New Rose Records

Record Details

Elliott Murphy - 12

Elliott Murphy’s twelfth album, released originally as a double LP in 1990.


  1. The Loser -:-- / 6:54
  2. Sicily (Tropic Of Separation) -:-- / 3:35
  3. Sacrifice -:-- / 3:44
  4. The Malady & The Medicine -:-- / 3:51
  5. Destiny -:-- / 3:34
  6. On Elvis Presley’s Birthday -:-- / 3:28
  7. Greetings From Sydney -:-- / 3:12
  8. The Price I Pay -:-- / 2:26
  9. The Epicenter -:-- / 3:57
  10. Mr. Coffee -:-- / 3:50
  11. No I… I Couldn’t Touch You -:-- / 3:24
  12. Automatic Erotic -:-- / 3:23
  13. All The Way From Tokyo -:-- / 1:26
  14. Bilingual Lover -:-- / 4:31
  15. All That Money Can Do -:-- / 5:19
  16. You’re Gonna Chase Love Away [Max’s Kansas City] -:-- / 4:48
  17. The Dolly Sisters -:-- / 3:02
  18. Sad After Sex -:-- / 1:10
  19. Something Like Steve McQueen -:-- / 4:24
  20. Where Is My Baby? -:-- / 3:37
  21. Let It Rain -:-- / 4:45


Words and music by Elliott Murphy

I was looking for the answer like some fairy tale
Somebody said there’s a man here
And all his life he has just failed
You only learn from the losers – Of this I am sure
And as I walked down his old street
I heard him talking as I knocked on his door

How do I know that I’m no dreaming
How do I know this is for real
And that my destiny has not already been written
Or that my fate has been sealed – been sealed

I said my life is like a straight line
No that’s not true at all
Its more like a series of accidents
And into each situation I fall
Man I get so tired of thinking
I’m like a dog whose watching TV
Because I know something is happening here
But I don’t know what’s happening to me

Take one thing that you are sure of
You can be sure that one thing will be taken away
Everything is on loan here – There are no owners
It all came to pass not to stay – Not to stay

Try to accept that you’ll keep searching
That’s the thing you will do for most of your life
And all these answers – they just don’t exist here
Here lives the questions
And they rule your life

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Words and Music by Elliott Murphy

I was in Sicily reading Henry Miller
You were in New York City you were getting thinner
I was in discos I was listening to Madonna
You were in sweat clothes looking like Jane Fonda
One day I called you because I couldn’t resist
It cost me eighty bucks I don’t think it was worth it
This is the last thing I expected to be
A broken hearted troubadour in sunny Sicily

The night was raining and my window was stuck
My driver took the shore roads to avoid the heavy trucks
While he was telling me about the Mafia
I was thinking ‘bout our wedding what the marriage done to you
Feeling so lonely my esteem so low
Find myself in Italy I’m singing in a disco
This is the last thing I wanted to be
A broken hearted troubadour in sunny Sicily

Looking out my window I see the stars above
I’m closer to Tunisia than to anyone I love
I’ve seen the ruins of the Romans and the Greeks
Compared to my own empire they really look so neat
Some say my songs are long and over complicated
But they’re very personal I say they’re underrated
This is the last thing I expected to be
A broken hearted troubadour in sunny Sicily

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Words and music by Elliott Murphy

Sitting in a cafe watching girls walk by
Watching the sun break through the cloudy autumn sky
I can’t think of anyone – no power or design
Except to lie inside your loving arms one more times
She said if we could live in paradise
Oh wouldn’t that be nice
But the name of the game is sacrifice

Drink a cup of coffee buy a loaf of bread
Try to do a little work to nullify my head
All I can accomplish like another grain of sand
It can all be washed away by a wave of fate’s hand
Still I try not to exaggerate the pain of my life because the name of the game is sacrifice

On TV was a petty thief shot by the police
He came to in Las Vegas in a Penthouse suite
He had a magic butler gave him all that he desired
A feast of wine and women till his passions were expired
He couldn’t understand how a crook like him
Had died and gone to heaven when his life was full of sin
But when he shot pool and every ball quickly fell
He saw his butler was the devil and his penthouse was in hell

