Dallas-raised guitarist, singer, and songwriter Mike Morgan formed his blues and blues-rock band in the late '80s, amid that city's still thriving nightclub scene. Morgan, who got his first guitar in elementary school, was inspired to play better guitar after hearing Stevie Ray Vaughan's debut album, Texas Flood, in 1985. He grew up in suburban Dallas listening to the radio and being inspired initially by people like Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett. Morgan had been playing rock guitar prior to this, but after 1985 he jumped with both feet into playing blues and blues-rock. Although he was motivated and influenced by the late legendary Vaughan, Morgan also cites T-Bone Walker, Magic Sam, and fellow Dallas area musician Anson Funderburgh as influences on his music. After moving to Dallas in 1986, Morgan met vocalist Darrell Nulisch and formed his group the Crawl -- named after a Lonnie Brooks composition -- shortly thereafter. Nulisch took Morgan under his wing and schooled him further with his deep, wide-ranging collection of blues recordings, and the band began to play in venues beyond Dallas/Fort Worth. They performed originals and classic blues, and Nulisch later left the band in 1989. Morgan found a singing replacement with the Kansas City-raised Lee McBee, who also played expert harmonica. The new band made inroads on the blues festival circuit in the early '90s, and one year after the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, fellow Dallas area guitarist Anson Funderburgh took a Black Top Records executive to hear Morgan and the Crawl. Black Top immediately signed Morgan to the New Orleans-based label, and the band found national and international audiences with a slew of releases.
Morgan and the Crawl released their debut, Raw & Ready, in 1990, and they followed up with five other albums of spry originals and classic covers, including Mighty Fine Dancin', Full Moon Over Dallas, Ain't Worried No More, Looky Here!, and The Road. In 1994, working with fellow Dallas guitarist Jim Suhler, he released Let the Dogs Run. Later, he released I Like the Way You Work It, also for Black Top. Morgan and the Crawl carved out their reputation in the early '90s with thematically fresh original songs and incendiary live concerts. Morgan continues to tour internationally, and his late-'90s and early-2000s output includes several other fine albums. McBee left the band at the end of 1999 to pursue his own band back home in Kansas. Morgan began singing himself, as well as playing guitar, feeling that he had been well schooled by a procession of lead vocalists who included Nulisch, Keith Dunn, and Chris Whynaught. Texas Man was released in 2000 on the Maryland-based Severn Records label and the follow-up, Live in Dallas, was issued in 2004. Morgan's 2006 release, Stronger Every Day, includes contributions from vocalist/harmonica player McBee as well as guitarist Randy McAllister. ~ Richard Skelly