Instructional DVD. A rather tight arsed 47 minute 'best of' two 1991 VHS video releases, 'The Essential Steve Morse', and 'The Complete Styles Of Steve Morse'.

Steve has previously released three one-hour tutorial videos, which are worth cataloguing before looking at the DVD version.

Power Lines   REH Video / Warner Brothers, REH816. 1989. All music performed solo by Steve. Came with booklet.

The Complete Styles Of Steve Morse DCI Music Video Productions, VHO102. Released with book and audio-cassette, or book and cd. 1991.

The Essential Steve Morse DCI Music Video, VHO101. Released with book and audio-cassette, or book and cd. 1991.

Everything about Highlights seems cheap... the fact that it's a very short feature based on a 1994 VHS video compilation, that the bonus footage doesn't even feature Steve, that BB King's liner notes are re-used without changing names, and so on, right down to the shoddy card case that it's housed in.

However, I'm glad I bought it. The sleeve notes contain familiar looking hyberbole such as: "The Steve Morse Band is featured in several burning performances." But they're right. The Steve Morse Band performances, recorded in a New York TV studio in 1991, do burn. They are brilliant, and can be sequenced to run consecutively in a 'performance-only feature' which omits Steve's tutorials. In all they come in at just 12 minutes, with the jawdropping jazz-rock work-out 'Cut To The Chase' playing over the opening titles, the insanely wonderful 'Simple Simon' and blue-grass styled 'Gina Lola Breakdown' , and finally 'Cruise Control' sadly faded after the end credits, just as it's getting going.

The dvd is largely aimed at intermediate level guitarists, so Steve's tuition pieces make up the bulk of the feature. Though I enjoy his demonstrations, he's a rather unfocused speaker. In his narrative to camera he plainly struggles to describe his guitar techniques. For watching guitarists wishing to learn something the most useful sections are the band performances, with camera angles suited to watching Steve's hands at work.

In the end it's one for completists only (like me, hello,) especially as the new 'Sects Dregs & Rock'n'Roll' dvd offers so, so much more. It does score points for the well filmed live action, and for featuring the current Steve Morse Band line-up with Dave LaRue and Van Romaine. (Van evens gets a short drum solo!!..) If it compiled all three VHS tuition videos together in their entirety, I'd heartily recommend it. (They're still available, but very expensive). Really, it's an opportunity missed.

review: David Browne

The picture quality is for the most part fine, though it could be sharper. It is unsurprisingly in regular 4:3 aspect. The sound is sharp, though bog standard Dolby Digital.

The disc is multiregion NTSC, so if you're in a PAL area you may still be able to view it.

Steve Morse. Highlights.

deep purple reviews