Here’s a 2001 article I wrote on the legendary western swing steel guitarist Earl ‘Joaquin’ Murphey, who played with Spade Cooley, Tex Williams, the Plainsmen, and other West Coast acts in the 1940s and 1950s. To merely call him the best steel guitarist of his era is to do his work a disservice. He is among the greatest soloists country music has ever produced.

Murphey seldom granted interviews. Why he chose to speak with me I don’t know, but I’m grateful he did. I was also fortunate to interview some other significant players for this article, such as Speedy West, Herb Remington, Paul Westmoreland, and Ernie Ball. Yes, that Ernie Ball. Ernie Ball worked as a steel guitarist in Los Angeles in the late 1940s, and his father was Joaquim Murphey’s first steel guitar teacher.

By the way, please note the spelling of Murphey’s surname. It’s often (incorrectly) spelled Murphy.

Early Murphey Article

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