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Murphyland

The Elliott Murphy Newsletter

March 2021

Elliott Murphy - Photograph by François Richard

Elliott Murphy - François Richard

March 10, 2021

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

When William Shakespeare wrote - “All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players” – could he have imagined the year of 2021 where very few stages are open and us players are sitting in front of the TV, guitar in hand, with no place to go? Well, actually he might have, as he was born in 1564, just a few months before the bubonic plague swept across England and killed a quarter of the people in his hometown. Two of his siblings were lost to the disease of which contemporary doctors knew next to nothing about its cause or prevention. Later, just before opening his play Romeo and Juliet, theatres in London were closed for 14 months and 10,000 Londoners died. Everything changes and everything stays the same …

The good news is that now it seems we see that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel – COVID 19 vaccines are starting to make the rounds and cases and deaths are down. The most perplexing article I’ve read about the virus lately was about why some very poor countries with dismal health care systems and virtually no social distancing such as Indian and Nigeria have a much lower death rate then western Europe or America. What’s up with that? My theory (which is based on absolutely no scientific basis at all) is that diabetes, obesity and other lifestyle diseases, which are contributing factors to the severity of the COVID virus, are not as prevalent in those poor countries where it’s a struggle merely to get enough to eat. Maybe someone, a lot smarter than me, will find out that there is a relationship with lifestyle, stress and our immune systems.

But what does this have to do with live music and the joy of the communal experience we all share therein? Rock ‘n roll, blues, country and jazz started in small clubs and as they grew more popular moved up to theatres and ballrooms but then even theatres were not big enough to hold the enormous crowds and that’s when live music decided to take the professional sports route and began filling arenas and eventually stadiums. I remember when the Beatles played at Shea Stadium in NYC, the home of the Mets Baseball team and this was (excuse the pun) a game changer. The sound is these arenas were generally terrible as they were not built with acoustics in mind but now I hear that new stadiums are designed more with live concert in mind that football games. Where to go from here?

Speaking for myself, I’ve always felt most comfortable in large club and small theatres. Somewhere in the 500 – 1500 range with a stage not so high that I can’t get close to the fans in the front row. I like the audience to be able to stand up and move if they so choose even if there are seats. I’ve never had to design a touring show for arena sized venues of 20,000 folks with large overhead video screens, amazing lighting effects and supersonic sound. Perhaps this is my destiny and I’m OK with that. But if I did ever have the opportunity to mount such a tour, my priority in terms of the visual would be to have the lyrics to the songs that were being performed displayed on those huge screens in many languages simultaneously. That’ a dream of mine … who knows?

Most of my upcoming shows have been moved to autumn 2021 and I hope they will stay there after being moved around all year long. To help ease the pain of these last few months (I hope) of lessened social activity and more time spent home we have reduced the price on two of my short story collections, Paris Stories and Garden City Stories, to 10€ each instead of €15. You can find them both, along with lots of other stuff, in the official website store. Been working on a Corona novel with my Spanish translator Peter Redwhite which shifts time and place in a way that Shakespeare would have appreciated. Stay healthy - see you down the road - and to end on a Shakespearian note: It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.

Best regards,

The "On and On with Elliott" Download Series Continues with Live in Caen 1983

For March we have a live show recorded in Caen, France on January 13, 1983 at the Concorde. It features Elliott on Vocals, Electric Guitar and Harmonica; Ernie Brooks on Bass Guitar and Backing Vocals and Jesse Chamberlain on Drums. It's available as high quality MP3 files or CD quality FLAC files.

Elliott’s memory – "I remember this day because after the show the band went to a restaurant to eat and in that restaurant was my future (and current) wife Françoise who was sitting at a nearby table. She was on tour with a group of actors and luckily one of them recognized me and we started talking. I’m sure I was in a good mood because the show had gone really well, Ernie, Jesse and I were really at the top of our game and not one mistake that I can hear in these 17 songs. Thanks so much to Yves Surlemont for sharing this recording with us."

Track List:

1. Talkin’ About America
2. Off The Shelf
3. Baby I’ve Been Thinkin’
4. Cool Panic
5. Dusty Roses
6. Hollywood
7. Last Of The Rock Stars
8. Calling On Cathleen
9. Rock Ballad
10. You Got It Made
11. Just A Story From America
12. Anastasia
13. Band Intro
14. Continental Kinda Girl
15. Drive All Night
16. Diamonds by the Yard
17. The Fall of Saigon

These downloads are free, but if you enjoy them and want to help with some of the expenses, we are suggesting a donation of 5€ for the MP3 download and 8€ for the FLAC files.

Visit the Elliott Murphy website to download the show.

Elliott Murphy Store

Book Sale in the Store!

This month we're offering two of Elliott's most popular books in the store for the low price of just 10€. Paris Stories and Garden City Stories, two collections of short stories will be on sale until the end of April.

Here's all you need to get your discount. Visit the Store and select the books you want. At checkout time just enter this special coupon code to receive yourdiscount: ShortStories. You can use this coupon code as many times as you like. If you don't have either of these books in your collection, now's the time. Please note that the special price applies to the books in your shopping cart but does not apply to shipping.

From the Archives

Night Lights was an important album for Elliott. His second album on RCA (third in total), it was  produced by Steve Katz and recorded at Electric Lady Studio. It was reviewed by Dave Marsh in Rolling Stone where he wrote, “In 1973 and 1974 it seemed to many of us in New York that it was a tossup whether Bruce Springsteen, the native poet of the mean streets, or Elliott Murphy, the slumming suburbanite with the ironic eye would became a national hero.” The album featured guest appearances by fellow Long Island native Billy Joel and former Velvet Underground member Doug Yule. The cover photo of Elliott standing in Times Square early one Sunday Morning was taken by photographer Michael Dakota and stylised by Steven Meisel. This full page ad in Rolling Stone shows that RCA took Elliott and the album seriously, giving it a major promotional push.

Elliott remembers - "The genius behind this shot was Steven Meisel who was my friend at the time. Steven had been reading Vogue Magazine since he was 10 and knew everything about fashion and models. He dressed me for the cover and did my makeup which I really needed because we shot it early Sunday morning on Times Square in New York City and I was exhausted. The streets were deserted and photographer Michael Dakota was able to shoot all he wanted just by dodging the occasional truck rumbling down 42nd Street. I knew that this would be my New York album and so I wanted something that would show the city. Of course, now Times Square looks completely different – before it was porn theatres and now its like Disneyland for tourists. I kind of miss the old days."

photo by Francea

Tour Dates

IMPORTANT: In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and new regulations in France and all over Europe these dates are subject to change. We have provided the latest information that we have for the shows below. Visit the Elliott Murphy website for the most up to date information, venue and ticket links.

June 2021

June 12 - Band Show
Jarnioux Festival
Jarnioux, France

June 15 - Trio Show
Salute Him When His Birthday Comes - Bob Dylan Tribute
Bleiche Sessions
Wald/Zurich, Switzlerand

June 17 - Trio Show
Salute Him When His Birthday Comes - Bob Dylan Tribute
Casino Bern
Bern, Switzlerand

October 2021

October 15 - Band Show
Spirit of 66
Verviers, Belgium

October 22 - Trio Show
L'Embarcadère
Montluçon, France

NEW DATE: October 29 - Band Show
Annual Birthday Show
New Morning
Paris, France

NEW DATE: October 30 - Band Show
Annual Birthday Show
New Morning
Paris, France

June 2022

NEW DATE: June 23 - Band Show
Blacksheep Festival
Heilbronn, Germany

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