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Stronger Every Day
(Severn Records - Severn CD 0043)
Review Date: Oct 2009
by Gordon Baxter
Severn Records in Maryland has produced a steady stream of acclaimed recording from its roster of artists. This year the label has 12 nominations for Blues music awards, not including their latest releases from Texan guitarist Mike Morgan, who has spent time indulging his passion for motor racing.
Morgan was a bit of a latecomer to the guitar. Having grown up listening to soul, he only started playing seriously after hearing SRV's "Texas Flood". He is no SRV sound-alike, though, and put together his band, the Crawl, in 1986 with Darrel Nulisch on vocals, later replaced by Lee McBee who is reunited with Morgan to sing on three tracks here. Stylistically Morgan blends rocking Texas blues with a healthy dose of soul. This works best on songs like "Where's the Love" with Randy McAllister's vocals making it sound like Marvin Gaye in his pomp, and "When I Get Back Home" where Mike Hanna does a sterling job on the organ. Although Morgan is usually portrayed as a guitar slinger, he plays in a subtle, restrained manner best illustrated by his classy rendition of "Okie Dokie Stomp".
Mike Morgan shows how it is possible to learn from the greats without having to slavishly copy them. This approach lends a contemporary feel to "Stronger Every Day", whilst still maintaining blues traditions. Another very good album, that should help to maintain Severn's high standards.
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