Matt Murphy (blues guitarist)

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Matt Murphy
Murphy in New York City, 2011
Background information
Birth name Matthew Tyler Murphy
Also known as Matt "Guitar" Murphy
Born (1929-12-29) December 29, 1929 (age 87)
Sunflower, Mississippi, United States
Origin Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Genres Blues
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1948–present
Labels Antone's, Roesch, Bluzpik
Associated acts The Blues Brothers, Howlin' Wolf
Notable instruments
Cort Signature model

Matthew Tyler Murphy (born December 29, 1929),[1] known as Matt "Guitar" Murphy, is an American blues guitarist.

Life and career[edit]

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.[1]

Murphy worked a lot with Memphis Slim, including on his album At the Gate of Horn (1959).[2] 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".[3] Freddie King is said to have once admitted that he based his "Hide Away" on Murphy's playing during this performance.[4] (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.[2]

Murphy suffered a stroke in 2003 but returned to perform a few years later.[5] 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.[citation needed] 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.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Murphy currently resides in Miami, Florida.


  • 1990: Way Down South (Antone's)
  • 1996: The Blues Don't Bother Me (Roesch)
  • 2000: Lucky Charm (Roesch)
  • 2010: Last Call (Bluzpik)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Bill Dahl (1927-12-29). "Matt "Guitar" Murphy | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-10-05. 
  2. ^ a b Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books. p. 149. ISBN 1-85868-255-X. 
  3. ^ Bogdanov, Vladimir, et al. (eds.) (2003). All Music Guide to Soul, p. 487. Backbeat Books.
  4. ^ Batey, Rick (2003). The American Blues Guitar: An Illustrated History, p. 118. Hal Leonard.
  5. ^ a b Wright, Michael (April 2016). "The Cort Matt "Guitar" Murphy MGM-1". Vintage Guitar. pp. 30–32. 

External links[edit]