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Michael Hurley

A singer/songwriter in the subversive Greenwich Village folk scene of the late '60s and '70s, with several songs lent to the Holy Modal Rounders, Michael Hurley maintained an infrequent solo career into the '90s but was more famed for his writing credits. Born on December 20, 1941 in Pennsylvania, he migrated to Greenwich Village by the early '60s and was ready to sign a major record deal when he contracted mononucleosis; after spending several years in the hospital, Hurley returned to music and released a Folkways album in 1964 titled First Songs. Though he was inactive through the rest of the '60s, several songs from his first LP were borrowed by both the Holy Modal Rounders and the Youngbloods, who signed Hurley to their Raccoon label in 1970. He delivered two albums for Raccoon, Armchair Boogie and Hi-Fi Snock Uptown, but was inactive again by 1972.

Four years later, Holy Modal Rounders leader Peter Stampfel recruited Hurley for a 1976 project, Have Moicy. The group's self-titled album was critically praised, landing recommendations for Album of the Year by The Village Voice and Top 20 LPs of the '70s by Rolling Stone. Hurley's prominent place on the album -- guitar, fiddle, several lead vocals -- gave notice that he was ready to resume his solo career, and he signed to the folk label Rounder in 1977. Hurley released only two LPs for the label (Long Journey and Snockgrass), spending most of his time on his farm in Vermont or playing sideman on several albums. He resurfaced occasionally, recording LPs in 1984, 1988, 1995, and 1999.

Hurley continued to record in the 21st century. In fact, from the late '90s he was embraced by hip indie singer/songwriters such as Devendra Banhart and Chan Marshall, who were attracted to the singer's unconventional vocals and esoteric sensibility. He issued records in the 21st century beginning with reissues of The Bellemeade Sessions and Weatherhole, followed by a new recording, Sweetkorn, in 2002 on Germany's Trikont imprint. It was followed by Down in Dublin in 2004. Hurley released two albums for Banhart's Gnomonsong label as well: Ancestral Swamp in 2007 and Ida Con Snock in 2009; the prestigious vinyl-only collectors imprint Mississippi reissued his 1995 album Parsnip Snips that same year, and his 1972 album Hi-Fi Snock Uptown in 2010. ~ John Bush
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Ida Con Snock

