Review: Mike Morgan & The Crawl – The Lights Went Out in Dallas


Mike Morgan And The Crawl -The Lights Went Out In Dallas

Mike Morgan And The Crawl – The Lights Went Out In Dallas
Format: CD – Digital/ Label: Continental Record Services
Release: 2022

Text: Bert van Kessel

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Mike Morgan, the frontman of The Crawl is first and foremost an amazing Texas guitar slinger, but after esteemed vocalist Lee McBee (to whom this album is dedicated) quit, Mike took over on lead vocals. And he surely displays an impressive development as a singer on this new album which is now released after a 15-year gap since the well-received ‘Stronger Every Day.’

However, this wouldn’t be a Mike Morgan album if there weren’t a great deal of guitar prowess to be enjoyed. Mike himself excels throughout, showing that a break from the intensive touring and recording has done well for him. He is helped out by renowned fellow Texan axemen Anson Funderburgh, Shawn Pittman and Reo Casey who exchange guitar duties continuously, which makes for a diverse supply of riffs and fills.

The  album is of course characterised by Mike Morgan’s trademark foot-stompin’ Texas Blues, including a sincere  homage to his inspiration Lazy Lester. There is, however,  a lot more to be enjoyed, making this album his most versatile to date.

With the opening track, Jerry McCain’s Ding Dong Man, Mike is on familiar swampy territory and Anson Funderburgh takes centre-stage with some dazzling soloing. It is followed by a veritable sixties soul track Please Accept My Love with very convincing vocals by Mike.

Christain Dozzler’s accordeon brightens up the slow-groover A Woman with Reo Casey on  overwhelming lead guitar. The funky instrumental Funkafacation again features Reo Casey on lead guitar, but the real star here is Hammond – wizard Mike Flannigan on the B3.

The next two tracks are atmospheric  narratives about a shout-out at the Pecos river ( with Chris McGuire contributing a trumpet reminiscent of Calexico) and about a tornado-struck Dallas in the title track. That contains outstanding  vocals by several female background singers, with Mike contributing emotive vocals and  ditto guitar solo.

The band gets in full swing again on Aiight and continues this on some more swampy, guitar-filled Texas Blues tracks, on which all guitar players get their turn. The band only takes its foot off the throttle on the touching ballads Maybe, with a plaintive accordeon by Dave Perez, and the closing track Our Last Goodbye, which features a touching B3 organ.

With ‘The Lights When Out in Dallas’ you’re in for a stormy night with a rejuvenated Mike Morgan and his Crawl.

01. Ding Dong Daddy
02. Please Accept My Love
03. A Woman
04. Funkafacation
05. The Fracas By The Pecos
06. The Lights Went Out In Dallas
07. Aiight
08. Workin For The Man
09. Out In The Jungle
10. Goin’ Down To Eli’s
11. Maybe
12. Lazy Lester
13. Our Last Goodbye

The Musicians on this recording:
Mike Morgan – Vocals tracks 1-7,9,11-13. Guitar all tracks. Lodge cornbread mold and spoon track 6
Drew Allain – Bass on all tracks except track 9
Kevin Schermerhorn – Drums all tracks except 5 and 7. Bongos track 6
Anson Funderburgh – Guitar track 5
Shawn Pittman – Piano track 7. Rhythm Guitar track 9. Guitar fills and 1st solo track 12. Vocals track 10
Reo Casey – Guitar fills and first solo track 2. Rhythm Guitar track 6. Lead guitar track 7. Rhythm and fills track 10. Piano tracks 5 and 11 Fender Rhodes track 8. Drums track 11. Native American Drum track 6
Mike Flannigan – B3 on tracks 4 and 8
Christain Dozzler – Piano track 2. Accordian track 7
Chris McGuire -Trumpet tracks 4 and 6. Tenor Sax, Baritone Sax track 4
Dave Perez – Accordian and harmony vocals track 3
Andrea Wallace – Back up and harmony vocals tracks 4,11 and 13
Pappy Middleton – Back up vocals track 5