(All Traditional, arranged by Noel Murphy, except where stated)
"Murphy's making an L.P." they said. "Good" I thought "can't think-of anyone as popular and established as Noel who hasn't", and this was probably the reaction all over the country. But then I began to have my doubts, maybe it's not so easy to pin down the "Murph" on record. How can you capture the warmth, the humour, that tremendous infectious personality that he generates in a live performance? You see, Noel is an entertainer, one of the best I have seen. He talks and clowns and extroverts his way through a performance. And, too, there's his physical presence 6' 5" of hairy Irishman, like a sort of Celtic Yeti and the ad-libs, the downright bawdiness, the expressions and that peculiar knack of sharing, not just the enjoyment but the performance with everybody there.
Many times I have seen it up and down the country, the last time was when he stood the Troubadour on its ear with Redd Sullivan giving a big fervent vote of thanks that was difficult to hear over the stamping and yelling - and Noel backstage all exhausted and damp and used up as he always is after a performance, because he gives everything he's got every time he's stuck in front of an audience. How the hell can you put that on record?
It's five in the morning, the fast approaching dawn stains the eastern sky red but Hyde Park is still in darkness. Lonely walkers stumble along in the damp gloom staring at each other, wondering what reason has them up at this unearthly hour. One bright light relieves the blackness and from this dribble a dozen tired people half blind in the darkness, half deaf in the silence they mumble quietly for a minute then crawl away to their beds. They have just been subjected to one of the most shattering experiences of their lives, Murphy in a Studio.
We had all sorts of plans for this recording, in concert, in a club, in studio with an invited audience. Irish songs, modern songs, flute and fiddle …… We should have known better. Everything this man does is live, everything he says is an ad-lib, so much so he sings one verse twice because he likes it, everything about him is big and colourful. In the nine hours we were in the studios we recorded 5 hours of Noel Murphy, all of it new and lively, each number different to the next, each "take" different to its predecessor. We've tried to use the best of this material here but who knows, perhaps the best was left on the cutting room floor. We don't pretend to know how to label the songs on this record, we daren't try. All we can say is, you have here 48 minutes of 100% proof Murphy.
P.S. - AS FOR THE LAST NUMBER NOBODY REMEMBERS DOING THAT!
Now I've heard the tapes and I needn't have worried, yes worried is the word because one feels protective towards one's friends. They've done it, or at least as good as it can be done. Obviously it is still better to see the man but those who buy, or borrow, or steal the album will want to see him and those who have seen him will want the album. Great and I repeat, about time too.