The Public Records 8/24/18
Hello again friends. Another week, another album. You know the drill. We will be reaching again into Curtis Country (yes, we know we recently took a little trip there) for we have found a decent stash of interesting ‘country’ albums and we think that are worthwhile showcasing.
This week, the week of August 20th , 2018, we have selected a relatively interesting album that was introduced to Max by a friend of his’ father whay, whay, whay back when. It is a country, folk album but it is chock full of jazz at the same time. A wonderful mix of honky tonky funk as well as some very fine technical playing; ‘Running Jumping Standing Still’ (Elektra Records, 1969) by ‘Spider’ John Koerner and Willie Murphy.
This has always been an odd album. While techinically folk, Allmusic’s Steve Cooper said, “An oddly effective, one-off marriage of folk-blues and ragtime piano that kicks.” And Crawdaddy! (a music magazine) wrote this, “Running Jumping Standing Still is one of the most unique and underrated albums of the folk boom, perhaps the only psychedelic ragtime blues album ever made.” So right off the bat, it is a critically acclaimed work however unpop it may be.
‘Spider’ John Koerner, the guitarist of the album, was born in Rochester, NY and attended the University of Minnesota to become an enigeer. Once there he became very invovled in the music scene and so much so that he was a big influence on none other than Mr. Folk himself, Bob Dylan, who mentions this in his autobiography – Chronicles. Koerner says this about that time, “We were all goofy, you know. We were thinkers and drinkers and artists and players, and Dylan was one of us. He was another guy.”
Working with Dave Ray and Tony Glover, Koerner put out a couple of albums and appeared at the Newport Folk Festival. Later in the 60s he put out a solo album for Elektra and by then had met Willie Murphy and the two colaborated. In the 70s Koerner tried to break into film, but was unsuccessful; therefore, doing what all celebs do when down on their luck, moved to Copenhagen for a bit after which he continued his folk career.
Willie Murphy, the pianist of the album, was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He began piano at 4 and because he was a smart lad, his was influenced early on by Fats Domino, Little Richard, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Being active in the Minneapolis music scene, Murphy crossed paths with and eventually worked with John Koerner. When they split up after ‘Running Jumping Standing Still’, Koerner went off to Europe and Elektra Records offered Murphy a job as an in-house producer. Being the homebody that he was, Murphy declined the offer to stick around Minneapolis. However, in 1971 he did produce Bonnie Raitt’s debut album for Warner Bros. Records and throughout the 70s and 80s had a blues band – Willie and the Bees. In 1985, he started his own label; Atomic Theory Records which put out world folk music.
In 1990, Minnesota began the Minnesota Music Hall Of Fame, and for its first inductees it was Dylan, Prince and Mr. Willie Murphy himself! In 2010, St. Paul (Minnesota) declared July 2nd to be Willie Murphy Day.
So not a bad duo to listen to. This album being what it is – rag funk? – is perfect for down here in the dim lights with a nice strong double of Blanton’s (neat of course). Get down here and get ready to get down!