Chris MurphyChris Murphy (Saxophone, Organ and Vocals) has been the leader of the Old Chicago Blues Band since 1992. The band performs four show a night four nights a week at the Old Chicago Speakeasy and Grill in London Ont, Canada. He also runs a small independent Blues label called Speakesay CD'S and has a radio show on CHRW called the Blues Never Die.
Chris Murphy is member of AFM Local 279. He maintains the London Blues Scene at the LMA website.
Review/Interview with Chris, Forest City News
Instrumental Blues featuring Chris Murphy
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Contact Chris Murphy at SPEAKEASY CDs
Living the BluesThe blues started in Chicago but in London they live through Chris Murphy
Playing the Blues by Wayne Glidden The Forest City News Oct/94
The blues were born in Chicago, and are living on in London at the Old Chicago Speakeasy. Don't be dissuaded by its description as a melancholic derivative of black folk music. It's upbeat, energetic, and it's easy to tell that the boys on stage are loving it. Doug Varty on guitar, Colin Stewart on bass, John Knapp on drums, and Chris Murphy blowing the sax, while occasionally tickling the electronic ivories.
Murphy's been playing for 22 years, previously hitting the road for six years with the Uptown Blooze. A one night stand at Old Chicago has turned into a 27 month (and counting) gig as the house band.
"We like it here and they like us", says Murphy, as evidenced by the raucous packed house one night last week. London is a very good blues town, and the style is the "biggest it's ever been" says Murphy. Last week, the feature was Douglas Watson, a blues singer from Chicago (right now he and the band are kicking up a pulsating tune by the Reverend Al Green). Will they wear out their welcome? "Probably," says Murphy, "but the line-ups are bigger than ever".
Other former Murphy bands include the Forest City Blues Band and Soul Sausage. He's happy to be settled down in his native London, after years of setting up, tearing down, and travelling on the road.
"(Touring) takes up a lot of time. A lot of driving, setting up, tearing down," he says. "(We can) learn a lot of songs here."
Finding gigs has never been a problem.
"I've been really lucky. I've always played and always played a lot," he says. "Every band I got in worked a lot. They always want us back."
While Murphy is courteous and forthcoming in an interview, the litmus test of his makeup is best seen on the stage, with the bright lights gleaming, and the floor speakers thundering. Inhibitions are scattered, and he plays the room with song intros, and a touch of vocals, but mostly with his wailing sax, which, as usual in blues, is almost totally improvised. "Everything's fun," he says, a point obvious from watching him on stage.
There seems to be a market for the live version of their music. Chris is making a living doing what he loves and what he does best. London's where it's at for him.
"I'm only going to leave when nothing's happening, and something's always happening," say Chris.
For proof, drop by the Old Chicago Speakeasy almost any night, and catch he and his bandmates in the act. You may just become hooked on the blues.
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