August 01, 1988 12:00 PM

Michael Martin Murphey

Maybe at 43, Murphey is just getting his second wind. Maybe somebody just nudged him along a little. Wherever the impetus came from, this lively country pop album reflects an energy boost. Where his previous records often sagged, this one tumbles along engagingly, thanks to such punchy tracks as The Running Blood, written by Murphey and David Hoffner, and Still Got the Fire by Murphey and Steve Gibson. For the sentimentalists, Murphey wrote and duets with his son Ryan, 17, on the clever Talking to the Wrong Man—in which dad and offspring confess their mutual lack of understanding of the opposite sex—and What Am I Doin’ Hanging Around, a Murphey song that nicely celebrates the stubbornness of the romantic impulse (it was a hit for the old Monkees). It’s too bad Murphey and his producers, Gibson and Jim Ed Norman, didn’t come up with an equivalent to the duet with Holly Dunn that was the highlight of M.M.M.’s previous LP, Americana, but they’ve provided more than enough compensation. (Warner Bros.)

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