Matt "Guitar" Murphy, guitar & vocals
Other musicians, TBA
Born in Sunflower, Mississippi, blues guitarist Matt Murphy has been called "one of the true guitar innovators of the American blues" by Blues Review. He is perhaps best known for his role as Aretha Franklin's hen-pecked husband in the 1980 movie The Blues Brothers. He landed the role not because of his acting ability, of course, but because of his superb blues guitar playing.
Murphy first took up the guitar at age 13 and initially made a name for himself performing with his brother Floyd in the Memphis music scene. He soon moved on to perform with other groups, working with Howlin' Wolf's band, Little Junior Parker, and Ike Turner's The Flames. In 1952, Memphis Slim persuaded Murphy to move Chicago to play with his band, which he did for the next 20 years. After his stint with Slim, Murphy went on to play with James Cotton and worked as a recording session musician for Chess Records, backing artists like Otis Rush, Etta James, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Chuck Berry.
In 1977, Murphy left the James Cotton Band to join the Zaitchik Brothers Band in Boston. Subsequently, in 1978 he was invited to perform on Saturday Night Live as a member of The Blues Brothers Band. As a result of this incredibly successful performance, he made several records and two movies with the band and became one of the best-known blues guitarists in the United States.
Murphy's own recordings include Way Down South (1990) and The Blues Don't Bother Me (1996). He has also remained active as a collaborator, lending his guitar talents to a track on Joe Louis Walker's album Great Guitars (1997). More recently, he performed at the 2010 Chicago Blues Festival in a reunion performance with James Cotton, and in September 2011 he released a 1986 live recording from the 40 Watt Club in Athens, Georgia. He continues to tour regularly with his own group, performing repertoire drawn from the funk, jazz, and R&B genres, in addition to the blues that made him famous.
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