Mike Morgan

Live in Dallas

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    5
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AllMusic Review by

Sadly, the majority of Mike Morgan and the Crawl's catalog remains out of print -- his eight releases for the defunct Black Top label had not, as of mid-2004, been reissued -- which leaves him with only one studio disc available. To get some of his earlier music back in the marketplace, Morgan takes the songs to a live setting, resulting in Live in Dallas, recorded at one June 1, 2002 show in his hometown. It's a representative overview of the artist's strengths (solid if not terribly distinctive guitar work) and weaknesses (pleasant but unmemorable vocals) with what seems to be little post-show sweetening. A few of Morgan's originals sound suspiciously like covers ("Cause I Love You" is a ringer for Slim Harpo's "Te-Ni-Nee-Ni-Nu"), but he does resurrect some interesting covers, like Elmore James' "12 Year Old Boy." While his solos and approach aren't unique, he puts on an impressive and occasionally fiery performance, free of the grandstanding typical of most contemporary blues guitar slingers. Slightly hampering the recording is somewhat muddy sound that dulls the set's edge. It makes for a characteristic album from a talented if not especially distinctive bluesman doing what he does best in front of appreciative fans. Live in Dallas doesn't, however, surpass or replace his rugged and extensive Black Top work, much of it with former vocalist/harpist Lee McBee, which remains the best way to hear Morgan at the top of his game.

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