Life goes round like a washing machine
Maybe to live is getting dirty maybe to die is getting clean
To win a war may be impossible – the battle never ends
Life and death and birth and love you feel all that you can
In the land of china everybody’s eating rice
And in Tianamen Square it’s just another sacrifice

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Words and music by Elliott Murphy

Baby come quick your man is sick
Baby come here don’t bring a glass of beer
You are my medicine
You are my malady
You are the illness you are the cure

The fever don’t stop when you man is hot
I better lie down try not to make a sound
I get dizzy with a moment of doubt
All I need is the touch of your mouth

I find my freedom inside your prison
Sha la la la la – sha la la la la

You can’t fight it – that’s for sure
You can close your eyes
You can’t close the door
I get excited at the sound of your voice
I get bewildered
But I have no choice


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Words by Elliott Murphy & Ernie Brooks
Music by Elliott Murphy

Standing on a mountain my words like a fountain
Come on and talk to me
We could be much clearer if you’d only come nearer
Oh baby can’t you see
She said I don’t wanna hear it
Don’t you pull me near it
Your male fantasy
Now my point you’re missing
Like the first time we were kissing
That’s destiny
Oh destiny – oh destiny

Two feet in the ocean sometimes a great notion comes over me
But when my thoughts are clear
And what once was fear is now just poetry
Thought I was romantic cause I crossed the Atlantic
It didn’t change the tide
Because it’s a different story in the search for love and glory
There’s no place left to hide
Oh destiny – oh destiny

She said come here cowboy take off your cowboy hat
I’ll be your dog you can caress my cat
Ba …I like it like that

Like the turning of the season we must accept there is no reason
We didn’t draw the map
Of the emptiness of space where even parallels embrace
We feel our logic snap
Now slow down Ernie on your Einstein Journey
Your ivory tower rap
Makes my bleeding heart rejoice
Thinking we got a choice – But oh its just a lot of crap
Oh destiny

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I can’t say that I love this place where I live
This particular geographic location
But I’ve grown use to it and now I miss it when I’m away
Of course, when I was a child my father would take me with him
Down to the bowery where the bums were
And in the restaurant supply stores
He would buy shiny steel refrigerators and deadly looking stoves
While I begged him to take me to the army navy surplus stores on canal street
To buy some big dead bullets

He wore a short corduroy jacket, an informal hat with a puff of feather
And he talked with his hands in his pants pockets jangling change

Driving in his Cadillac it was Elvis Presley’s birthday
They said it on the radio and my father liked Elvis
And it was wonderful – it was wonderful
We drove through the black neighborhoods on Long Island’s north shore when Elvis was alive

My father was from Brooklyn and the depression left its mark
From picking up coal on the railroad tracks
He didn’t have a good word to say about Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Later, I liked elegant hotel bars
Where I could drink under F. Scott Fitzgerald skies
The coolest of the cool
Never a child on Elvis Presley’s birthday
My dead father jangling change

This is an unreal city
You can be anybody you want to be
When you’re alone

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Words and Music by Elliott Murphy

Yesterday man that’s far away thinking about you anyway
Greetings from Sydney

On the road that’s not such a heavy load
Just the kind of job I chose greetings from Sydney
Telephone a color TV hotel room
So I don’t feel too much alone
Oh yeah there’s gotta be a shower

Bring some sounds along
Rubber soul Beatles songs
And listening to the Rolling Stones
Singing Sister Morphine

The high life was pretty as a switchblade knife
Flip it open once or twice you’re gonna cut yourself
But those years are gone
And I learned how to get along
Even living with anxiety
That’s a better deal for me

I’ve seen it all
And I’ve seen it twice
Chances are if you ask for advice
You’re gonna get it

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Words and music by Elliott Murphy

Well I’ve been staring at this light bulb for over a week
My eyes are burning and my legs are weak
But that’s the price I pay for being a loner
Well I could make a call tomorrow
Say that I’m coming home
I’m sorry baby I don’t know who to phone
But that’s the price I pay for being a loser

Each night I’m dreaming my sheets soaking wet
Faces from the past that I’d rather forget
I dream of Elvis I dream of King Kong
It gets more exaggerated the further I get along
But that’s the price I pay for my imagination

