
  3. Chips Ahoy
  4. Bloodsucking Leeches
  5. Up in the Air
  6. Ridin' High
  7. Where's Dixie
  8. Conversation Piece
  9. Vitamin Q