Rapid River Magazine - Michael Martin Murphey High Stakes: Cowboy Songs VII

MMMFrom Rapid River Monthly

The original Cosmic Cowboy rides again with a surprisingly fresh collection of songs, proving decades after he first broke through with the hit “Wildfire” he still has plenty to say and the skill to say it: No longer the singular troubadour roaming horizons in search of elusive romance, Murphey instead turns his attention to such pressing issues as the environmental devastation of his beloved western plains.

On the moving “Campfire on the Road” he beseeches us to “never let them take this life away” and while that tale is set in Australia it might have just as easily have been Colorado. The inclusion of a pair of ballads by Tompall Glaser (“Running Gun”) and Marty Robbins (“Master’s Call”) shows that his taste is as finely tuned as his songwriting while the Celtic influence of “The End of the Road” gives evidence that Murphey hasn’t insulated himself to the musical world at large. Top notch stuff, one of the best of his long and storied career. 4 STARS

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LSM THROWBACK THURSDAY REVIEW

jpegOne of the greatest legends of Texas music isn’t a specific artist or band so much as it is a movement: the “Cosmic Cowboy” days of the 1970s, with its gravitational center in funkier-than-thou, cheaper- than-now Austin. More or less interchangeable with the “Outlaw Country” label that subsequent generations still aspire to carry on, it wove the adventurous spirit of hippie-friendly rock ’n’ roll into the rootsy sounds of country music and the enduring mythology of the American West. The magnetic pull of it shook burned-out drifter Jerry Jeff Walker (formerly Ron Crosby) out of his post-“Mr. Bojangles” Key West haze, boomeranged a successful but disillusioned songwriter named Willie Nelson back home from Nashville, and just as significantly — although his legacy hasn’t gotten as much ink in recent years — spurred a lonesome L.A. cowboy named Michael Murphey to get back to his Texas roots and make the most ambitious music of what would be a multifaceted and fairly fascinating career.

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Little Joe The Wrangler

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