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April 2002

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Mike Morgan & The Crawl
Texas Man
  Severn Records

Mike Morgan & The CrawlMike Morgan & The Crawl return with a high dose of Texas blues on this 60 minute, 13 track disc that features 8 originals. As expected, the original songs on Texas Man (Severn Records) are on a par with the classics they chose to cover. However, donít expect to hear Lee McBee or any others on vocals. This time around it's Mike who is out front and center. In addition to handling all the lead guitar playing, he tackles all the lead singing for the first time ever. With guest musicians Anson Funderburgh (guitar), Jon Moeller (guitar) and Gary Primich (harp), the result is an outright Lone Star Spanker. 

A slow and steady, lazy Texas shuffle called "Texas Man" kicks things off. Riley Osborne tickles the ivories like nobodyís business while Morgan plays killer guitar. He plays with plenty of feeling, resisting the temptation to join in on the 100 mph gunning craze. With excitement and pride, Mike vocally proclaims Ďainít nothing like a Texas shuffle.í This jam must have gone on forever in the studio, but here its faded out, keeping it in the five minute range. "The Way You Left Me Girl" defines what Texas Blues guitar tone is supposed to sound like --- and thatís greasy. This uptempo number is sure to have you shakiní. Elmore Jamesí classic, "Wild About You," is covered with grace. In fact, Mikeís slide playing is so magnificent you will think that James has risen from the grave. 

More bottleneck is featured on three Hound Dog Taylor tunes. On each, Mike and the boys stay true to the original versions by including only lead guitar, rhythm guitar and drums, and employing no one on bass. Morgan canít match the rawness of the original vocals on "Gimme Back My Wig," but he easily matches and possibly exceeds the prowess on slide. A couple joyful instrumentals are included, and one displays New Orleans boogie woogie guitar/piano mumbo rhumbo. "Iím Gonna Love You" is a pop tune that should be receiving airplay. Deep, dirty Chicago Blues appear on "I Had To Put You Down," and they sound straight out of the Chess era. Here, Primich proves himself to be a master blues harmonica ace. Things get smooth, sassy and sexy on the slow blues "Five Thousand Miles From Home". The pace is increased on the swinging roadhouse rocker "Whoa My Darlin". 

This CD reinforces why Texas blues is so loved within the genre. Itís an ideal disc for the Texas blues newbie or the experienced aficionado. The music on this CD is a pure joy to listen to. Morgan chooses to play a diversity of styles: shuffles, Chicago blues, boogie woogie, pop and swing. It may be a challenge to find this Mike Morgan-produced release. Itís worth the search because once it's in your CD player, you wonít be taking it out for a long time.

For CDs, booking and information, contact: Severn Records Inc., PO Box 1450, Millersville, MD 21108, website: www.severnrecords.com --- artist website: www.summitartists.com/mikemorgan.

---- Tim Holek

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