Matt Murphy (blues guitarist)

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Matt Murphy
Matt Guitar Murphy in New York City, 2011.
Background information
Also known as Matt "Guitar" Murphy
Born (1929-12-29) December 29, 1929 (age 85)
Sunflower, Mississippi, US
Origin Memphis, Tennessee, US
Genres Blues
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1948–present
Associated acts The Blues Brothers, Howlin' Wolf
Notable instruments
Cort Signature model

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

Life and career[edit]

Matthew Murphy was born in Sunflower, Mississippi, United States, and was educated in Memphis, where his father worked at the Peabody Hotel. Murphy learned to play guitar when he was a kid. In 1948 he moved to Chicago where he joined the Howlin' Wolf band, which at the time featured harmonicist 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 session work both in 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]

In 1978 Murphy joined The Blues Brothers. Murphy can be seen in the films The Blues Brothers (1980) and Blues Brothers 2000 (1998), where he plays Aretha Franklin's hen-pecked husband. He kept performing with the Blues Brothers Band until the early 2000s.[2]

Murphy has been less active since he suffered a stroke on stage while performing in Nashville in 2003—he finished his set performing with one hand. A benefit was mounted by notable musicians of Memphis and Nashville. He has recently been playing in Florida with two young protégés Tim O'Donnell and Darrell Raines, and performed with his nephew Floyd in the Florida Keys during 2009.

He has been on the comeback trail with a reunion performance with James Cotton at the 2010 Chicago Blues Festival. A September 2011 release took place of a 1986 live recording from the 40 Watt Club in Athens, Georgia. Patton Biddle recorded the show live, and Floyd Murphy Jr., Matt's nephew, played the drums along with Howard Eldridge on vocals.[5] He also recently appeared in April of 2013 at Eric Claptons Crossroads Guitar Festival at MSG in NYC.

Murphy's signature model guitar is manufactured by Cort Guitars.

Personal life[edit]

Murphy currently resides in Miami, Florida.


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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Allmusic biography
  2. ^ a b Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. 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 Corporation.
  5. ^

External links[edit]