I grew up in Nashville Tennessee
Growing up in Nashville wasn’t a bad start for a musically obsessed life!

Born in 1967 I grew up in Nashville Tennessee, son of a very musical father and a wonderfully artistic mother. That’s my brother Chris (now leader of the Hotfoot Specials Cajun band) in the foreground, our friend and the girl who bust my collar bone by sitting on me Susan Sayers and yep that’s me Wyatt Earp on the right hand side.

I’m proud to say that I started going to gigs early, the first was in 1969 the first Folklife Festival, I saw ~ Muddy Waters in Washington, I was two. Libba Cotton, the lady who wrote ‘freight train’ kept me occupied on the way. Dad had gone to the states out of a love of american traditional music in the early 60s and we will probably always be that rare English thing, a ‘folk family’ just not quite as well known as the Watersons or Coppers!

FullSizeRender 6We moved to the UK when I was about 10 years old in ’76; my English father had fallen out of love with America as it changed from an age of as he saw it, of simpler innocence, to the place many of my family still call home.

Since then I have lived in Southern England, East Sussex to be exact, always obsessively listening to music, playing music, talking music, writing music and telling people to stop listening to ‘that shit’ and get down with some of the ‘good shit’.

At about 14-15 years of age I had my first taste of Jamaican music, a genre that would become an obsessive centre of my musical interests. Later I was mentored in the ways of Jamaican music by Ken Jones aka Charlie Reggae who remains a big influence on my musical life, as were/are friends Mike Hindle and Chris Edmondson and my partner Sue Heard.

I have played guitar and written songs since the age of 14 (I’m now 52), at one point was a member of a very well respected Morris Dancing side, South Downs. Lead, fronted and gigged with mildly notorious ‘local’ band the Purple Frizbeez. I have in the past authored a website all about Jamaican vocalist Johnny Clarke and with creative spar Ian Causer of House of Reggae fame also the acclaimed Jamaicanlabelart.com, a self explanatory place for visual indulgences!

I also hosted and produced the podcast Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio for some years, IMG_6176before shutting it down after a messy divorce, and then, starting it again in late 2018,  at it’s height 20,000 listeners downloaded it, but I quit when I just couldn’t maintain the right energy for it. However the old addictions came back to haunt me and I couldn’t help but share my love for Jamaican music again. So have started it up again recently. No where nearly as many listeners now that podcasting is mainstream now, but I was there early on, before Rodigan, Letts or the fucking BBC. Pity they didn’t recognise the talent already out there, instead of pushing the same hackneyed crap again and again. (no Rodigan isn’t crap). I have plans for a new show, with a homely format where my partner Sue and I argue over music, and invite friends to come share their record collections, so watch this space!

I write, produce and engineer/mix my own music as Michael Cullen Murphy. I have for the last 3 years after nearly 7 years away been writing and recording. The English Folk 022guitarist Martin Simpson who is a family friend heard a song and told me to get on with writing, and when someone like him tells you you have some talent, it’s time to go get on with it… I occasionally put the work in progress up here  > http://www.reverbnation.com/mikemurphy4

I have a B.A. Hons degree in Fine Art Printmaking from West Surrey College of Art and Design, and continue to be interested in Fine Art, though I don’t attempt to create anything anymore.

Ocassionally I sell records on Discogs and try desperately to collect more Jamaican music and stuff like U.S.A. R&B on 78rpm records. I have been particularly into UK Folk Rock and Folk Psych too of recent, enjoying filling up my Sandy Denny selection and listening to people like Karen Dalton for the first time. I have lectured in Jamaican popular music at Chichester University, contributed to the Rare Record Guide and Roots Knotty Roots, a guide to Jamaican single releases. I’ve worked as a sound engineer and (in the days of reel to reel) tape editor & have written about music for magazines and online publications and I enjoy writing… and I guess that’s why I started this Blog.

Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio
Mikey’s back with wonderful Reggae (and other Caribbean) music, fi free, fi yuh, on Podomatic.

Four or so years ago I compiled from my own collection the double cd ‘Mento Not Calypso’ for Fantastic Voyage, a now defunct label. It did well and remains one of the best and most original compilations of early and super rare Jamaican music.

Day job . . . . I work as a Building Materials salesman and I’m very happily the Dad of an 11 year old son and the fiancee to partner Sue, who once had a large collection of UK & US 60s Garage and Psych. She’s been teaching me loads and introducing me to fabulous new genres of music, ……..

……… it’s an education and you never stop learning, or listening.

21 thoughts on “ABOUT MIKE MURPHY”

  1. Mr. Murphy,
    my name is Ivan Chin, do you remember me, I still have your e-mail
    I am writing to ask you if you would give me a copy of your Give her love, I would be very grateful. Mike Garnice gave me a copy that was in bad shape and I am hoping that your copy is in better shape, you could send it by MP3. Thank you very much.

