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Murphy Blend - First Loss CD (album) cover

FIRST LOSS

Murphy Blend

Heavy Prog


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars Sole album and one of the best from the country at the time, this typical prog quartet showed amazing maturity for their first album. Recorded in Munich in late 70 and released on the legendary Kuckuk label (Munich-based as were label-mate Ihre Kinder and especially Out Of Focus and other label monster Amon Duul II), this album is a gem in the heavy progressive vein, mixing some classical influences with their hard rock, mostly through their organ-player Uhlig - the prime composer of the group. A very naďve but poetic drawing on the cover is intriguing us right off the bat, and the music inside is definitely at the height of the hopes raised.

From the opener At First (an excellent intro but careful not to reveal too much of what is to come) to the slow starter Speed Is Coming Back (guitar-drenched but the organs are what gives it flavour) to the monster track (only 7 min+, but awesome in its bluesy organ- drenched dramatic scheme) Past Has Gone draws a few chills and would be close to a masterpiece if the vocals were not a bit under-mixed. A good organ solo dividers the track and the way the groups rebuilds quickly is quite impressive.

Opening the second side of this wax slice is the track that shows most of their classical influences, but they do much more than that, as the track is in constant evolution. Comes in the wild title track (under 8 min) which is the other highlight of the album, is a powerful work-out giving a chance for everyone to shine. Somehow, some Vanilla Fudge references are also a bit evident here at times. Closing track (not exactly but almost) is a call to fun as the Bach tribute/fugue and the short finale is a laugh.

As superb this album was, they broke-up soon after and aside from a few short lived groups just after, these guys will not be having a career that this album hints at. Truly one of those lost prog gems, even if the self-indulgent spirit of those years is stopping it from the upper star.

Report this review (#76205)
Posted Tuesday, April 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Very good for its own level - that's why 4 stars. Made more in a proto-heavy-prog way, MURPHY BLEND shows immense influnces from URIAH HEEP and DEEP PURPLE (as well as some tricks from THE DOORS or LED ZEPPELIN). A Must for 70s Prog fans and rarities' collectors, it also could be an excellent addition to every Heavy Prog collection. Less mature than 2066 AND THEN or above-mentioned Legends, nevertheless MURPHY BLEND can provide you with a good mood for these 35 minutes. Recommended.
Report this review (#116267)
Posted Saturday, March 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars From Early 70's ,,, Heavy Progressive Rock in good shape . Wonderful touch of keyboard reminds me with Ken Hensley of Uriah heep , Jon glover of Deep Purple . Contamineted by market needs in 1970 , this orphan album of Murphy Blend is really a high standard in prog library . Wolf Uhlig and friends trying to introduce a new generation of prorock in hamburg - Germany . The year 1970 was really critical for this genre of music . But , they made it , one way or another this album worth every single penny . Excellent track ( Past has Gone ) For collectors of this genre , heavy progressive rock only .
Report this review (#164935)
Posted Tuesday, March 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars MURPHY BLEND from Germany released just one album back in 1971 on the Kuckuck label.This is very much an organ driven album with English vocals that are in the style of Jim Morrison but not as deep or as good. The bass player would join BLACKWATER PARK after this band broke up.

"At First" opens with organ but it kicks in to a full sound quickly.This is uptempo as well. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in as it settles down. Guitar before 2 1/2 minutes then the organ is back leading. "Speed Is Coming Back" sounds great early on with the organ and guitar. Vocals after 1 1/2 minutes. A guitar solo comes in before 3 minutes then the organ leads a minute later and the vocals return. "Past Has Gone" opens with organ and the vocals don't come in until after 2 minutes. Some heavy organ in this one.The bass, organ and drums build after 6 1/2 minutes and the guitar joins in too. Nice.

"Praludium/Use Your Feet" opens with organ then the drums dominate around 1 1/2 minutes. Organ is back out front and the vocals arrive 2 1/2 minutes in. "First Loss" is a good one as it builds into a powerful sound before calming right down. It's heavy again then it settles with vocals after 3 minutes as contrasts continue. "Funny Guys" has an epic sound to it with organ. It settles in before 1 1/2 minutes and vocals follow. "Happiness" is less than a second in length so I don't have much to say about it (haha).

3.5 stars. I'm not as "into" this as many seem to be but it's certainly worth checking out.

Report this review (#578394)
Posted Tuesday, November 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars I really don't understand what's the fuss about this record. I've read the reviews here (and elsewhere) but I can't find anything majestic or great. First of all, I can't stand when Germans try to sing in English with this so bad accent. They'd be better stayed at home. And Murphy Blend's lead singer (who unfortunately also plays the keys) is no exception. At least I would be somewhat more satisfied if I would treated with some good or fresh music ideas, but no. From start to finish, all I can hear is Wolf-Rodiger Unlig trying to repeat the same old formulas Brooker-Fisher, Jon Lord, Keith Emerson and even Ken Hensley had already taken into the stratosphear before him. Two songs ( "Past Has Gone" and "First Loss") aren't so bad actually, but then again the awful vocals ruin them. "Use your feet" is completely useless and "Funny Guys" is laughable. How on earth, did he followed Bach's intro with this ? As for "Happiness", nothing to do with it I am afraid.... ...For German Prog-Rock fanatics only.
Report this review (#1285296)
Posted Sunday, September 28, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars Murphy Blend was a German formation from the early Seventies, the name is derived from writer Samuel Beckett his novel Murphy from 1938. The album title from their debut LP is the English translation from the famous piece Erster Verlust by German Robert Schumann, a legendary composer from the Romantic era.

The focus on First Loss is on the mighty Hammond organ, from moaning and groaning to bombastic waves and swirling runs, in its full splendor. The music strongly evokes late Sixties and early Seventies bands like Vanilla Fudge, Uriah Heep (the track Past Has Gone sounds like a tribute to Ken Hensley) and Deep Purple. All bands that feature powerful interplay between the Hammond and electric guitar, fuelled by an often dynamic and propulsive rhythm-section, especially in At First en Speed Is Coming Back.

The seven tracks (in fact six because the final one Happiness only lasts 6 seconds) alternate between fluent up-tempo songs to compelling bluesrock (the vocals in Pradudium/Use Your Feet are close to Steve Winwood). And frequently we can enjoy a 'churchy' Hammond organ sound, this evokes a strong classical climate, in the track Funny Guys even Toccata In D-Fuga is blended. In Past Has Gone (beautiful Hammond intermezzo with romantic and classical undertones) the German 'bluesrock prog' from Jane comes to my mind, also due to the melancholical vocals and the Hammond and guitar interplay.

The most dynamic and varied composition is the long titletrack that contains lots of changes in atmosphere and tempo, tastefully coloured with Hammond and guitar, from psychedelic and classical to pure rock and roll!

To me this reissue sounds as a very pleasant Hammond drenched album, tastefully arranged, and a strong variety in the genuine progressive rock tradition.

My rating: ***1/2 star.

Report this review (#2183327)
Posted Monday, April 15, 2019 | Review Permalink

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