I been starting at strange women who I’ll never meet
Undress them in my mind from their head to their feet
But that’s the price I pay for my obsession
Well you can make it if you want it
You can get it if you try
You can climb up any mountain if you’re not afraid to die
Or that’s the price you’ll pay for your anxiety
That’s the price you’ll pay for your notoriety
That’s the price I pay for my humanity

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Words and Music by Elliott Murphy

It’s where the women are naked and the men are rich
Give me all your money you filthy son of a bitch
Give me cocaine, old cash, hot cunt and pink champagne
Jam the electrodes in my skull
Now that I’m completely insane
This is the epicenter baby
This is where everything peaks
This is the epicenter baby where worlds collide as they meet
And if you don’t like it
What is wrong with you?
You got a conscience or something
Hey man, that’s all through
I live in 15-minute segments
And then I got to move
I live from meal to meal
I move from room to room
The age of history is over
Welcome to the age of glitter and gloom
This is the perfect time for me I’m always late and I arrive too son


You try and write it down and the sunscreen smears your words
Nobody gives a shit no matter what you’ve heard
And that’s just fine with me I’m a truly selfish man
I cannot live with myself but I do the best I can
I see two fat slobs talking about real estate
They bring out the worst in me
As I resent and I hate
And if I stay long enough we’ll probably end up friends
Send our children to the same school
Does this crap ever end?


Who am I to collect these thoughts who am I to judge
When I start looking down I get so fucked up
You’re a reflection baby of everything about me
This world is just a movie set you are what you see

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Words by Elliott Murphy & Ernie Brooks
Music by Elliott Murphy

I drink Mr. Coffee
I breakfast with Mr. Blue
I gotta a lot of names
For missing you

Some sweet dreams some sunny day
Oh jet stream take me far away

Hello Mr. Moses
I’m on the outside too
Can’t seem to enter the promised land
No matter what I do


War of attrition my nerves are shot
Love’s malnutrition – That’s what I got


The trains are running
Tiny tiny drops
The poison does it work
Its in my veins now
Cold shadows lurk

Jealousy the green eyed monster that mocks the meat it feeds on

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Words and Music by Elliott Murphy

See the couples on the avenue – Thinking bout me and you
What’s to come in the morning light
Although I tried with all my might
I couldn’t touch you baby
I couldn’t make a dent
No I, I couldn’t touch you baby

In the middle of the afternoon
Thinking loves never comes too soon
You could try so hard to get it up
But as hard as I try no I couldn’t touch you

You’re not that kind of girl
Its not so easy – to make your place in this world
Tell me, love me

Footsteps in the middle of the night
Go past my door and up another flight
Extra blankets I’ve got to fold
My bed is clean but it’s so cold
Little girls they’re all dressed up

Little boys they act so tough
Hear the clock as it goes tick took
I pick up my guitar cause its time to rock


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Words and music by Elliott Murphy and Ernie Brooks

See her he’s walking right behind her
He’s thinking it was five long years ago
Somewhere in Paris somewhere in the snow
He said listen there’s some things I gotta take care of
But there’s one thing you just gotta be aware of
Pay attention what I told you
Cause I’m coming back to hold you in my time
I know when it is my time
We’re flying like two birds caught in the wind
The current is heavy and we don’t have to swim
And I could take it just a little bit longer
And I could take it as I wanted now I’m fearless and undaunted

You were there when I was lost there’s so many lights to blind you
Hey man fuck the cost I knew I was gonna find you
We’ll rewrite history mystery put it behind you

That’s it that’s the way our lives fit
Don’t you see what chemistry can do
After all we’ve been through
I just keep on getting stronger
I don’t have to wait any longer
I can’t wait another minute gonna take it to the limit
I admit that I am in it and if I’m in it gonna win it
Because I don’t see any limit we’re in it and we’ll win it
See her

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Words and Music by Elliott Murphy

All the way from Tokyo
Little Honda go go go
JVC what you done to me
Sony Sony

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Words and Music by Elliott Murphy

Don’t forget that I am the man
Who came back here for you
Don’t forget that I am the man’
Who could never ever be true
Don’t forget when you’re all alone
To tell your troubles too

I am the girl who was lost and found
I am the girl born in the butter
I am the girl who rises to the top
I am your bilingual love

Autumn and spring the weekend nights
the grand grand boulevards
I look at you you shake your heads
It’s not that hard
When you’re lying in bed
You read Virginia Wolf – I look at magazines of cars

