Friday, February 06, 2009

Take That Back

Matt "Guitar" Murphy

Way Down South


Life and career

Murphy was born in Sunflower, Mississippi.[1] He played with Howlin' Wolf as early as 1948 (harpist Little Junior Parker was also in the band at the time).[1]

By 1952, Murphy was in Chicago, where he began his long association with Memphis Slim by playing on his dates for United Records and Vee Jay Records, including the album, At The Gate of Horn (1959).[2]

He was already a legend among serious guitarists by the 1960s, famed for the incredibly fast and intricate blues riffs that would soon change rock and roll. While white rock and rollers were still playing the slow melodic riffs of "Love One Another" or the slow fuzzy riffs of "Wild Thing," a few (like Eric Clapton, Rick Derringer and Jeff Beck) were listening to the flying fingers of B. B. King and Matt Murphy and trying to emulate them.[citation needed]

Murphy did not have a band of his own until 1982, but played with many famous bands. Among them (more or less chronologically):
Howlin' Wolf
Little Junior Parker
Ike Turner
Memphis Slim
James Cotton
Otis Rush
Etta James
Sonny Boy Williamson II
Chuck Berry
Joe Louis Walker
The Blues Brothers

He played with some of these bands for many years (for example, 20 years in a row with Memphis Slim), while others were just sessions during his work at Chess Records (obviously, Otis Rush did not need a full-time guitarist, he could play well himself, unlike piano-player Memphis Slim).

He can be seen in the films The Blues Brothers and Blues Brothers 2000, where he plays Aretha Franklin's hen-pecked husband. Work thereafter with The Blues Brothers turned him into one of the best-known blues guitarists in the United States.[2]

Murphy's signature model guitar is manufactured by Cort Guitars. Murphy has been less active since he suffered a stroke on stage while performing in Nashville in 2003 — he finished his set performing with one hand. A benefit was mounted by notable musicians of Memphis and Nashville. Matt is living in Miami, FL. He has been playing in Florida with two young proteges passing the torch. Wiki

Review by Bill Dahl

The dazzling guitarist has recorded very sparingly as a leader over the course of his long career, preferring the relative anonymity of sideman duties behind Memphis Slim, James Cotton, and the Blues Brothers. But he acquits himself most competently here, mixing blues, funk, R&B, and a little jazz into his sparkling fretwork. His brother Floyd Murphy, a Memphis blues guitar legend himself, is on hand for a family reunion.

1 Way Down South
2 Big Six
3 Gonna Be Some Changes Made
4 Big City Takedown
5 Buck's Boogie
6 Thump Tyme
7 Matt's Guitar Boogie, No. 2
8 Low Down and Dirty
9 Gimme Somma Dat
10 Blue Walls