NORMA O'HARA MURPHY
Hall of Fame- The Cuttin' Song - I'm A Cowgirl - Texas To Tamworth -Farther Down The Line - Warwick Rodeo - Solid Gold - Roughrider - Bundarra Dust - Paddy William - Gone Drovin' - Moonbi Range
Just a short time ago I reviewed an album by Wally Sanderson who makes his home in Queensland. He's a great country singer and songwriter. Today, I have a most interesting Norma Murphy who makes her home in Warwick, Australia. She's a horse girl, but more than that, she's a terrific 'traditional country' songwriter stylist. On her song 'I'm A Cowgirl' she uses a little accordion to not only emphasize her love for horses, but to distinguish the music as old as the love of horses. Quite well done I must say. Norma says this is her last country album. I certainly hope not. She's not only a very distinctive writer, she has the ability to 'sell' her songs. That means she also has a great deal of vocal ability, and even though sometimes it reminds me of Jeannie C. Riley, sometimes she also reminds me of Loretta Lynn, but believe me, Norma's voice is her own. She knows exactly where to put the emphasis on each and every song she has recorded in this 'solid gold' album. What's best of all is her ability to use the 'story telling' abilities that all early country music writers had. That has pretty much disappeared in 2015 country music heard in the USA on the radio, but it is still in the mind and heart of Norma O'Hara Murphy. And, she knows exactly where the emphasis belongs on each and every story. Most of the backing is terrific 50's to 80's style country backing, and Norma used some good musicians. Garry Steele on accordion and keyboard; John Croker on bass; Rod McCormack on banjo (especially nice on 'Hall of Fame') and acoustic guitar; Claire O'Meara on fiddle; Big Blind Ray on the harmonica; Mark Punch on the slide guitar; Mike Fearnley on pedal steel (really giving the entire album the good country sound); with Rodney Ford on drums. Some Australian reviewers have heard this CD before me, and they describe it as bloody beautiful, awesome and a masterpiece. I would have to agree with that and more, Norma is a 'saint' in the manner in which she presents her music in the old-style of country music. She's fighting the commercial interests all the way, and I suspect she has no desire to change that. One of the ways she does this is performing with just her and an acoustic guitar at what she calls 'Bush Camp.' What an incredible treat that must be for the fans and listeners. All the way through this is one amazingly easy to listen to project. It is definitely going to the Rural Roots Music Commission for their evaluation for their CD of the Year awards this year. My favorite song is 'Solid Gold' Wow what a terrific song. But then I listened to 'Rough Rider' and it sent chills up my back. I'm pretty sure the RRMC is going to agree with me.
RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART - www.ntcma.net
for Country Music News International