NOEL MURPHY - The Biography
Noel Murphy is a Kerryman. Born in Killarney in Nov.'43, his family moved to Dublin in '50, where he was educated and where his family still live.
He set out on his travels in '62 and settled in London. Whilst working at various jobs he started going to folk-clubs, and having spent a short apprenticeship as a floor-singer, became a full-time folksinger in '64. He was well-prepared for his vocation - in his schooldays he'd been an actor, a drummer and a goalkeeper. His easygoing humorous style soon got him plenty of work, including being the first resident at the all-night 'Les Cousins' club in Soho, where he compered and performed alongside the likes of Alexis Korner, Ralph McTell, Sandy Denny, Bert Jansch, Alex Campbell and many, many more good companions. At this time, folk-clubs were sprouting up all over Britain, and Noel was soon traveling extensively opening many of these clubs. He started going abroad in '65, when he busked to Greece and back, and has since taken his songs and stories to over 50 countries.
His first recording
came out in '66 on Columbia, and he subsequently recorded albums for Fontana,
Village THing, M.F.P., Plant Life, and
R.C.A. In '87 he had a hit with his single 'Murphy and the Bricks', and nowadays runs his own label 'Fine Hairy Rope Records'. He was joined in '68 by the 16 year old banjoist Davey Johnstone, from Edinburgh, touring for 2 years as Murf and Shaggis, until they were joined, on double bass, by The Strawbs Ron Chesterman, and they became the much-loved and legendary Draught Porridge. Davey, via Magna Carta, went on to become Elton John's lead guitarist and bandleader, and remains such.
Noel has appeared on over 300 television programmes and has broadcast on radio, his favourite medium, over 2000 times. His television appearances included 2 comedies, with his dear golfing partner Eric Sykes, for ITV, partnering Ian Woosnam on Pro-Celebrity Golf, and playing a daft navvy in 'The Gathering Seed', both on BBC2. He also recorded one-man shows for Grampian, Trinidad, Southern and Danish TV.
Noel has always loved sports, especially golf, Gaelic games and Rugby Football. He was a caddie as a youngster, his first handicap was 5 and he became a scratch golfer, playing for both Surrey and Middlesex in the '70's. He has held or shared 6 different course records and has had 14 holes-in-one. For many years he played in charity events with most of the top professionals, partnering over 70 Ryder Cup players and many Open Champions. He was Captain of The Stage Golfing Society in '78.
He most enjoyed the ambiance of the folk-club and village hall, but also found himself performing on oil-rigs with Tommy Docherty, at The Savoy, Wormwood Scrubbs, George Bests housewarming, Harrow School, Golf and Rugby dinners, West End queues, The Royal Albert and Festival Halls, schools and colleges and many front rooms.
In '82, he was sidelined
for 5 years following a bizarre mishap whilst compering a charity dinner at
an Isle of Man hotel, when part of a broken brandy glass accidentally found
its way into his pint. In '94, Noel and his family settled on The Lizard Peninsula
in Cornwall He still enjoys going back to some of his old haunts to have fun
with his many friends and carry on with his life's satisfying work. Noel was forced to retire in 2005 for health reasons but the new album "The Quality of Murphy" has kept him busy and is a project he is very proud of.