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 Charlie Murphy | Discography | Discogs

Charlie Murphy

1953-2016

 

What is the least that we have a right to expect from our fellow human beings?

Acknowledgment of shared humanity, yes? Surely that's the least that we have a right to expect?

 

With its faux herstory, shallow outrage over the Nine Million, and mindless eclecticism, Charlie Murphy's 198X song The Burning Times (“In the cool of the evening, they used to gather...”) just hasn't withstood the test of time. (“Isis, Astarte, Dee-AH-na, Hecate, Demeter, KAH-li...Inan-NA!”) Still, for a while in the 80s, it gave a voice to our collective longing, and became something of a marching song for the New Old Religion.

I met Charlie Murphy a couple of times back in those days. The memory still rankles.

 

We met first at a Gay Pride block party one evening here in Minneapolis. A mutual acquaintance introduced us as we stood in the middle of Hennepin Avenue, surrounded by a crowd of hundreds, in all our milling, bare-chested glory.

There's a cruel and deeply broken thing that gay men regularly do to one another. (Oh, not all gay men, and not all the time, but enough...gods help us, enough.) We disappear one another.

Here's how it works. When we meet, you have five seconds to exist: long enough for me to decide whether or not I want you.

If I don't, then poof! I disappear you. After that, we may be standing mere inches from one another but, baby, you no longer exist. I don't see you, I don't hear you. You're simply not there.

That's what Charlie Murphy did to me. He sized me up and, poof! I was gone.

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Statuette of a snake goddess | Museum of Fine Arts, Boston | Minoan art,  Snake goddess, Minoan

Back in the Paganolithic Era, writing "Old Time Religion" verses was something of a pagan cottage industry, and I certainly wrote my share. Of those that I can remember (or will admit to), here are the best.

For what they're worth.

 

There's my favorite Cretan goddess

in her stylish see-through bodice.

No, she isn't very modest,

but she's good enough for me.

 

Let us sing the praise of Horus

as our fathers did before us:

we're the New Egyptian Chorus.

(And that's good enough for me!)

 

Let us sing the praise of Lilith,

for she doeth what she willeth.

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The Green Album: a Pagan treat for all who love the Earth

A wonderful new CD of Pagan songs honoring the sacredness of Nature has just blessed us. I have enjoyed it immensely and hope many of you will as well. That’s the elevator speech. Here’s why.

The Green Album is a collection by many of our best contemporary Pagan musicians contributing their original music to honor the earth. At a time when the fate of the place we love is being threatened by greed, ignorance, and fear, music can strengthen those of us who feel powerless given magnitude of the forces we oppose and even penetrate minds and hearts closed to argument and evidence.  This collection does so for me.

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A Hymn of Hekate - the Art of Music

It's been a bit quiet on the blog here, but with good reason - I've been on tour for the last month with our band (The Nathaniel Johnstone Band), and prior to leaving for the tour, I needed to get the first draft of my book, The Witch's Cauldron in to the publisher and get the layout designed and finished for the new album, The Mother Matrix

The album was inspired by my drawing and painting by the same title, and I'm excited to say it also includes the second song I have written.  (The first was "Persephone Rises" and was track 8 on our Greek-themed Steampunk album entitled The Antikythera Mechanism.)

I've done and made a lot of things in my life, but I don't think I ever imagined myself writing a song.  Sure I've written poems, stories, and many articles over the years, but a song seemed like something else.  However, when you're married to a musician, I suppose one should expect a fair bit of bleedover.  I didn't sit down with the explicit intention of writing a song.  Rather it just sort of happened.  "Persephone Rises" emerged just around the Spring Equinox of 2014.  

In the summer of 2015, Nathan and I were contemplating the theme of the 2016 album.  We were playing with the idea of something dark, perhaps bellydance-inspired, pagany. After one discussion, I found myself up in my studio, and "Hekate's Song" was written.  Once we had settled on the title/feel of the album, I added two more verses to tie it in, and it became the third part of a trio of songs on the album exploring the concept of The Mother Matrix, and its title became "The Crossroads."  (I also ended up writing most of the verses for part 2, "Going Gone" which weaves in the concepts of the Fates.)

But the words are only part of the magick, because then the real musicians take over and truly bring the song to life. Dogwood's vocals, to me, truly evoke the power of Hekate's voice I envisioned when writing the song, and I love the interjection of S. J. Tucker's ethereal backing vocals. Nathan's composing and Tom Coyne's drumming gives it all roots and more compelling layers of power.  It becomes a painting inside of your head, moving throughout your body. 

Have a listen (will open in a new window): 
https://soundcloud.com/nathaniel-johnstone/the-crossroads-part-3


 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Lots of us have a hard time figuring out holiday music.  We want something that evokes the sound of Yuletide music from our childhoods but we don’t want to be forced to celebrate a religious experience that we don’t share.  So here’s a short list of some Pagan Yuletide music that you can share!

This Endris Night by Heather Dale

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Samuel Wagar
    Samuel Wagar says #
    Jaiya - wonderful band from Mayne Island in British Columbia. http://www.last.fm/music/Jaiya

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Songs of the Northern Tribes

In support of Gaia Gathering: the Canadian National Pagan Conference, thirteen artists have come together to create an anthology of Canadian Pagan music and spoken word.  Only available online, this album spans thirty years and includes some of the best of out-of-print Pagan classics as well as some up-and-comers.  All artists have donated the use of their work: all profits from the sale of the album go directly to support the Conference.

Featured artists: Vanessa Cardui, Tara Rice, the Ancient Gods, JD Hobbes, Brendan Myers, Dano Hammer, the Dragon Ritual Drummers, Gallows Hill, Heather Dale, Tamarra James, Raven's Call, Sable Aradia,and Parnassus (Chalice & Blade).

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Sumer Is Icumen In

I thought I'd get the jump on Beltane and talk about everyone's favourite May Day song (even if you're not on Summer Isle) as it is a great piece of history. 'Sumer is icumen in' also known as the 'cuckoo song' embodies that glorious sense of happiness that the first real warm days offer us. Here in the north we still can't quite believe that summer is a-coming, which makes me want to sing it even more.

This is the earliest secular song recorded in English in the Middle Ages and appears in a 13th century manuscript along with a Latin version. Here's the original lyrics:

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    Thanks for this. It's one of my favorite May songs, too. I've taught it many, many places around the country. I think the dir
  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity says #
    That sounds wonderful. If it helps any, early English is simpler than modern English which has even more influences. Blessed Belta

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