A country girl it’s hard to believe it
See the way she walks I believe it
Hear the way she talks and I need it I need it I need it

After all do we really express so little of what we feel
To anyone else of anything else – it’s just a matter of what we make real
A question of luck of timing too – Of cutting your best deal


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Words and Music by Elliott Murphy and Ernie Brooks

And I know that you’ll go – It’s just a question of time
To define what’s really mine – And what’s left at the end of the line
All that money can do – All that money can do
But it will never bring me back to you – Bring me back to you

His eyes were open – Like the prodigal son
When he walked on the water – He drowned when he started to run
And I know these feelings come and go – It’s just a question of time
The answer’s that you’ll find
It doesn’t mean that life’s unkind


When the deserts are open – To the ships of the sea
When the dead men wear diamonds – For all the world to see

It feels so nice – Maybe once or twice – Just the roll of the dice
You never took my advice – So say a prayer – If you dare
And remember that I cared – For all we could have shared

All that money can do – On what money can do
And it will never bring me back to you – Bring me back to you
His eyes were closing – Under the weight of fatigue
He had seen what he wanted
But he was blind to what he needs
And my arms were broken – From climbing the rocks
And when I started to turn back
I found that I could not

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© 1989 Elliott Murphy / Ernie Brooks

Max’s Kansas City – So many years ago
You always lost the umbrella – It didn’t rain but it sure did snow
Catch a glimpse of Andy Warhol – Walking his dogs downtown
When he talked everybody listened – Although he rarely made a sound
And as for me I never stopped talking – It’s all I knew how to do
So when it hit me – I never heard it coming – The first time I listened to you

You’re gonna chase love away – You’re gonna be by yourself
You’ll be looking for your lover – And he’ll be with somebody else

The Seventies – Oh so such a strange time – No one knew what to do
With the children of the sixties – It didn’t’ matter what they’ve been through
So come on we’ll build our own world – And shut the door so tight
Now everything is in color baby – But we always preferred black and white
Well of course there were other reasons – It’s so complicated now
I watched you put on your makeup for hours and hours – ‘Though we hardly ever left the house

You’re gonna chase love away – You’re gonna be by yourself
You’ll be looking for your lover – And he’ll be with somebody else
And you’ll be wondering why – You’ll be asking all your friends
But their advice and good suggestions – Your obsession just won’t end

I thank God I’m not the man I use to be
‘Cause looking in the mirror can make you blind you see
We were lost in our own fantasy
It hurts to let go – Until you’re finally free

You’re gonna chase love away – You’re gonna be by yourself
You’ll be looking for your lover – And he’ll be with somebody else
And you’ll be wondering why – You’ll be asking your friends
But their advice and good suggestions – Your obsession just won’t end – And you’ll be cursing the sky – Can’t take your eyes off the ground – You’ll be looking for excuses – When there’s no blame to be found – You’re gonna chase love away…

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Words and Music by Elliott Murphy

Down and out twist and turn
Still so much this boy must learn
Here’s a story of lust and greed
Passion that’s gone to seed

They were sisters in every way
All men were actors in their play
The posed for paintings in their low cut gowns
They were the toast of the town

Paris in the twenties before the fall
On the Riviera the Dolly sister had it all
Sleeping with white Russians and painters too
All you can imagine the Dolly Sisters did times two

They lived on Champagne and Foie Gras
Their favorite recipe was ménage a trios
Eventually they got a taste for Berlin
Gluttony of sin

Dissolution time takes its toll
Wasted spirits decline of the soul
No more admirers when flesh starts to sag
See they now they’re two old hags

There you have it – the end of the tale
I’m not telling you to search for the grail
But follow pleasure and go all the way
Oh the price you’ll pay
Like the Dolly sisters would say
Feels so good I’ll do it anyway

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Words and Music by Elliott Murphy

My few words so easily spoken
Can’t change a lifetime of your heart being broken
Don’t worry baby everything is OK
It came to pass not to stay
half this world is organic
The other half is au naturel
But sometimes I prefer nylon instead of wool

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Words and Music by Elliott Murphy

