The late Jimmy Murphy always defied categorization. His influences ranged from Jimmie Rodgers and rockabilly to honky tonk and bluegrass. Fact is, Murphy was quite comfortable performing any of these styles and more. With the reissue of Electricity, some of Murphy's best performances are highlighted, including a pair of live tracks, "John the Baptist" and "Holy Ghost Millionaire," recorded at the National Folk Festival in 1977. Murphy delivers a thoughtful country number, "Mother Where Is Your Daughter Tonight," one minute, and blues the next, with "Shanty Boat Blues" and "Big Mama Blues." "I Get a Longing to Hear Hank Sing the Blues" is an apt tribute to fellow Alabama singer/songwriter Hank Williams. There are also several gospel tunes, including "The Morning Light Is Breaking" and "He's Always the Same." Murphy, who died in 1981, possessed a dazzling guitar technique and a tried and true, hard country voice. The critics could never decide whether he was bluegrass or straight country, but the fact is, he was both and neither. He was a hardcore country artist grounded in the blues, with an obvious love for bluegrass and gospel music. Nowadays, Murphy would be lumped into the same category with Dwight Yoakam and Steve Earle, but during the '50s and '60s, no one knew exactly what to make of him. Now, years after his death, Murphy has found his niche. Maybe the critics can rest easy now and just enjoy this fine music.
AllMusic Review by Michael B. Smith