Dave Murphy: Yes That's Me (Ode)

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Dave Murphy: Yes, That's Me By The Cigarette Machine
Dave Murphy: Yes That's Me (Ode)

Yes, and that's me with the quote on the back cover of this excellent collection by longstanding Wellington bluesman Dave Murphy.
Here's what I say: "The blues is a music made by people who have struggled, have hard and true stories to tell and do so in a voice that is compelling. Dave Murphy, 35 years a journeyman on New Zealand's blues highway, is one of those characters and this captures him at his essence: unadorned, honest and live as he records his long overdue debut album."
But there is much more here because this disc also comes with a DVD film by Costa Botes (who did the terrific Windy City Strugglers doco) in which the recording sessions and the singer-guitarist are captured with the same kind of crisp and undramatic focus as Murphy's music.
Some may feel a central aspect of Murphy's life is skimmed over, but the truth is in the acoustic music and Murphy -- here on material by Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Louis Jordan, Mississippi Hurt and others -- leaves you in no doubt he had ridden on hard roads and happy to be here now.
His original, the title track, is an autobiographical piece about his residency in a bar which can be either funny or sad depending on your perspective -- and you can guess Murphy sometimes saw his life as the singer beside the cigarette machine in those bitter-sweet terms too.

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tom appleton - Jul 4, 2009

hi i bought this record today, because i thought, right, let's check this one out. i still wonder what the blurb writer meant by saying this guy has been a journeyman on new zealand's blues highway for 35 years without recording a CD.i guess he just sounds flat and uninteresting, that's why -- or shall we say, he works himself up to a kind of jerry lee lewis lather on occasion, but that's about it. question: what do i need to hear an -- admittedly quite good -- new zealand blues guitarist doing covers he can never hope to match, when, moreover, those tracks have alread been covered by scores of artists who really brought something new to those bits? the only original song on the CD wasn't exactly HOT either. there ARE a couple of nice tracks on the CD, where the playing, the singing and the timing all gel in a nice way. but, obviously, as a non-religious person i am likely to be majorly put off straight away by murphy's "give thanks to god" spiel and inclusion of a very very dull hymn on the disc. makes you wonder if he's merely pandering to the salvation army clientele. why couldn't he have collaborated with some original songwriting talent in the land? and produced a BLUES-BASED but much more original and lively offering. i'd LOVE to be enthusiastic about some home-grown talent, but this is, at best, journeyman stuff, not real blues mastery. there are sooo many great musicians in wellington who could have backed him and provided a brilliant setting for a great bunch of blues songs -- even covers of originals done in a way never heard before. i hope murphy's second CD will be the fulfilment of the promise that merely lurks in the corners here. the feeling i get is that murphy may have acquired the right age to sing the blues, with meaning and full of experience, but he doesn't actually have anything to say. surely, if he is a sufferer from depression, that alone should give him enough material to write half a dozen songs right there. but there must be joyful stuff in his life too, there must be something more than -- "i'm the guy in the corner next to the cigarette vending machine, playing the guitar." who the dingdong wants to know about THAT? come on murphy, find some decent song material, and if jerry lee is your vocal template, then blast it out, do a couple of rockabilly covers and make your guitar dance. and get these guys in town to give you a backing with any instrument they can find. maybe your NEXT CD will then sound really inspired...huh?!

tom appleton - Jul 5, 2009

i've only just finished watching the MOVIE on the DVD that comes with this CD. i guess it puts a different slant on the CD, as murphy emerges as quite a nice kind of guy, but i also feel it caps things. this is it basically -- if i had expectations that i would hear a different record some day, i don't think that's very likely now. dave murphy seems to be happy to be a player, a contemporary presenter of a historic style of American Black music, the blues as it may have been played by the likes of Muddy Waters or Mississippi John Hurt when these guys were playing at Newport, circa 1965. In as much as that was a good 40 to 50 years ago, he is basically a performer of classic American blues styles, rather than contemporary blues or song material, with or without a NZ content. He could be performing Yiddish or French songs, like LINN LORKIN, with equal gusto. Or Schubert songs, too. It's legit, it just doesn't have much to do with this time or place. So whether i listen to donovan doing CANDY MAN or dave murphy is merel a matter of taste and preference, not a matter of relevance.

Matt Lamason - Sep 21, 2009

Dave plays and sings the blues outside our little coffee shop most Sundays - 12A Constable St, Newtown, Wellington. If you like what you hear above - grab a fine coffee and join him from midday..

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