When you climb up that mountain – Don’t jump off of that cliff
Think how much you’d be missing – And oh how much you’d be missed
The crowd is cheering now – They want to see your blood
But you can’t hear them now – You’re too far above love
Now listen to me – There’s a moon on Gibraltar
Brighter than any sun – shining on a desert of water
You can swim but you just can’t run
The crowd is waiting now
Hear them hold their breath
There’s no wedding anyhow
I watch the bride get undressed

No all these years of keeping it in
and keep your secrets clean
But one of these day I’m gonna explode
And you’ll know what I mean
Something like Steve McQueen

There’s a face in the future a memory in the mist
No matter how bad things turn out
Don’t you ever regret that first kiss

The crowd is leaving now
They’ve had their fill
You gave your pound of flesh
But never your will
The waters are rising now
You’re barred from Noah’s ark
There’s no room for a single now
Your love is so far apart

Now I don’t know if all that’s true
But you know what I mean
One of these days I ‘m gonna explode
From all these things I’ve see
Something like Steve McQueen

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Words and Music by Elliott Murphy

Oh where is my baby
She’s gone down to the valley
Where the cars move so slowly
Where the people never go
See the lot where the children play
See the sky its ashen gray
Will the sun return some day
And will the people ever know
Oh where is my baby

Oh where is my sweet life
All my dreams of Paradise
Everything seems to be to be trapped in ice
Will my river ever flow

Oh where is my baby

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Words and Music by Elliott Murphy

Ever since I was a child my manner described as mild
It was always to late to try and estimate
The force of the hurricane blowing in my head
Till the water was rising and the winds so strong
It blew me someplace I didn’t belong
One day I woke up wishing I was dead
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah.

The next chapter of the story is about going for the glory
About forgetting the truth because once the truth gets loose
Like putting toothpaste back in the tube
Jack cover your tracks here’s Johnny bloody ax
And you can’t slow down the tears of a clown
Till you stop and let it catch up to you
Oh yeah – oh yeah – Oh yeah

So let it rain oh yeah
Let it rain oh yeah

When I started this song I was already gone
Past Jack Kennedy and the force of destiny
Gonna take you down to Dallas some day
From the line of duty to the line of fire
His face so stoic you gotta admire
But wait what am I trying to say
Oh yeah – Oh Yeah – Oh Yeah

As it was in the beginning – Nothing new under the sun
From the deepest darkest ocean – The circus has begun

Now when I see my child moving in your womb
It’s more inspiring than any pharaoh’s tomb
It lifts me up right out of my head
I believe in love – I believe in birth
I believe in giving something back to the earth
And I believe in god by the way – So let it rain..

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In another life I was a soldier
They plunge the bayonet deep within my heart
Now that would has been reopened
Back to love – the deadliest of the arts

In the heat of the moment
In the fire of the night
He said he never felt so lonely
And he never felt so right

Come to me in the blackness my darling
Come to the end of the earth
Taste the fruits of loss and desire
Find out what its worth
Once upon a time the story is over
We set our hearts watching the beat of the clock
He said to her this afternoon is over
She said to him I’ve been around the block

In the cool of the evening
In the frost of the first light
He said I never felt so happy
He said he never felt such fright


You go where I go and you say what I say
You know what I know and we try to go slow
We take the long way we’re both in the same play


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All songs © 1989 Eljamur Music / Warner Chappell Music
Lyrics Reprinted by Permission

New Rose Records

Produced by Elliott Murphy, Roger Robindore & Ernie Brooks
Recorded at the Studio of the Three Brothers, Paris & Sweet Life, Lausanne.
Thanks to all the Massee family

Elliott Murphy: Guitar, harmonica, vocals, drums
Ernie Brooks: Bass, backing vocals
Roger Robindore: backing vocals, bongoes, rainmaker, drums
Tony Machine: drums
Art Labriola: Keyboards
Nora York: backing vocals
Benoit Urbain: Accordion
William Schott: Cello; Michael Bandenberghe: Bass,
François Tiset: guitar, Eric Navet: drums

Record By Record, Murphy By Murphy: 12

The concept for 12 was to write all the songs and record them in one place at one time very live. I had just moved to Paris and was so excited about being here that my energy level was very high. Everything was recorded in the loft I was renting near Bastille. All the performances went directly to DAT – no mixing and all the vocals were live as well. We shot the cover on Ille St. Louis. Some say it’s my best album but I think it was an important turning point in my development as an artist. My son Gaspard was born at the same time. “Let it Rain” might be my favorite track. Ernie found this incredible sound engineer Roger Robindore who handled the daunting technical hurdles of this album. My last vinyl release before CDs took over the world and “On Elvis Presley’s Birthday” was my farewell to my father who had died many years before.

