Bobby Murray (musician)

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Bobby Murray
Born (1953-06-09) June 9, 1953 (age 66)
Nagoya, Japan
GenresElectric blues[1]
Occupation(s)Guitarist, songwriter, record producer
Years active1970s–present
LabelsViceroots Records, No Cover Productions, motorcitykidz

Bobby Murray (born June 9, 1953) is an American electric blues guitarist, songwriter and record producer. Murray has played in Etta James' backing band for twenty three years, performed on three Grammy Award winning recordings with James and B.B. King, and released four solo albums. In 2011, the Detroit Blues Society granted Murray their Lifetime Achievement Award. Murray currently leads his own band in Metro Detroit and has won several Detroit Music Awards. His latest solo recording, I'm Sticking With You, was released in 2013.

His guitar playing was mainly influenced by Albert Collins and B.B. King. Murray currently resides in White Lake, Michigan, United States.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Murray was born in Nagoya, Japan, to an Irish father and a Japanese mother.[1][2] Growing up in a military family setting, he was later raised in Tacoma, Washington.[3] Murray attended the same high school as Robert Cray, and they engaged Albert Collins to play at the school's graduation party.[1]

He started his musical career playing in the blues clubs in the San Francisco Bay Area,[1] having originally formed an ensemble that became Robert Cray and the Crayolas.[2] Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Murray supplied guitar backing for Frankie Lee Sonny Rhodes Mark Naftalin and numerous others. He also at various times appeared on the same stage as Albert Collins, Charlie Musselwhite, Otis Rush, Jimmy Witherspoon, and John Lee Hooker.[1][3] In 1988, he was invited to join Etta James' backing ensemble, the Roots Band.[1] Murray has worked with her for more than two decades.[2] His other playing and recording duties have seen Murray work with Albert King, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Taj Mahal, Percy Mayfield, Sugar Pie DeSanto, and Lowell Fulson.[2]

He appeared on B.B. King's Grammy Award recognised album, Blues Summit, where he again teamed up with Cray on the track, "Playing With My Friends."[1] Murray also played guitar on James' Grammy winning recordings, Let's Roll and Blues to the Bone.[3] In addition, Murray played on the Etta James song, "Blues is My Business", which was used in the television drama series, The Sopranos.[2]

Through his work with James, Murray appeared on other television programs such as The Tonight Show, Austin City Limits and Late Night with David Letterman. On stage he played at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, the WOMAD Festival, and the inaugural celebration for Bill Clinton being elected as the 42nd President of the United States.[2]

Murray's debut album, The Blues is Now (1996), featured Frankie Lee and Freddie Hughes on vocals.[1][4] The Allmusic journalist, Thom Owens, commented about Murray's work on the recording, "he's a fine guitarist, as he proves here, turning out jazzy, classy solos that separate him from the rest of the crowd."[4] In 1999, the follow-up album, Waiting for Mr. Goodfingers..., was issued by No Cover Productions.[5] A live album, Live & Lowdown! was released in May 2006.[6]

In May 2010, the Bobby Murray Band played at the Scarab Club in Detroit, Michigan.[7]

In 2011, the Detroit Blues Society gave Murray a Lifetime Achievement Award, alongside a separate posthumous creditation for Willie D. Warren. Murray has been awarded numerous Detroit Music Awards, including the categories of Outstanding Instrumentalist (Blues) and Outstanding Blues Performer/Group.[8]



Year Title Record label
1996 The Blues is Now Viceroots Records
1999 Waiting for Mr. Goodfingers... No Cover Productions
2006 Live & Lowdown! No Cover Productions
2013 I'm Sticking With You Motorcitykidz Productions


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Richard Skelly. "Bobby Murray". AllMusic. Retrieved December 20, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Joe Ballor (January 20, 2011). "Blues musicians Bobby Murray, Willie D. Warren honored". Retrieved December 20, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c "Bobby Murray's All-Star Review". Retrieved December 20, 2011.
  4. ^ a b "The Blues is Now > Bobby Murray > Overview". AllMusic. Retrieved December 20, 2011.
  5. ^ "Waiting for Mr. Goodfingers... > Bobby Murray > Overview". AllMusic. Retrieved December 20, 2011.
  6. ^ "Live & Lowdown! > Bobby Murray > Overview". AllMusic. Retrieved December 20, 2011.
  7. ^ "Scarab Club Detroit Blues Heritage Series - Event 2, Featuring the Bobby Murray Band, May 22, 2010". Retrieved December 20, 2011.
  8. ^ "Bobby Murray Presents the Music of Etta James - Michigan BluesFest". Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  9. ^ "Bobby Murray > Discography > Main Albums". Allmusic. Retrieved December 20, 2011.