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Murphy Blend

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Murphy Blend, from Berlin, Germany, was another of the many bands that were around only long enough to release one record and then vanish into the ether of rock obscurity. Their one album, First Loss, from 1971 is considered one of the classics of Teutonic heavy rock, and though it relied on some influences by British heavy rock bands like Deep Purple, Uriah Heap, and Atomic Rooster, the oddly accented vocals, innovative mix of progressive and psychedelic styles, and the dark angst put them squarely with other heavy Krautrock bands like early Jane.

Not much is known about this quartet, who took their name from a brand of pipe tobacco. They probably formed at the beginning of 1970 and consisted of Wolf-Rudiger Uhlig on organ, cembalo, piano, and vocals, Wolfgang Ramler on guitar and vocals, Andreas Scholz on bass, and Achim Schmidt on drums and vocals. Uhlig had studied classical music for a few years, and he incorporated some classical themes with his chunky Hammond organ playing to give the band's heavy rock a more progressive sound. The group entered the Union Studio in Munich for a week in early October and for another three days in early December of 1970 to record the album First Loss. The record was produced by Jonas Porst, manager of the far-more mainstream band Ihre Kinder, and released in early 1971 by the Kuckuck label, a Polydor subsidiary for Krautrock. The record is notable not only for the six regular songs, which feature some quality guitar and organ riffing, as well as interesting lyrics, but also for the final track, "Happiness," clocking in at three seconds to make it one of the shortest pieces in Krautrock history. Shortly after First Loss came out, the group split up when Uhlig went on to form the equally short-lived Hanuman in May of 1971 with some jazz and blues musicians. Scholz soon joined another short-lived but more mainstream group, Blackwater Park, who like Murphy Blend and Hanuman, released only one LP. In 1991 the Ohrwaschl label reissued Murphy Blend's First Loss on CD in a limited edition of 1000.

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