Matt Murphy was born in Mississippi, raised as a musician in Memphis, and came to play with some of Chicago finest, waxing with many along the way. Matt has backed Junior Parker, Howlin' Wolf, and most notably was the consummate sideman to pianist Memphis Slim. He has recorded as a sideman on Vee-Jay, United, Strand, Buddah, and Antone's/Discovery; as a Chess Records sessionist he worked behind Etta James, Otis Rush, and Chuck Berry; and on Buddah Records he stroked behind James Cotton. Many may remember his acting career playing guitar behind the Blues Brothers more recently; in fact the Blues Brothers Horns appear here.
Murphy however has long been respected as the perfect backup; laying down dazzling finger and fret work and not missing a step in the economical slow blues stuff. He has an encyclopedic feel for each note or chord thrown out. He has always turned heads with his punchy, sharp, and energy-packed boogie guitar stylings, and that comes across on his opening instrumental "Boogie Overture". This is his second release on Roesch following the debut The Blues Don't Bother Me!.
Engine room power comes from the drummin' of nephew Floyd Murphy Jr. and bassists Todd Barney, Scott Spray, and Murphy himself. Leon Pendarvis is heard on the keys. Howard Eldridge, David Foster, Pendarvis, and Murphy also lay down some tasty lead vocal takes, while the horn men are Sax Gordon Beadle, Birch Johnson, Lou Marini, and Alan Rubin. Background singers include Matt and Floyd Jr., Foster, Beadle, Vic Steffens, and Sable and Joe Roesch.
Blues integrity, drive and energy keep this a treat. The boogied start falls off and the solid blues take off with "What's Up With You Baby?" handled by Matt and Floyd Jr. only. A little funk and some sparkin' 'Beadlejuice' horn falls into the mix on "Who's Got The Puddy?", before "Good Luck Charm" falls back into the deep blues groove. Murphy's deep-smoked vocals lays atop a supportively picked bass by Spray and taut ax lines that Matt also throws out there. Throughout the music is original and penned by Murphy. Strong arranging, strong keyboards, hearty guitar, and a great horn component make this work. This biscuit is well laid out, highly flavorful, and well worth your hard earned change.
Roesch Records, Inc.; P.O. Box 1002; Darien, CT 06820:
This review is copyright © 2001 by Mark A. Cole, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.