Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Song of the Week: Murphy and the Mob -- Born Loser/Because You Love Me



[Ed note: see comments section for some illumination from the lyricist for Born Loser]

Day three of our Texas Battle of the Garage Bands takes us to a small outpost on the highways of Texas. Somewhere on that asphalt road between Dallas, Texas and Shreveport, Louisiana lived the Murphy brothers. And at some point in 1966, the Murphy brothers, Terry and Dennis, and a friend, walked into Steve Wright Studios in Tyler, Texas to cut their one and only single. The three called themselves Murphy and the Mob. The single they recorded on that day was Because You Love Me/Born Loser.

As is so usual, we'll start with the Flip-Side. Born Loser is a middle-finger of a song about being bullied, ridiculed and generally looked down upon. And their song is über rare and über cool. The lyrics were written by their friend, Stephen Brewerton. To say that not much is known about these anti-hipsters is an understatement. The most we know about this band can now be found in the comments section below where the song's lyricist fills in some great and vital info.

So let's turn our attention to what is known from the cool riffed song: Murphy and the Mob were clearly feeling some angst about being different in tiny Tyler, Texas and were not scared to tell us about that frustration.
I am a loner baby, I swing alone. I've got my own pad and an unlisted phone. A steady job, that's all I need. Just one heart gets fulfilled, baby just one mouth to feed!
But wait, there's a twist. Our lone geek protagonist was not so quietly getting revenge on the jocks and cowboys who looked down their crooked noses at him, shook their head and said "look at him, he's a born loser". Think revenge of the nerds. A nerd with a bitchin' little Danelectro guitar, a Silvertone amp he bought at the Sears and Roebuck in Dallas and a generous heaping of loser bravado.
I got no pals but look who's got the gals. They come to my pad because they want me so bad. I sleep all the day and I swing all night. I'm so cool baby, I'm just out of sight!
Sing it Murph. Sing it for all of us born losers. We're geeky as hell and we won't take it anymore!

The A-Side never gets any play. Unless you subscribe to On The Flip-Side, that is. Because You Love Me is a very different song. It starts off mellow enough, with a cool walking bass line. Murphy is a visionary. He can see in this girl's heart. I'm not so convinced she knows it, but Murphy is going to make sure she gets it. The number takes us on some rollicking good fun. Not a bad A-Side at all.

Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

18 comments:

  1. This song is great for many reasons. I'll note some of the little things I like about it. In the main guitar riff, the bass comes in and fills in gaps to the riff, in essence lending an echo effect to the riff. The spare vocals - no lyrics on V and IV turn around, then the stop and the riff starting over and building again before the next vocals. I like that. After the stop, the drummer triple hits the cymbal after the guitar plays the main riff once - brilliant!

    This is another song (the first being the Elois' By My Side as discussed here: http://ontheflip-side.blogspot.com/search?q=elois%2C) I'll always associate with the Morlocks.

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  2. I concur 100%. I think the bouncing bass is critical to the success of the song. As you suggest, it adds a texture to the main riff and gives it a buoyancy that is really nice. Plus that hollow-body bass sound is just awesome. I suspect he was playing a Framus Star Bass or a Harmony H22 based on my own experiences with those two instruments.

    I had not particularly noticed that the vocals are absent on V and IV. That is unusual.

    I'll add that the "bridge", the single note stutter riffs starting around 1:14, is mega cool as well. Between the Q65 "I Got Nightmares"-like floor-tom drumming and the spoken word bravado, it really adds a lot too. Come to think of it, I Got Nightmares is another Morlocks song! They had a hell of a set.

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  3. I have the original Authors and Composers contract with thunderball records for "Born Loser.

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  4. Cool. How'd you come to that? So, what can you tell us about Murphy and the Mob?

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  5. Stephen BrewertonJune 3, 2010 at 9:11 AM

    I wrote the lyrics to "Born Loser." The experience was uneventful and short-lived.

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    1. until now! you guys are gonna be rich ! LOL

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  6. Anything in particular inspire the lyrics? The others had music and asked you to put lyrics to it, or the other way around? You didn't collaborate on anything else?

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  7. Ahh, I misread the label on that tiny little picture. Whoops. I'll fix your name in the tags and in the copy.

    You wrote, "The experience was uneventful and short-lived." This is how I would describe the night I lost my virginity. :)

    As short-lived as the experience (of writing/recording the song) was for you, it does have an enduring legacy. Not in the grand sense of Martin Luther King, but a legacy none the less. They are really clever lyrics with a nice twist to them and they fit the 4-note riff perfectly. If you would like to expand on the song and band history (where recorded, who the players are, inspiration of lyrics etc.) please consider this an open invite to do so. I'd give you a unique post to set some history on this recording. I think the song deserves that kind of attention. You can email me at morgan[at]morganyoungideas[dot]com.

    Cheers to you.

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  8. Stephen BrewertonJune 3, 2010 at 12:19 PM

    I was just a nerd who wrote dumb lyrics which the Murphy's put to music. I was not a member of the band.

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    Replies
    1. You're still the loser ! Hatin' on everything. lol - good to keep the act up.

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  9. Stephen BrewertonJune 3, 2010 at 2:23 PM

    This is all I know about Murphy and the Mob. I was a nerd going to junior college trying to avoid the draft. I began making fur vest out of old fur coats discarded behind a local high end department store. I began selling these fur vests to rock bands. Some were sold to bands that recorded at Robinhood Bryan’s recording studio and Steve Wright’s recording studio. I met Terry and Dennis Murphy and somehow became their manager. I wrote the lyrics to “Born Loser.” I managed them for two months. After I quit managing them, Terry and Dennis put music to my lyrics and recorded the songs at Steve Wright’s recording studio. The “A” side made it to the top 10 on KDOK radio station, the local rock station. “Born Loser” made it into the top 40 on KZEY, the local R & B station. After that I joined the Navy and went to war and became an alcoholic. I am a hell of a lot more proud of my small volume of poetry, “Ramblings Of An Alcoholic Mind” than I am the lyrics of “Born Loser.”

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  10. I just found this for 300 yen (roughly $5.oo) in a Japanese used record shop. I'm not sure why I picked it up, maybe Thunderball Music (I'm a 007 fan) or maybe cause the Talisman Records sounded cool, or maybe the band name and title track appealed to my garage rock sensibilities. After spinning it, I know I've heard this song before on a comp somewhere. I thought at best it was a revival group cover, but after checking this site, I dare say I have the original press shown in the pic here. I'm kinda freaking out now!

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    1. In Japan? Or the USA did you find this?

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  11. I'll double what you paid for it, AND pay for postage. How's that?

    Nice find. I'd be kinda freakin' out too.

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  12. An original copy of this record just sold on eBay for a very healthy $1,636. But shipping was only $4, so it's a steal!

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  13. Because You Love Me is top notch. Has a dutch beat quality to it. It even has a (barely noticeable) I Got Nightmares-like moan at the second break.

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    1. Good call on that barely noticeable moan. I had to really listen for that.

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  14. I was researching Mouse and The Trap out of Tyler, Texas and then remembered that the Murphy Bros. had a band back when I went to school with them. The Murphy family lived across the school in Tyler. Lost track of them when we moved to Dallas in 66".

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