    Ivan Chin

  2. Hi, I love your show. I dont listen all the time but when I do, it truly inspires. I love roots and extremely passionate about dancehall as well. This Gregory Isaac’ Podcast is amazing and the Johnny Clarke one you did along time ago is what got me into your Podcast.

    Do you have an email I can have?


    1. Hi Angelo, really glad you like the show…. you can contact me via my facebook group page if you like, of I’ll set you up as a friend on Facebook and you can message me from there. – bigmikeydread Reggae Radio (on Facebook).

  3. Hi,

    I’m a friend of Hugo Mendez (Sofrito), he indicates me your website.

    My name is fred and I allow myself to write you today because I’m now finishing the Press Release of a book project called: ‘Compacto! A graphic history of the Company Sleeve’.
    As you can imagine, It is about company sleeves.
    I have around 600 different of them, coming from all over the world (Africa, America, Europe, West Indies, South America,…)
    There are only one type of those sleeves that I do not have enough 12″ Reggae Ep and 7″.

    So I’d like to know if you could be interested in collaborating on this project.

    I sincerely would be happy and glad to have you as a collaborator.

    Please let me know your thought about it !

    Thanks in advance.

    All the best,

    Frederic Thiphagne


    Rua Avanhandava 154, Apto 45
    Bela Vista
    Sao Paulo – SP
    ph: +55.11.7074.5005

  4. Hi !
    Many thanks for your answer !
    I’m very glad that this project interest you ! And OF COURSE you’ll get a copy ! : )
    Please send me an email whenever you want and let’s start speaking about this !
    All the best,


  5. Hey, cat — just a waaay Thanks! for the turn-on to yet another Ken Booth, Lonely Teardrops, played about 9:30 p.m. on Aug 16, ’12, EST U.S., 1:something afternoon for you. Only know him from the Studio One recordings, and Message Of Old is the most riveting reggae that has ever touched my soul and graced my ears. It’s wonderful to have another to add to my brief repertoire of his work. Muchos kudos!

  6. Hi, great site, very interesting! Sorry to contact you through here but I’ve found something quite interesting. 2 x a states from Motta’s Recording Studios. It’s part 1 & 2 of “The Capella Singers” conductor Victor Lambert. I’m in the UK so I can understand by reading your site how they ended up here. What is puzzling me is why I can’t find anything on the artists. Luckily the track listing is included, which includes “This Endris Nyght” actually spelled that way! Hope you may be able to shed some light? Best, James

    1. Hi James, I’d be very interested to see scans of these. It sounds on first thought like some one offs recorded for private use at Mottas. He was known in the early days (indeed he set up for this initially) to record uptown middle class types personal recordings, music, spoken word and performance. You may have something very interesting and very rare. Please get in touch with me here or post some photos for me to look at on my Radio Station fan page at Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio on Facebook. Exciting stuff!

  7. heeeeeeyyyyy mr big mikey dread, its Abs here!!! Just listening to your sweet music down here in Kernow, hows things?? You sound happy, hope you and the family are all good. Pops is the big 10 now, aaaahhh!! Be lovely to see you all sometime, keep up the sweet rasta roots, lots of love abs xxxx

  8. Hi BMD, I bought the 2 Motta acetates off ebay last week, they landed yesterday at home.

    Would love to get your input on these :

    My 78rpm player is crap so I just listened to few seconds of each song waiting to get a proper way to record these fragile sides.

    All tunes are, obviously, a cappella gospels.

    One of the superb Motta labels is slightly unglued revealing another label from the blank acetate. I can see “this is a direct recording” “play with modern” [turnatble i guess]



    1. Sounds really interesting, would love to hear the recodings when you get them done. I suspect the ‘under label’ is the original acetate manufacturers label and Motta’s havve just pasted over. It’s interesting that the seller asked me pre sell about them, and you’ve checked in post sale.. the Mento world is a Mental one!!.. Congratulations on the purchase, very interesting items.. at least to me!

  9. Mr Murphy,
    Will you ever return to your podcasting activities? I was very saddened to find you gone, although if your final episode was in cassette format, it would have long since worn out. It’s that good
    Anyhoo, don’t mean to bother you, just wanted to reach out and let u know I’m thinking of your welfare and wish you well. I hope all is smooth and easy in your life since those halcyon “salad” days, if you know what I mean…!

  10. Greetings,
    we are a 78rpm Club looking for fellows around the world who would like to contribute their knowledge concerning rare and strange 78rpm record labels from around the world.
    We have seen, that you are quite investigative concerning stories behind songs.

    It would be great to hear your thoughts.
    Best regards,

    1. hi Axl, always interested in 78 records., you are free if you like to copy any article I haven’t written. Just please let me know and then link me to the article so I can see it and massage my all too fragile ego. Thank you.


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tracing musical lines, talking music, recording, album art, rare records, reviewing, discographies and information

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