Lauren Murphy – Psychedelics
Recorded in Mobile, Alabama this 8-cut by Ms. Murphy is her debut. Psychedelics (Independent – Dropped March). It opens with “Time Across,” which shows potential for Ms. Murphy as a jazz singer. Her intonation, phrasing & tone are excellent. The lead guitars/slide guitars (by 3 musicians Mark Karan, John Cochran, & Drew Smithers doesn’t break down into individual tracks). The song should’ve been called “We Are the Dreamers You & I,” as that hook line is dominantly heard. Very nice tune.
“Psychedelicize,” (a term first heard on The Chambers Brothers’ “Time Has Come Today,” back in 1967) finds Lauren vocally in a seductive Peggy Lee crossed with a smoky Julie London voice. Quite effective too. Good guitars & drums throughout. Her warm, unique jazz-tinged voice is instantly captivating.
Nice percussive open with acoustic guitar & Molly Thomas’ ghostly backup vocals & fiddle (Molly was reviewed in 2019 with her band Molly Thomas & The Rare Birds). Murphy now skims the gospel-blues-roots rim of the balladry of Janis Joplin with a pinch of Julie Driscoll. This has heft & vitality. Good track.
“End of the World Blues,” (lyrics by the late Grateful Dead’s Robert Hunter) has a bluesy intro layered nicely with good guitar runs in a fiery exchange. Deeper vocal, well sung. Sounds like Janis with the edge sanded off but the bluesy smoothness still intact. It’s not saturated in Southern Comfort but fine French brandy. Excellent.
Good musicianship shines on the collection with Lauren’s (rhythm guitar), John Keuler (bass/vocal), Winter Baynes (drums/percussion), Henry Salvia (piano/organ/Hammond B3/vox continental/Farfisa & glockenspiel), Molly (vocals/fiddle/violin/handclapping), Brooks Hubbert (waterphone).
Robert Hunter contributed lyrics to the wonderfully catchy “Catalina” with its melodic guitar riff. Best song on the CD.
“Somebody to Love,” the old Jefferson Airplane classic is a credible performance but proves why Grace Slick was Grace Slick & no one else is. It’s not a misstep as Lauren is indeed effective. Don’t listen to me. The guitars are excellent, the drums are thunderous. The band certainly can cook.
The bonus track (her newest single) produced by Molly Thomas — “My Most Deadly Sin,” features Molly’s violin, viola, & electric guitar. A fine example of Lauren as a good atmospheric jazz chanteuse. Lauren would be a good lounge singer with a pianist – with her warm tones, strong vocal intonation & lyrical sense. She paces herself word for word with expertise. This is where Lauren should be.
This song & “Catalina,” are exceptional. Lauren should do a cover of the classic 1953 Peggy Lee hit “Black Coffee.” That would fit her showcase. The 39-minute CD was produced by Lauren & Mark Karan. Available @ Amazon & https://laurenmurphymusic.com/