In The Land Of FREE we still Keep on Rockin'

I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now

Plain and Fancy

"I hope for nothing, I fear nothing, I am free"

Friday, February 15, 2013

J F Murphy And Salt - The Last Illusion (1973 us, exceptional folk rock with jazz and country forms, Original Vinyl edition)

J. F. Murphy and Salt was an utterly unique sextet that became a popular college campus fixture during the early 1970s. The band's rebellious stance against the Vietnam War was part of the picture, but it was the original compositions by bandleader, J.F. Murphy, and an overtly creative non-traditional approach to the covers they developed that brought them such a dedicated fan base.

Dropped by MGM the band signed with Elektra.  Produced by Eddie Kramer, 1972's "JF Murphy and Salt" was a mostly live set capturing the band at a series of college performances including dates at The University of Hartford, Nassau Community College, and Trent State College.  The closing country-flavored track ' If Wishes Were Horses' was clearly a studio effort.   

Musically the set showcased the band's weird mixture of blues ('Kansas City'), country ('Country Jam'), jazz-rock fusion, traditional Irish tunes, straight-ahead rock, and social and political activism (the anti-war 'Waiting Hymn of the Republic').  It was definitely different and occasionally a bit disconcerting; particularly when they mixed all the genres together in one song - check out 'First Born', or 'Silver Horn' - the latter having a plotline about young guy trying to pass himself off as a Leprechaun at an Irish dance). Muphy was an okay singer who occasionally reminded me a bit of a bluesier Burton Cummings.  

All six members were impressive musicians (guitarist Joe Parrino deserved special notice), and there was no denying their professionalism, but there just wasn't much here that caught my ear.   The need to stretch out musically also didn't do the band any favors.  Their cover of the blues classic 'Kansas City' went on for over 12 minutes and was basically unlistenable. Guess you had to be in the audience to get the full effect.

1. Sweet Byrd - 3:44
2. Which One - 4:01
3. Teenage Fantasy - 3:20
4. Touched By Love - 2:46
5. Bell Toll - 5:16
6. New York City / Home - 10:38
7. Man Who Is Alone - 3:18
8. Last Illusion - 9:59
All compositions by J. F. Murphy

J. F. Murphy And Salt
*Ron Allard - Bagpipes, Soprano-Alto-Tenor Sax, Flute, Tambourine, Backing Vocals
*George Christ - Harmonica, Vibes, Conga, Maracas, Chimes, Backing Vocals
*J.F. Murphy -  Vocals, Piano, Guitar
*Bob Paiva - Drums
*Joe Parrino - Lead Guitar, Trombone, Flute, Backing Vocals
*Russell Warmolts - Bass, Backing Vocals

Related Act
The Merchants Of Dream - Strange Night Voyage 1969

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mscmichael said...

Never heard it before. Thanks a lot...

adamus67 said...

The once popular among the hippies, and then almost completely forgotten US Psychedelic Rock band. J.F. Murphy & Salt made a huge impact in late 60s and early 70s rock, forming a New York band that achieved cult-like status. Part of the hippie/psychedelic movement, J.F. Murphy & Salt played at the legendary debacle, Powder Ridge Rock Festival. Aside from the rampant use of recreational drugs, this period in rock developed a political dimension that couldn't be ignored. J.F. Murphy & Salt remains a legend in this era, giving listeners of that era fond rock memories.

@Thx Marios & Lamz!

Hajul Ellah said...

At long last, in flac! More power to Rockasteria!

kobilica said...

I'm glad when I see something totaly unknown to me,and when the artist is great like this.Thanks...

Sergey said...

Great! Excellent stuff. Thanks a lot!

Delia Jean Streefkerk said...

Hey, do you think you could obtain or rip JF Murphy's 1972 self-titled debut or 1971 Live albums? I'm trying to find "Waiting Hymn of the Republic." Thanks.

Unknown said...

I saw them as an opening act for the Roger McGuinn Band & Commander Cody back in 1972 at the NY Academy of Music on my 15th birthday ( 56 now ). They left a lasting impression on me for being a great live act. A version of west side Story's "I want to live in America"on bagpipes stands out in my mind till this day.

Unknown said...

Stephen saw same show, I think Dave Mason was on bill. I remember JF & the band coming down the aisles with bagpipes blowin'. Gave my Irish bones the chills.

juan manuel muñoz said...

many thanks

Unknown said...

I remember seeing George Christ playing in a basement in Long Island in the '60s, along with a keyboard player named Bob Makuta, I believe.
Great player and presence. I remember them doing "Rising of the Moon" - was the first time I ever had heard it.

juan chero said...

parece que han retirado a jf murphy no existe el archivo.

Marios said...


Unknown said...

Originally known as JF Murphy and Free Flowing Salt.

Yarmouth House said...

I was in the army, training in Brooklyn. I saw JF Murphy and Salt opening for Delaney, Bonnie and Friends at Central Park. After the army, I found the album Last Illusion and it became one of my favorites. Through many changes, I lost the album but the tunes stayed in my head. Thanks for posting it on YouTube, whoever.
One of my favorite albums nobody ever heard of along with "Bartering" by Baron Stewart and "Bringing It Home" by Kevin Bacon, pre Bacon Brothers.

Dan said...

John Reilly, the drummer on The Last Illusion and Urban Renewal albums, talks a lot about his time in the band in this interview: