An exciting new project. Pieces like Jazz 31, Swing 280, Hound Dog Shuffle, Be Flat and Tranchante Mer Mineure are brand new. (Here's a little tip: translated, Tranchante Mer, Mineure means Sea Sharp Minor. It's my play on words for my French brother-in-law. The name of the song and the key it is in is C# Minor). All of the arrangements for this CD are new. Jazz: The 2920 Sessions is part of the ongoing 2920 Sessions which explores many genres of my music. I am having a great time working with a few very talented El Paso artists like bassist Curt Bushaw, pianist Ruben Gutierrez, vocalist Monica Gutierrez and Joshua Lucero, and saxophonist Frank Zona.
Back story: When I was a youth living hand-to-mouth on the road, life was not easy by any means. While others in my small town of 2,200 residents found steady work or went to college, I chose to make my way day by day hitchhiking from town to town and state to state. The one thing I never did was beg on a street corner or ask for a handout. Raised as a carpenter from the time I was twelve, framing homes in Texas, and condominiums in the mountains of Colorado paid the fare at times. Washing dishes for nights in a row would also provide meals and money to continue traveling. Playing music for meals and tips in Oregon, and picking apples in Chelan, Washington for thirty straight days granted shelter, money and the opportunity to work alongside Mexican migrants. Nothing came easy. This lifestyle, while dangerous and insecure, did furnish imagery for song and poetry. I lived by these means for more than a decade.
When I began to earnestly put this project together I conducted a thorough search through my seventeen travel logs that led to the rediscovery of nearly 900 partial and completed songs, stories, letters to friends and loved ones never sent, plans for videos that could never afford to be produced, and a few ragged sketches of myself and my on-the-road compadres. Of course, I’d gone through my logs hundreds of times over the years searching for one thing or another, but never in this much detail.
Once I had cataloged when the text was written and I actually studied the text, I realized that I was just a teenager and in my early twenties when the great majority of these works had been penned. I was pleasantly surprised by the somber words woven together that spoke truth in every phrase. Writing, whether we’d like it to be or not, is all about the truth. Poetry from a Road Scholar points to a repeated history of human yearning. The wanting need to be with someone, the sincere beginnings followed by the attempts at reconciliation and the angry pissedoffidness that follows each failed attempt. Some works are humorous, some are sprinkled with sexual overtones, some are deep and perhaps even philosophical. Most are in plain English written by a young man from Upstate New York.
Now, if you would like a copy, please tell me who you would like me to sign the book for. Thank you very much.
A classic country/folk/americana CD of mostly original material. Loved by all those who have listened. It is the perfect gift for any one missing the love of another. It is the perfect traveling CD. These songs were written when I used to hitchhike around the good ol' USA. It's a beauty. These songs may also be listened to and purchased individually on the Music page. Thank you.
(Was $15) Enjoy this visually creative adventure novel by one of El Paso’s most prolific authors. When coincidental fate brings together Richard Callahan, a brilliant scientist working on a top secret government project inside South Franklin Mountain in far-west Texas, and the lonely, complex Lester Winton, whose exhaustingly fearful world discovers an improbable observation that opens the door to turning back the hands of time, and the self-indulged artist John Andersen, who inadvertently gets incommodiously twisted into his rough-hewn “Jesus Cross” to better understand the suffering Jesus experienced, more than a few sparks fly on the 3rd Tuesday of April, 2016.
(Was $20) One of El Paso's favorite history books, El Paso: 1850-1950, is easy to read, yet very informative collection of well thought out photos and text. El Paso: 1850-1950 is James Robert Murphy's first published book, thanks to Arcadia Publishing. There is a beautiful chapter on architecture, and interesting chapters on the birth of the city, sports, people, business, health and some awesome and unbelievable photographs from the Mexican Revolution. If you want to learn about El Paso, this is a must have for your library.
(Was $15) A funny, bumpy journey through childhood, adolescence and young adulthood
My Life Before I Decided To Commit Suicide: A Love Story is James Murphy's first novel. He refers to it as an embellished memoir; meaning everything is true with a bit of theatrical license thrown in. The essence of My Life takes you on a journey through Murphy's quirky childhood and foggy adolescence through his first crushing marriage to his lovely first wife. Life, as you know, ain't easy. The first edition of My Life has sold out. The 2nd edition is now available. Murphy altered the title a bit. The 2nd edition has added the phrase, A Love Story because that's really what it is all about: Love. Before going to print the second time the author read it page to page one more time. He quotes, "It is still as funny and as tragic as hell." Critic Tom Riddell states, “Through the course of the last 2.5 years, I have reviewed over 50 books and through the course of the last 57 years I have probably read at least 500 books. In all of those years and through all of those books, there have been a few literary geniuses who were able to get a chuckle and a laugh out of me - and yes, a few have caused me to shed a tear drop or two- but Jim Murphy literally had the tears flowing down my cheeks.”
Richard Palmer, Ph.D. “I have come across very few books in my time that I have felt compelled to tell friends about. Jim Murphy’s embellished autobiography is one of them. The explosions of description are beautiful; the honesty is remarkable; the humor is engulfing. It’s on my list of favorites.”
"Worthy to be called "EXCELLENT" 1st Place Winner, Book Publishers of El Paso, TX
My Life has also drawn comparisons to Jean Shepherd's novel, In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, which was adapted to screen and renamed, A Christmas Story.
25th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. Review of My Life Before I Decided To Commit Suicide: A Love Story The spoiler title did not soften the shock I felt when the suicide popped up in the Prologue. It occurred to me that lazy readers might skip the Prologue, as they are wont to do, zooming straight to the diverting memoirs beginning in the big white house with no grass where the Bob & Betty Circus dominates after Murphy breaks his nose. The author has a unique sense of humor that readers are bound to appreciate. This humor is liberally laced with sarcasm. The author has a gift of presenting characters as fully-formed stars like the Beehive Lady, with her nosey curiosity, and his childish interpretation of her as a Russian spy. Murphy has a singular way of presenting stories, like the one about his hamster dying on the same day as JFK. Murphy’s description of the Catholic Church and religion, in general, is unexpected and wry. There is an undercurrent of pathos as his narrative proceeds into young adulthood, of impending sadness, coming to drape itself over this original view of life, and of course, readers must know that because of the warning is given in the title. This memoir must have been tremendously cathartic to write and it will deeply touch readers who find it cathartic to read. I am glad the author was rescued by his father. The amount of anger present may put off some readers, but it will attract others.
(Was $15) A Perfect Fit for Today's Political Climate
The Right to Kill engages readers in this now-familiar, open-hearted writing style that has become James Murphy’s signature. It follows the lives of six young boys in the 1950s and 60s—a time when the United States was still an innocent nation and working-class families were poor, uneducated citizens. Los Seis (the six), as the boys refer to themselves, make a blood-bound pact to “clean up the neighborhood” at all costs. As time goes by, their concept of what is morally acceptable expands and their once simple adventures escalate.
Book critic Tom Ridell's review: Jim Murphy’s latest book, The Right To Kill, made me cringe. It begins as a dark, grisly, and graphic tale that had me a bit nauseous but then a quick twist in the plot, surprisingly had me cheering on the six misguided and murderous youngsters. Even though this is a work of fiction, the author took me on a chillingly deadly and dark adventure that had me rethinking the human condition and prompted me to re-examine what our true human nature really is composed of. One of the most ironic, intriguing and haunting aspects of this story is how timely it is given the current political climate. The United States, in this fictional version, is much different than the country that we know but it is eerily close to where we could be if the “right” or “wrong” leader took the reins of our country. It really is up to us to decide. This is not a book for young readers or the easily offended but it is a book worth reading. The author’s tongue is placed firmly in cheek in this one and the bits of sexual humor will have you laughing hard but have no doubt, the premise of this tale will stick in your mind and have you thinking well after the last page is read. This one has the legs that could take it to the bestseller list. I give The Right To Kill 5 stars.
(Was $15) One of El Paso's All-time Favorite Books
My Favorite El Pasoans: Past and Present was released on November 1, 2015. The initial run sold out in three weeks. My Favorite is a collection of nearly 200 famous, not so famous, friendly and some not so friendly individuals, with a few quirky characters tossed for good measure, who were either born or raised in the El Paso, TX area. For instance, legendary actors Anthony Quinn, Debbie Reynolds, Irene Ryan (Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies) and F. Murray Abraham all have significant ties to El Paso. Sculptor John Houser and Luis Jimenez, photographer Otis Aultman, artist Hal Marcus, musicians Bobby Fuller who wrote, "I fought the law and the law won," blues guitarist Long John Hunter, 1960s folk artist Phil Ochs, sax player Mike Hamilton and Mothers of Invention founder and drummer Jimmy Carl Black, actress Lydia Cornell, and Vikki Carr are all affiliated with El Paso. There is a beautiful 1937 photo of escape artist Fred Brown tossed in a San Antonio jail for panhandling after his successful escape. The list goes on and on. My Favorite El Pasoans has quickly become local favorite.
The Adult Stress Relief Book (Note: this is a gag gift. It is filled with fowl language. That being said, it is the perfect gift.) One of Murphy's favorite books of all time. "I wrote it on a whim. If you want to have a little fun at a party or have a friend, family member or associate that is fed up with all the daily bullshit, you have to give them this book and have them SHOUT IT OUT LOUD! It is a true stress reliever." I'm So Pissed Off has calmed many a nerves even though not one doctor or one clinical test in the entire world has ever approved or certified the damn thing. Buy this for a friend. They will love you for it.