"Live and Blue"
Catch 22 Records HKR98562
by TR Marshall
Review date: November 1999
1999 KBA Award Winner|
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by the Blues Foundation
There are some pretty good blues bands from the Midwest playing bars, clubs and making appearances throughout the region. Michael Murphy and the MOB (Men of Blues) from the Appleton, Wisconsin area is one and who recently played the Twin Cities (10/8/99). In a small club on the East Side of St. Paul (Sherwood Lounge), MM and the MOB gave those in attendance an almost carbon copy of their CD "Live and Blue." The recording is a live 14 song collection recorded at The Wooden Nickel, a club in Appleton, and to an obviously friendly crowd familiar with Michaelís blues work. He exchanges one liners with the audience throughout and itís evident that the band has a few fans. Michael handles all the vocals and rhythm guitar, bass: Keith Farnum, lead Guitar: Mike Boyle, drums: Matt Geiske. It sometimes occurs that a band will not sound the same on disc as they do in a live setting. With Michael and the MOB this is not the case, what is on "Live and Blue" could have been recorded that night in St. Paul. What can creep into a performance can disappear at the hands of a sound engineer in the mix But here you get it as it was playedÖfeedback, tuning, crowd noise and all. Not all "live" performances work, but with this disc itís informality works to introduce us to their interpretation of such standards as "Drowning on Dry Land," "Hoochie Coochie Man" and even the Beatles "Help."
It generally takes several listenings of a new disc for me to absorb and appreciate what the performers have recorded, this is no exception. I like the gruffness of Michaelís voice, it fits the groupís song selection well, and they play as a quartet without a featured member. Each solo demonstrates individual ability, but not at the expense of the group. Iím sure with the reception they received on their first visit to not only the Twin Cities, but also having never played in Minnesota before they will be back. Many bands try hard to build a following and my guess is they will have many more fans with each visit.
1615 N. Meade St.
Appleton, WI 54911
This review is copyright © 1999 by TR Marshall, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.