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Hopes four bands will inspire revival of Tama’s 70s’ 3rd Street music scene

To Benefit Aspiring Young Miusicians

February 11, 2014
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Planned During LHB

Festival In May

By John Speer

Article Photos

Jillianna Barrett and Tim Murphy
News-Herald/John Speer


Tim Murphy, became a part of live music performed in downtown Tama taverns in the 1970s. He is now expanding what he hopes will revive some of those days. Murphy has been the lead organizer in the "The Real Deal," a tribute to Tama musician Mike Real who died in 2011. Those events were held during the Lincoln Highway Bridge Festival at the Eagles Club in 2012 and at the VFW Club in 2013.

Fact Box

To write book about Tama's 3rd street music

Along with the Real-Lawson tribute event, Jillianna Barrett has plans for a book about the downtown Tama 3rd Street music scene.

She is seeking photos from the era and asks for anyone with photos or memories to contact her - email: - Many World Stories In., 250 Driftwood Lane, Murray, Ky. 42071. (You may also contact the News-Herald office to share photos with Barrett.)

Many World Stories is a non-profit which has focused on aiding youth in developing countries.

Barrett has been here researching a book about 3rd Street music.

This year Murphy plans the "The Real Deal"- Bring Our Music Back - on May 17, with four bands playing at the Eagle's Club. It will be the Saturday night of the 35th annual Lincoln Highway Bridge Festival.

With his close friend and companion, Jillianna Barrett, this year's event is aimed at expanding the tribute so more local young people will be afforded the opportunity to be exposed to musical training.

Proceeds from the 2013 The Real Deal has paid for some nine months of vocal lessons from Dolores Harris, Toledo, for a young Tama girl who might otherwise not have been able to afford them.

Barrett, a professional grant writer and fundraiser with 20 years experience, has encouraged Murphy to obtain non-profit status, seek sponsorships and develop the "3rd Street Music Inspiration, Inc." event.

Tim Murphy is president of the nono-profit and board members include JohnLukehart, Marshallotwn, Clyde Purk, Tama, Jeremiah Murphy, Cedar rapids and Craig Mann, Toledo.

With this, Murphy says the plan is to expand the Doc Lawson and Mike Real Scholarship Fund to pay for music lessons for more area youth in need.

To learn more about sponsorship of The Real Deal contatc Murphy at 573-231-1016 or email: .

The late Doc Lawson, of Marshalltown, was another musician often involved in the Tama music scene, Murphy said.

Murphy says it was "the characters" which made it great. "Mike and I talked of the people who came to 3rd Street- that's what made the sound. The characters who you have in town. it' the whole flavor of the town," Murphy said.

Bands scheduled for May 17 include The Fez, a Steely Dan tribute band from Cedar Rapids-Iowa City, Legacy- Blockers and Cranberry Jam, both of Tama and Accidental Brothers.

He said he owed Kresl Music Store in Tama money for a set of drums and was told to "get out and play with the bands." He toured win Canada with a band which included Mike Real, from Oregon and who had been in Nashville, Tenn.

Murphy got his start playing in Tama with Real in a tavern called the Red Door (for long-time residents it was variously known as Benda's Tavern and the Zoo. It now is Aqu te espersa.) located in the 200 block of West 3rd.

Real went on to form the 3rd street Band, one of several different groups he played in up until his death.

Murphy also recalls playing with his father's group, Doc Murphy's Dixieland Band at the Gaslight Club in the 100 block of East 3rd.

Murphy, a 1970 South Tama High School graduate, lives in Hanibal, Mo. He has been a "flint knapper" full-tile since 1995. His mother and husband Betty and Ben Bernardi live in Tama as do two of his brothers, Joe and Tom.



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