Willie Murphy

Piano Hits

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This album of covers, plus one original, shows off the considerable piano talents of Minneapolis troubadour Willie Murphy, which he has lent throughout his career to Bonnie Raitt and Isaac Hayes, among others. The instrumentation on Piano Hits, which consists only of a piano and Murphy's ragged voice, can be tiresome at times, but it is precisely his exhausted voice, a cross between Dr. John and a latter-day Bob Dylan, that keeps the songs exciting. He is almost as cocky and self-assured as Howlin' Wolf on the Wolf's "Riding In the Moonlight," and he lends a swinging feel to Robert Johnson's "Ramblin' On My Mind." Also to his credit is the lone original song on Piano Hits, the sentimental "Fairy Tale," which rides a touching melody line to its conclusion.

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