The 10 Greatest Dallas Blues Artists

Categories: Best Of

best-dfw-photo.jpg
Courtesy of Delta Groove
Face off: Smokin' Joe Kubek (left) and Bnois King.
The Lone Star State has long produced some of the greatest blues legends to ever pick up a guitar or stand behind a microphone. Legends like Albert Collins from Leona, Sam "Lightnin'" Hopkins from Centerville and Johnny Winter from Beaumont all have found the blues in Texas. Hell, we even have a Grammy Award-winning Austin blues artist Marcia Ball playing opera houses, town halls and beer and BBQ festivals across the country, and the Godfather of the Blues Robert Johnson recorded one of his albums in Dallas.

But Dallas has also had more than its fair share of legendary names leaving their mark on the blues world. Freddie King, T-Bone Walker, Blind Lemon Jefferson and, of course, Oak Cliff's own Stevie Ray Vaughn all have dominated blues charts across the web. But what about the other Dallas blues artists who've been blazing local and national stages for decades, slowly building their own legends yet somehow staying underneath the mainstream media's radar?

To help keep that name at the forefront of our online collective consciousness, here's a list of our favorite Dallas-based blues artists:

See also:
-The 100 Best Texas Songs: The Complete List
-The Ten Most Badass Band Names in DFW
-The Best Bands in DFW: 2012 Edition
-Photo Essay: The Tattoos of Dallas' Nightlife Scene


1. Mike Morgan
A man wearing a patch over his eye in the media evokes images of a pirate, an outlaw biker or an injured vet forever scarred fighting for our freedom, depending on your perspective. Now give that patched-eye man a guitar, and the images reach a whole new level of bad ass that's even sexier than Johnny Depp's Keith Richards' impersonation. Since the mid-'80s, Mike Morgan has been slinging his Fender Strat with local and regional bands and teaching other people how to sling their own guitars. His band Mike Morgan and The Crawl was once considered one of the best contemporary blues bands in Texas, releasing such hits as Raw & Ready, Full Moon Over Dallas and The Road. Mike is currently fronting a three-piece version of his band.


2. Andrew "Jr. Boy" Jones
No one knows the blues better than Andrew "Jr. Boy" Jones. He's played guitar with Freddie King's backing ensemble until the blues king death in 1976, and also jammed with the likes of blues vocalist Johnnie Taylor and local Dallas legend the "Reverend" R.L. Griffin. For eight years "Jr. Boy" led the Charlie Musselwhite Band and took part in winning Band of the Year at the W.C. Handy Awards. In 1997, he released his first solo album I Need Time, followed by Watch What You Say a year later, Mr. Domestic in 2001, Jr. Boy Live in '06 and Gettin' Real in '09. Although mainstream success has somehow missed him for most of his life, Jr. Boy's contributions to the blues will long be remembered by fans worldwide.


3. Miss Marcy
In a musical genre dominated too often by men, Miss Marcy is at the forefront of the Dallas blues scene, wowing blues aficionados with a voice that sounds one part angelic/two parts devilish, which nearly caused this listener's heart to stop as I fell into her words. Graduating from the University of North Texas in 2001, Miss Marcy has spent the last decade playing club gigs, festivals and private parties across the Dallas/Fort Worth area. In 2010, she released her first album Miss Marcy and the Texas SugarDaddy's. Harnessing blues divas like Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey and Big Mama Thorton, Miss Marcy is living proof that the blues are timeless.


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16 comments
johnnyanxiety
johnnyanxiety

And what about spelling SRV's name right? Vaughan not Vaughn!

johnnyanxiety
johnnyanxiety

And what about spelling SRV's name right? Vaughan not Vaughn!

guitarbenno
guitarbenno

How about Marc Benno. Led band The Nightcrawlers

Featuring SRV and played blues on LA WOMAN

ALBUM. Partnered with Lightnin Hopkins &

Mance Lipscomb. Regional hit HALL STREET JIVE

HISTORY OF DALLAS SONG & more

www.marcbenno.com

johnnyanxiety
johnnyanxiety

When will you children learn how to spell VAUGHAN?

Don_O
Don_O

I think it is a good list, however with over 100 blues bands and artists around here there is no way to make a "right" top 10.  Heaven forbid The Observer would actually do feature stories on local blues artists rather than just lists, but it is what it is.  List another 10 for the next 9 weeks and you would just about get there.  Then we can argue about who the top 10 should be. 

The only name I would quibble with on that list is Doyle II.  His bio on his website starts with  "Doyle Bramhall II was raised in a home filled with the blues and rock and roll sounds that are indigenous to his birthplace - Austin, Texas."  I don't think anyone, especially him, considers himself to be Dallas Blues. 

ChrisYu
ChrisYu topcommenter

of course there'll be debate over exclusions, but overall pretty good list. I miss hearing RL on the radio 'I ain't mad at nobody'!

Aaron Dietrich
Aaron Dietrich

How do the Vaughan brothers not make this list????? Stevie and Jimmy?

Scott Lindsey
Scott Lindsey

Seriously?!?!? The great Rev KM Williams not on that list? pfft. Fail.

Reverbunit
Reverbunit

FAIL! REV KM WILLIAMS is not on this list. This is hilarious.

Reverbunit
Reverbunit

FAIL! REV KM WILLIAMS is not on this list. This is hilarious.

guitarbenno
guitarbenno

Doyle II is a tremendous blues player. Not limited to but included.

ChrisYu
ChrisYu topcommenter

@Don_O  pretty sure they don't have enough writers to cover all those blues. give Christian credit for keeping it in the headlines here.

Don_O
Don_O

@ChrisYu @Don_O I agree.  The glass is way more than half full and kudos to Chris and The Observer for even mentioning the blues at all.  However if you look at what gets published here, it's mostly top 10s and best of lists, not in depth articles.  Maybe that's just the way it is in this short attention span march towards Idiocracy.  

They have to cover everything, too, and that makes it even more fun.  I just remember the days back in the 90s when there were 5 or 6 blues features a year by writers like Tim Schuller or Josh Alan, people who could spell SRV's last name and knew that Robert Johnson never recorded any "albums". 

Oh, and they used to have original photos instead of promo shots and youtube links.  But I guess then someone would have to go to a club!

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