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Merchants of Dream: new CD reissue

Discussion in 'A Small Circle of Friends: The Music Forum' started by LPJim, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. LPJim

    LPJim Well-Known Member Moderator Thread Starter

    STRANGE NIGHT VOYAGE by the Merchants of Dream, originally released in 1968 as A&M SP 4149, has been reissued on CD.

    This obscure Peter Pan concept album was produced by George "Shadow" Morton. Little has been known about the artists, and perhaps the new liner notes will be informative. This release is available via amazon.com:


    (**** My 'customer review' was added on 2-17-11 ****)

  2. Dave

    Dave Well-Known Member

    Well, from what I've read, the liner notes in this "reissue" SHOULD be quite thorough! Sure might be worth giving this album "a second wind", then, if only for that...

    (Plus the idea that once an album I'd previously disliked, or just was reluctant to buy ever did go on CD, then I'd be much more inclined to appreciate it more & see it go to "Favorite" status, too!) :agree:

  3. LPJim

    LPJim Well-Known Member Moderator Thread Starter

    Today's mail brought a package from 'amazon.com,' my copy of the STRANGE NIGHT VOYAGE reissue CD. The booklet contains the original SP 4149 artwork, the A&M labels (side one shown twice -- a mistake, I assume) and some photos.

    There are individual pictures of Producer Shadow Morton and Composer Jack Murphy, plus a stage photo of Murphy and Drummer Bobby Musac.

    A St. John's University classmate, Vinny Testa, discovered Murphy's music and recommended it to Morton, who got a deal with A&M to release the album. Testa had been a producer and vice-president of Morton's Community Productions, and Morton had previously worked with the Shangri-Las, Vanilla Fudge and Janis Ian.

    Drummer Musac and the other Merchants were studio musicians hired to back Murphy: David Bumgarner (rhythm guitar), John Bumgarner (vocals), John Pizow (bass), and Jeff Druck (lead guitar).

    Kenny Vitaitis, who cowrote some songs, was not a member of the band but actually Murphy's brother-in-law.

    Inspired by the Peter Pan story, 'VOYAGE' created a parallel between the boy who wouldn't grow up with the contemporary rebellion against 'adult' morals and straight society charatcterized by the late-60's Generation Gap and Vietnam War protests, according to the liner notes.

    The album received little promotion, and a single ("Dorothy the Fairy Queen" / "Sing Me Life") found no airplay or chart success.

    Testa formed his own publishing and producting firm. Infinity, Inc., signing Murphy as a solo artist and producing his Verve-Forecast self-titled solo album, 'J.F. MURPHY,' in 1969. Murphy later formed 'J.F. Murphy & Salt,' later known as 'J.F. Murphy and Free Flowing Salt,' which recorded for MGM, Elektra, Columbia and ABC-Dunhill.

    Murphy composed for stage musicals, including 'The Silver Dollar,' 'Rudolph,' 'Zelda,' 'Carmen' and 'The Count of Monte Cristo.' He was nominated for a Tony Award for best score for 'The Civil War,' a collaboration with Frank Wildhorn.

    In 2003 he released a rock oriented CD, LIVE & LEARN,' and has returned to the childhood themes of 'VOYAGE' for his new musical, 'Wonderland; Alice's New Musical Adventure.'

    This will debut on Broadway later in 2011.

  4. Dave

    Dave Well-Known Member

    Well, Jim..., thanks for sharing this "new-found" info about this group, of which has long-been unheard of...

    You make me want to scout out this long-forgotten mediocrity, just to see if I actually might take a better liking for...

    And nice to know that a number of Broadway productions, have also had some newly-discovered connections to members of this band, too...

  5. Clear Light

    Clear Light New Member

    I was the person responsible for this re-issue - and in my opinion it is far from mediocre record. I am unhappy that I didn't pick up the duplication of label images in the boooklet at the proofing stage, I should know by now to triple check everything before signing it off, but otherwise I thought it came out pretty well. Thanks to LP Jim for the concise summary of the liner notes, I'm glad to get the mystery behind the LP finally cleared up. The transfer for the CD was made from the masters and sounds pretty amazing. Not to everybodys taste, but for fans of orchestrated pop psych it is an under-rated gem.
  6. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    "Clear Light," do you possibly get your screen name here from the Mystic Moods album of the same name? One of my favorites and I continue to hope for a reissue of it. "Conference of the Birds" is one of my favorite instrumentals.

    (Everybody: Sorry for stepping on the AOTW thread...please carry on!)
  7. mexicat

    mexicat Member

    Nice to see this LP given a new lease of life, looking forward to picking up the CD soon.

    And I'll wager David Crosby's roachclip that Clear Light's forum name comes from the psychedelic band of the same name signed to Elektra (featuring CSNY drummer Dallas Taylor and Doors bass player Doug Lubahn).

    As you were, ladies & gentlemen...
  8. LPJim

    LPJim Well-Known Member Moderator Thread Starter

    Thanks, "Clear Light," for your work getting 'VOYAGE' reissued and welcome to the Corner. Reissuing an album that was never a hit in the first place is a labor of love, considering it's got to be a thankless task.

    With so many current musical projects, you'd think there'd be a website for Jack Murphy, but I've yet to find one. The sound quality for the reissue is great, and there are some really nice melodies and harmonies underneath the "trappings" of the concept.

    Every time some obscurity for the early days of A&M gets reissued it gives hope that others will follow, such as the early TJB catalog that didn't come out in 2005, complete BMB albums (rather than just a compilation) and, last but not least, Johnson & Winding's STONEBONE.

  9. LPJim

    LPJim Well-Known Member Moderator Thread Starter

    While surfing around online today I discovered a site for Jack (J.F.) Murphy of the Merchants of Dream. It contains a bio and information about past and current projects:

    Welcome | jackmurphyinc.com


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