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CD: NORMA O’HARA MURPHY – Solid Gold

NORMA O’HARA MURPHY
Solid Gold
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

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