The lengthy tradition of guitar players hailing from Texas continues today in strong fashion with Mike Morgan, a native of Dallas. Following seven potent discs for the Black Top label, and one compilation on the imprint, Me & My Blues, Morgan returns on this self-produced CD from Severn Records, featuring a few powerful guests scattered over the hour-long baker's dozen, and Morgan's earthy vocals, for the first time.
Kicking off with the self-penned title cut, one of eight originals, Morgan gets down to business quickly, and proves his guitar playing is maturing each time he steps into a studio. Tossing out an oil-slicked Lone Star groove with Anson Funderburgh providing rhythm guitar, Morgan's vocals are powerful and on the mark. "The Way You Left Me Girl" runs off a rocking 1950's groove and makes way for a gritty take of Elmore James' "Wild About You," a stripped-down affair with Jon Moeller handling rhythm duties and Wes Starr's solid drumming, while Morgan's slide work is greasy and distorted, recalling Elmore's tone from his days with the Flair label. "Guitar Rhumbo" takes on a fine Excello feel, coming from Guitar Gable's pen, and Riley Osborne throws in a Professor Longhair-inspired piano solo to close the track. More blazing slide work with Hound Dog Taylor's "Gimme Back My Wig" follows, and three additional Morgan originals with the radio-friendly "I'm Gonna Love You," a sleeper which offers some of the disc's best guitar work. "I Had To Put You Down" allows Gary Primich room to hand in some gutbucket harp and relies on a tried-and-true Chicago riff, while the seven-minute, "Five Thousand Miles From Home," a slow blues ballad, turns in some soulful, Ronnie Earl influenced six-string work, and although Morgan's voice may still be in a learning curve, he acquits himself nicely. Another tip of the hat with Hound Dog's workout, "Taylor's Rock," has Moeller in tow, and Kevin Schermerhorn's pounding backbeat, and steps aside for "I've Got A Woman," another Morgan-written rocker, and Mr. Taylor's spirit steps up again for "See Me In The Evening." "Whoa My Darlin' " is another Texas rocker and the disc closes out with "Palmyra Stomp," a spitfire instrumental featuring Gary Primich throwing out some Little Walter-like harmonica chores.
Mike Morgan has stepped up with a potent slice of work in "Texas Man," showing his guitar playing is never an effort in showmanship, instead, being the foundation from which the songs groove. The variations offered here; be it the slide pieces which smolder, the rockers that move, or the heartfelt ballad, all take on a different appearance, owing to Morgan's skills as a songwriter and producer, serving up tracks to please almost any musical palette. The core band of Rhandy Simmons on bass, Wes Starr's drum work, and Riley Osborne's keyboards, work hand-in-hand, never intruding, while guests Funderburgh, Moeller, and Primich turn in effortless contributions. This is a winner that proves Mike Morgan's combination of Texas roots and skill, including slashing guitar, workmanlike vocals, and producer's savvy, all have plenty of horsepower and fuel necessary to keep on driving. Contact www.severnrecords.com for more information, or try www.summitartists.com/mikemorgan - or join the email list at: email@example.com
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