Matt Murphy


musical style: 

photograph of Matt Murphy

There are several artists with this name, including:
1) Matt Murphy was an American blues guitarist;
2) Matt Murphy is a video game composer;
3) Matt Murphy is an Australian keyboadist;
4) Matt Murphy is a Canadian rock musician from Nova Scotia;

1) Matthew Tyler Murphy (December 29, 1929 – June 15, 2018) known as Matt "Guitar" Murphy, was an American blues guitarist. He was associated with the bands The Blues Brothers and Howlin' Wolf.
Murphy was born in Sunflower, Mississippi, and was educated in Memphis, where his father worked at the Peabody Hotel. Murphy learned to play guitar when he was a child. In 1948 he moved to Chicago, where he joined the Howlin' Wolf band, which at the time featured Little Junior Parker.
Murphy worked a lot with Memphis Slim, including on his album At the Gate of Horn (1959). Murphy did not have a band of his own until 1982 but did work in the studio and on stage with many musicians, including Ike Turner, Muddy Waters, James Cotton, Otis Rush, Etta James, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Chuck Berry and Joe Louis Walker.
He gave a memorable performance in 1963 on the American Folk Blues Festival tour of Europe with his "Matt's Guitar Boogie". Freddie King is said to have once admitted that he based his "Hide Away" on Murphy's playing during this performance. (King originally recorded "Hide Away" 3 years earlier, on 1960.08.26, and also said it was based on Hound Dog Taylor's "Taylor's Boogie." No version of "Matt's Guitar Boogie" is seen on Memphis Slim or other albums with Matt before "Hide Away.")
In 1978, Murphy joined the Blues Brothers. He appeared in the films The Blues Brothers (1980) and Blues Brothers 2000 (1998), playing the husband of Aretha Franklin. He performed with the Blues Brothers Band until the early 2000s.
Murphy suffered a stroke in the summer of 2002 but returned to perform a few years later. He played a reunion performance with James Cotton at the 2010 Chicago Blues Festival. A 1986 live recording of a performance at the 40 Watt Club, in Athens, Georgia, was released in September 2011. Patton Biddle recorded the show; Murphy's nephew, Floyd Murphy Jr., played the drums, and Howard Eldridge provided vocals. Murphy appeared in April 2013 at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Murphy's signature guitar is manufactured by Cort Guitars. He visited the Cort factory in Korea in 1998, and later that year the MGM-1 was introduced. Most of these guitars have a sunburst or honey finish. They are made of agathis, with a mahogany neck, and have two humbuckers and single volume and tone controls. This model was produced until 2006; 78 were sold, according to factory numbers.
Murphy resided in Miami, Florida until his death on June 15, 2018.
1990: Way Down South (Antone's)
1996: The Blues Don't Bother Me (Roesch)
2000: Lucky Charm (Roesch)
2010: Last Call (Bluzpik)
Probably best known for playing behind the Blues Brothers (and appearing prominently in their 1980 hit movie), Matt "Guitar" Murphy deserves enshrinement in the blues-guitar hall of fame anyway. His jazz-tinged, stunningly advanced riffing behind Memphis Slim elevated the towering pianist's 1950s output for United and Vee-Jay Records to new heights.
Guitar playing ran in the Murphy household (which moved from Mississippi to Memphis when Matt was a toddler). Matt and his brother Floyd both made a name for themselves on the early-'50s Memphis scene (that's Floyd on Little Junior Parker & the Blue Flames' 1953 Sun waxings of "Feelin' Good" and "Mystery Train"). Matt played with Howlin' Wolf as early as 1948 (harpist Little Junior Parker was also in the band at the time). Murphy added hot licks to early sides by Parker and Bobby Bland for Modern before latching on with Memphis Slim's House Rockers in 1952. Normally, the veteran pianist eschewed guitarists altogether, but Murphy's talent was so prodigious that he made an exception.
Murphy's consistently exciting guitar work graced Slim's United waxings from 1952-1954 and his 1958-1959 platters for Vee-Jay. Another solid Memphis Slim LP for Strand in 1961 and dates with Chuck Berry, Otis Rush, Sonny Boy Williamson, Etta James, and the Vibrations at Chess preceded Murphy's memorable appearance on the 1963 American Folk Blues Festival tour of Europe (along with Slim, Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters, Lonnie Johnson, Big Joe Williams, Victoria Spivey, and Willie Dixon). On that pioneering tour (promoted by Lippmann and Rau), Murphy commanded the spotlight with a thrilling "Matt's Guitar Boogie" that showcased his ultra-clean rapid-fire picking.
Harpist James Cotton was the sweaty beneficiary of Murphy's prowess during much of the 1970s. Murphy's crisp picking matched Cotton's high-energy blowing on the harpist's 1974 Buddah album 100% Cotton (the guitarist penned a non-stop "Boogie Thing" for the set). From there, it was on to aiding and abetting John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd's antic mugging, both on stage and in the Blues Brothers flick (where he played Aretha Franklin's guitarist hubby, convinced to come out of retirement by the boys in black).
Murphy toured as a bandleader in his later years, having recorded an album of his own in 1990, Way Down South, for Antone's (with brother Floyd on rhythm guitar). His repertoire encompasses blues, funk, jazz, R&B, and even a few of those Blues Brothers chestnuts (he usually carries someone in the entourage to sing 'em, Belushi-style.

2) Matt Murphy is a video game composer;

3) Matt Murphy is an Australian keyboadist;

4) Matt Murphy is a Canadian rock musician from Nova Scotia; Read more about Matt Murphy on User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.

Gear used by Matt Murphy

Matt Murphy electric guitars

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