15 Years of Muruch!

Muruch is now a surly teenager. While the original site was created in 1999, it was in July, 2000 that I began posting “Muruch mp3s” to share new music with friends. If you’re interested in the site’s convoluted history, you can read the saga on the About page. We have a lot of things planned to celebrate Muruch‘s 15th anniversary – starting with today’s official launch of the Muruch.com for RAINN fundraising campaign and benefit album. And, of course, Muruch wouldn’t be Muruch without plenty of Allison Crowe…

Various Artists: Beautiful Star: The Songs Of Odetta

One of my favorite music blogs Wears The Trousers recently started their own record label, and their first release will be a tribute to legendary folk singer Odetta. As a great fan of Odetta’s (I had the privilege of seeing her perform live at Mountain Stage), I’m so glad that Wears The Trousers showed her due respect by selecting a talented group of contemporary female singers to carry on her grand legacy. The tribute will be released on November 30th and all profits from its sales will be split between two charities (The Fawcett Society and The Women’s Resource Centre) that benefit women.

Linda Draper’s softly buoyant, harmonica-accented rendition of “Sail Away” opens the tribute, but it is Ane Brun’s haunting croon of “If I Had A Ribbon Bow” that truly conjures up the musical spirit of Odetta.

The pop sheen of artists like Gemma Ray and Haunted Stereo seems a little out of place here. “900 Miles” and “Santy Ano” are substantial enough songs to anchor any vocal and these versions are certainly catchy, but I think other singers (such as Dayna Kurtz and Pamela Means) would’ve been better suited to the kind of music Odetta recorded. Fortunately, this is the only remotely negative remark I can make about the album.

Madam’s eerie Patti Smith-like wail of “Waterboy” and Kellli Ali’s delicate interpretation of “All The Pretty Little Horses” are absolutely gorgeous.

Sandy Dillon’s live acoustic recording of “Can’t Afford to Lose My Man” and Josephine Oniyama’s “The Gallows Pole” are superb recreations of Odetta’s unique brand of gritty fierceness and mellow femininity.

The album includes two versions of “All My Trials,” one by Anaïs Mitchell and the other by Marissa Nadler. I personally prefer the first cover by the incomparable Anaïs Mitchell. Marissa Nadler’s atmospheric take is unquestionably pretty, but Mitchell’s inflective vocal phrasing better represents the organic nature of Odetta’s music.

Katey Brooks belts out “What A Friend We Have”, while Arborea puts a gentle, wistful spin on “This Little Light of Mine” for the finale.

Track List:
01 Linda Draper: “Sail Away Ladies”
02 Ane Brun: “If I Had A Ribbon Bow”
03 Gemma Ray: “900 Miles”
04 Anaïs Mitchell: “All My Trials”
05 Haunted Stereo: “Santy Anno”
06 Madam: “Waterboy”
07 Sandy Dillon: “Can’t Afford To Lose My Man”
08 Ora Cogan: “Motherless Child”
09 Josephine Oniyama: “The Gallows Pole”
10 Pepi Ginsberg: “Beautiful Star”
11 Society Of Imaginary Friends: “Another Man Done Gone”
12 Marissa Nadler: “All My Trials”
13 Kelli Ali: “All The Pretty Little Horses”
14 Katey Brooks: “What A Friend We Have”
15 Liz Durrett: “Chilly Winds”
16 Arborea: “This Little Light Of Mine”

Ora Cogan – Motherless Child (mp3 expired) *

*mp3 posted w/ permission of label

You can currently pre-order physical or digital copies of the album through the label’s website and mp3s will soon be made available on Amazon and iTunes…

Pre-Order Album from Label

Buy @ Amazon (not yet available)

Buy @ Amazon.co.uk (not yet available)

The History of Muruch

Muruch is one of the oldest music/mp3 blogs and one of the few offering only 100% legal mp3s. It was originally created by me (Victoria) as a personal webpage on iWarp.com (a Freeservers.com subdomain) in June, 1999. It was moved to a Homestead.com subdomain in July, 2000, when a page was added for mp3 links and music recommendations.

Incidentally, “Murúch” is the Irish word for “mermaid” and has been my email moniker since I first got online in the late 90s. I was introduced to the word by what turned out to be a mediocre book, but by then the name had stuck and it still seemed fitting since I lived in Ireland at the time. But I digress.

A companion mailing list (all the rage before RSS feeds) was created on eGroups (bought shortly after by Yahoo Groups) in September, 2000. The list featured general discussion by group members and my own weekly “Muruch Mp3s” newsletter with mp3s, music reviews, and entertainment news.

“Muruch Mp3s” was moved back to the Muruch site a few months later, when the site was moved to its own .net domain and I began hosting mp3s on my own server at that time. I gave up the domaim in July, 2001 and transferred the musical contents of the site to Blogspot.com (owned by Blogger).

In 2003, the blog was put on hold when I became moderator of the Livejournal music community Audiogasms. Audiogasms was one of the first major music communities on Livejournal.com, and was the predecessor to several spinoff communities. The moderating demands of my rapidly growing community became wearisome to me in early 2004, so I handed over the group to a new moderator and encouraged the members to follow her to a new replacement community – Audiography, which became an even more successful and much larger music community in the years that followed.

I took a short break from writing, but my obsession with music soon pushed me to resurrect Muruch as a proper mp3 blog on Blogger. Unfortunately, I lost the early archives during the transfer, so I started fresh. This time I put the focus on supporting artists I like rather than simply sharing music with readers. This change of purpose moved me to write more in-depth reviews, include purchase links in my posts, and eventually only post authorized, 100% legal mp3s. It was around that time that other mp3 blogs were first becoming popular. My domain hopping and preferrence for legal mp3s kept Muruch from gaining the name recognition of its mp3 blog peers, but the site’s traffic still increased at a very impressive rate and enjoyed several years on Technorati’s Top 100 Music Blogs list.

In October, 2008, Muruch was one of the many music blogs unfairly censored by Blogger due to false copyright infringement claims by IFPI. A review containing a 100% legal mp3 that was posted with the permission of the record label (who held the copyright) was deleted by Blogger without notification. A successful counter claim was filed with Blogger and the post was reinstated in December, 2008, just as another authorized mp3 post was deleted by Blogger for yet another false infringement claim. It became clear that not even a 100% legal music blog was safe on Blogger, so Muruch was once again moved to its own domain.

Fellow music blogger Song, By Toad kindly helped with the move to the new Muruch.com domain and has generously hosted this site since January, 2009. All’s well that ends well.