Michael Martin Murphey was born on March 14, 1945, to Pink Lavary Murphey and Lois Murphey in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas, Texas….where he grew up with his brother, Mark….who is three years younger….and when he was six years old, he started riding horses on his grandfather’s and uncle’s ranches…..while years later he would remember sleeping on his grandfather’s porch under the stars, listening to the older man’s stories and cowboy songs…..as he enjoyed being around these men of the land as they went about their work….for these experiences made a deep impression on the young boy.
During these early years, he developed a special love for cowboy songs and stories…..while being an avid reader, especially drawn to the books of Mark Twain and William Faulkner….when as a youth, he enjoyed writing poetry and loved listening to his uncle’s old 78 rpm records…..especially the music of country and folk artists such as Hank Williams, Bob Wills and Woody Guthrie.
In junior high school he began performing as an amateur….and later as a camp counselor at a summer camp called Sky Ranch…..when at the age of seventeen, he took his first “professional” music job by playing western songs around a campfire at a Texas ranch. By the early 1960’s, Murphey was playing the clubs in Dallas….while performing country music, folk music and rock music. He won over the conservative Texas audiences with his charm and talent….and soon thereafter formed a band that developed a significant following in the Dallas area.
As seen in this video herewith….Michael Martin Murphey & The Great American Honky-Tonk Band perform the fiddle, harmonica and banjo heavy instrument “Chicken In The Soup” live on stage at Austin City Limits in 1981.