Musician gets 'life story' guitar back after 7 years

17:00, Aug 11 2014
Dave Murphy
BLUES BROTHERS: Dave Murphy, left, plays the guitar that was stolen from him, and bought several years later by fellow musician Rob Joass, who has now returned it to him.

It could be a tale from a blues cliche - except this story of love lost has a happy ending.

Wellington bluesman Dave Murphy had his prized Dobro resonator guitar stolen seven years ago.

Then, about two years ago, fellow Wellington muso Rob Joass unwittingly bought it from a reputable "friend of a friend" who had bought it at a deceased estate auction a couple of years earlier.

"The price was a very reasonable $1200 and I snapped it up," Joass said. "I used the guitar live occasionally, and it featured on a Shot Band recording and video with the wonderful Katie Thompson last year to promote a national tour we did."

On that tour they played a house concert in Wellington. "I was playing the Dobro, and Dave Murphy, sitting front row, was obviously giving it a very close look. When we took a break he asked to have a closer look, and then told me a story."

It turned out it was the same guitar stolen from Murphy seven years ago - a prized treasure he had saved and hunted for as a young man and eventually tracked down in a Perth guitar shop.

To Joass, there was no question Murphy should get the guitar back. "I have had a couple of guitars stolen, and I know what kind of a hole it can leave. To me it is a beautiful guitar, but for Dave, it's part of his life story."

Joass, whose income comes solely from music, could not afford to take the $1200 hit by simply handing the guitar back to Murphy. That is when mutual friend Dougal Spier hatched the plan to do a benefit gig. On Saturday night a group of Wellington musicians - including Joass and Murphy - got together for the gig, raising enough to get Joass a replacement guitar, while returning the original to Murphy. To even up matters, Murphy handed Joass a replacement resonator guitar.

This Saturday, Joass is releasing his solo album, Black and White, at Thunderbird Cafe in Featherston St He plans to take his new resonator guitar out for its initial performance then


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