1. It Must Be Gelatine

2. Wild Geeses

3. Hog Of The Foresaken

4. I Stole The Right To Live

5. Valley Of Tears

6. Going Steady

7. Hoot Owls

8. Time Is Right

9. I Can't Help Myself

10. Loch Lomond/Molly Malone

11. Ragg Mopp

12. Any Ninny Any

x

Track List: The Ancestral Swamp

1. Knockando

2. Dying Crapshooter's Blues

3. Lonesome Graveyard

4. New River Blues

5. El Dorado

6. 1st Precinct Blues

7. Light Green Fellow

8. Gambling Charley

9. Streets Of Laredo

10. When I Get Back Home

11. She Got A Mathematic

x

Track List: Down In Dublin

1. Goners

2. What I'd Give

3. Rough And Rocky

4. Slurf Song

5. Uncle Smoochface

6. Monkey On The Dual Carriageway

7. Have I Told You Lately

8. Gooseball Brown

9. I Don't Care X 3

10. Pancho And Lefty

11. Whiskey Willy

12. You Got To Say

x

Track List: Sweetkorn

1. Ohio Blues

2. The Rue Of Ruby Whores

3. Barbera Allen

4. The Question

5. Blockade Stillers

6. Edinburgh Lag

7. Negatory Romance

8. Got Over It

9. O My Stars

10. Mona Lisa

11. The End Of The Road

x

Track List: Long Journey

1. Long Journey

2. Portland Water

3. So You Say

4. Reconciled To The Blues

5. You Got To Find Me

6. The 8-Ball Cafe

7. Polynesia

8. Monkey On The Interstate

9. Whiskey Willey

10. Panama Hat

11. Why Should I Have To Worry?

12. The Vt.-Ore. Floor

13. Hog Of The Forsaken

14. In The Garden

15. Watchin' The Show

x

Track List: Hi Fi Snock Uptown

1. Blue Driver

2. Water Train

3. The Sun Is Slowly Sinkin

4. Old Black Crow

5. Twilight Zone

6. I'm Worried, I'm Worried

7. In Florida

8. Mr. Whiskerwits

9. Lilly Pads Upon The Pond

10. Eyes Eyes

11. The Girl I Love

12. Uncle Bob's Corner

13. Rat Face

14. Trindad

x

Track List: Armchair Boogie

1. Werewolf

2. Grand Canyon Line

3. English Noblemen

4. Be Kind To Me

5. Troubled Waters

6. Red Ravagers Reel

7. Sweedeedee

8. Open Up

9. Jocko's Lament

10. Light Green Fellow

11. Get The Best Of Me

12. Biscuit Roller

13. When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano

14. Penguins

x

Track List: First Songs

1. Blue Mountain

2. You Get Down By The Pool Hall Clickety Clack (Sister Song)

3. I Like My Wine

4. No, No, No, I Won't Come (Go) Down No More

5. The Tea Song

6. Just A Bum

7. Raven Rock (They Took Away The Diesel)

8. Fat Mama

9. The Animal Song (If I Could Ramble Like A Hound)

10. Captain Kidd

11. Intersoular Blues

12. The Werewolf Song

x

Track List: Have Moicy!

1. Midnight In Paris

2. Robbin' Banks

3. Slurf Song

4. Jackknife/The Red Newt

5. Griselda

6. What Made My Hamburger Disappear

7. Sweet Lucy

8. Country Bump

9. Fooey Fooey

10. Jealous Daddy's Death Song

11. Driving Wheel

12. Weep Weep Weep

13. Hoodoo Bash

Comments

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Michael Hurley is a genius song writer and singer
Report as inappropriate
ritchiec53
Strange but wonderful. Love the Holy Modal Rounders too.
Report as inappropriate
OMG I can't count high enuf to enumerate his great songs, and the imagery in his songs make me smile and lol more than any other songwriter; and he's an amazing painter to boot!
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progressivev e n t u r e
Why for is the 1995 Album Wolfways omitted from the Discography Above? (I Paint a Design is a Great Song)
Report as inappropriate
In the song Sweet Lucy The man named Harry Hubcaps is my Grandfather
Report as inappropriate
Saw Snock with Peter Stampfel and the Bottlecaps in'78 at Folk City. Roger McGuinn and Loudon Wainwright were in the audience and Peter invited Loudon up to the stage; he sang "Watch Me Rock, I'm Over Thirty".
It was awesome!!
Report as inappropriate
hl-adams
Fell in love with my lady while watching Michael Hurley play at The Laurelthirst in Portland. I sing his songs when I'm pushing a broom, driving my car, beating the streets, cookin' up tortillas. Have Moicy!
Report as inappropriate
this guys not a poser, he's truely weird. it's his universe and i want in! and the title is werewolf and it's a classic!
Report as inappropriate
randre485
Definately check out ARMCHAIR BOOGIE by Michael Hurley. The first cut THE WEARWOLF may put you off but, the rest will make you want it on CD.
Report as inappropriate
Snock rocks!
Report as inappropriate
snock treated me bad on myspace, makes no amends (bonehead), therefore to me he's a little turd that could use a b**ch slap... still the best singer/songw r i t e r in whatever genre he's slotted into by minds must that slot into genres; a cultural treasure.
Report as inappropriate
Snock rules! Check out the Robbin' Banks station -- Jeffrey Frederick was Michael's lifelong buddy and musical co-conspirat o r .
Report as inappropriate
carlinacox
ewww dats my step bros name

Report as inappropriate
I was too busy looking under rocks to find him.
Report as inappropriate
first time i ever heard, listening to Slurf Song now and felt like i should just say I love it. "we fill up our guts and we turn it into sh!t, then we get rid of it" ... =D
Report as inappropriate
tim2912
While the early part of this Biography is accurate enough, Hurley has never been "inactive." If he has "surfaced" to wider attention on the dates your review mentions, I guess he has continued to play and tour underwater-- or more accurately under the radar (his favorite place) his entire life. Since 2000, besides touring and recording internationa l l y , he has contributed music to movie (eg Ethan Hawk's Hamlet) and TV (eg Deadwood) soundtracks, and been credited by knowledgeabl e critics as the o
Report as inappropriate
susankane46
red newts oh come to henry street to the salamander crossing
Report as inappropriate
jbart900
Hurley is out there, knockin out the picture of a life. Uncle SmoochFace doesn't care. And I'm so damn glad.
Report as inappropriate
funkysh
O love you Snock !!!

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