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JIMMY MURPHY 'The Legendary Starday and Rem Sessions' ACE-714-CD

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The little known and eccentric Murphy was one of country music's best-kept secrets: highly talented & original, his odd ways & independent spirit kept him completely out of country's mainstream. But it didn't stop talent scouts from signing & recording him--he made a few great records for Victor, then Columbia and several small labels before ending his career with a neat LP in the late 1970s for the then new Sugar Hill label. That LP was recently re-issued as a CD, and a wonderful Bear Family disc contains all of his Columbia and Victor recordings(BCD-15451, $18.00). I felt we were lucky to have those two CDs, but now a third, and most likely final album shows up that presents all the rest of his recorded work--some of it great stuff. Murphy cut several pieces for Bob Mooney's Rem label in the 1960s, including WAKE ME UP SWEET JESUS and MY FEET'S ON SOLID GROUND, which got a little exposure in the South, and somewhere along the line the Knoxville native found his way to cut some material for Starday, some of which showed up on Wayne Raney's RIMROCK label in a lease deal. Two of these tracks--HE'S ALWAYS THE SAME and JESUS HAS SAVED MY SOUL--both recorded with his wife Florine, are some of the most stunning raw, down-home gospel that you'll ever hear, and I would gladly buy this CD for just those two tracks. But there's plenty of other interesting stuff here, featuring Murphy's distinctive guitar playing, including another version of ELECTRICITY, BIG TRAIN, HUB CAP and a nice SHANTY BOAT BLUES among the few secular numbers. Most of the 21 songs are gospel and most of them are strong. LITTLE BLACK TRAIN, JOHN THE BAPTIST, JESUS IS MY ONLY FRIEND, JESUS IS COMING TO REIGN(also with his wife)LITTLE DAVID PLAY ON YOUR HARP and HOLY GHOST MILLIONAIRE. About 11 of the 21 tracks have never previously been issued. A fine, well-annotated disc and a very pleasant surprise. I FEEL JESUS(MY,MY,MY)YOU BETTER GET READY, I BELIEVE.