Taken from Crossroads magazine.

About The Cover – “The Best Ice Cream In Paris”

The photo was taken on the Ile St. Louis in Paris. When I first started playing Paris I would stay in the Hotel Lutece there. The Ile St. Louis is famous for all the Americans who live there (the author William Styron lived there in the 50’s) and also for having the best ice cream in Paris at Chez Berthillon. I like how the cobbelstones which are hundreds of years old shine in this great black and white shot. Is it my first cover wearing a hat? Maybe…

Liner Notes

12 was recorded direct to a Panasonic Portable DAT recorder using a Tascam and Soundcraft mixing consoles. Aside from natural room ambiance, minimal reverb was added utilizing an Alesis Quadraverb & Arts Multiverb. My guitars were a steel stringed Guild Songbird and Gibson Chet Atkins (Nylon) recorded direct and with Beyer Dynamic Mics. Ernie’s bass was a Guild acoustic and Steinberg electric. Drums were recorded live and with a Roland R5 rhythm composer. Keyboard was Korg M1. Vocals were recorded with Neumann U-47 and U-67 tube mics courtesy of Roger Robindore. Nobody wore headphones and, of course, there were no overdubs.

What I wanted was to do the equivalent of a double album with a simple yet provocative production. An album of songs and voices and rhythm guitar joined by user friendly instruments. No new sounds. Thank God Ernie Brooks was also living in Paris and that he turned mo on to Roger Robindore. Without the enormous contribution of these two talented men this would have been…I don’t know.

I doubt if anyone but me can listen to all of this in one setting. Its like a book of short stories – give them time to digest one by one. The sequence (with one or two exceptions) is in the order in which they were recorded and most songs were written or finished in the last year 1989-90. Therein lies the concept of this album: there is truth and fantasy, none less real than the other and one man’s life story occasionally augmented by that of a friend’s both similar and opposite journey.

I can track the beginnings of this album to a lonely and lovely seaside hotel in Sicily where I burned on the sand and dined in a disco and was saved by opera under the stars in the ancient city of Taormina. Or at least that’s how the movie might begin…but I left with both “Sicily” and “The Price I Pay” and soon opened the door to Paris and sat in the corner of a day bed writing “The Loser” and thinking of carpenters.

Of course, many seeds had been planted in the USA before I lickety split for the old world: “Destiny,” “Eliza,” “Let It Rain,” “I Couldn’t Touch You” and “Something Like Steve Mcqueen” (born in Brooklyn with Ralph Schuckett) were began on Park Avenue South in Manhattan or on rainy Sag Harbor weekends on Long Island in June of 89. Like any immigrants bulging bags I brought these to Paris where Ernie helped me finish up.

Once I met Francoise it wasn’t long before “The Malady And The Medicine,” “Bilingual Lover” and “Automatic Erotic” followed. “Where Is My Baby” was a riff played during a soundcheck in Brittany which Ernie remembered to have me remember while I gazed at disturbing photos of the children of Rumania.

In the autumn of 1989 Ernie and I got into a nice rhythm of afternoon songwriting and “All That Money Can Do,” “Mr Coffee” and “Sacrifice” found their way home. “All The Way From Tokyo” and “Sad After Sex” are examples of automatic songwriting. I recorded the latter while Françoise was sleeping – that’s why its so soft.

“Epicenter” was written on the Riviera where I went to visit my brother Matthew. “Greetings From Sydney” was a postcard from Jay Dee Daughtery when he was down under – now its a song. “Sunflower” jumps on the Van Gogh Bandwagon (sort of). “You’re Gonna Chase Love Away” came from 70’s memories of Max’s Kansas City bar in NYC. “The Spider And The Honey” is as close to jazz as I get, likewise “Mr. Coffee.”

“The Dolly Sisters” was inspired by a Kees Van Dongen painting and bears no resemblance to sisters living or dead. “On Elvis Presley’s Birthday” is for me the most important piece of work in the album.

This album is dedicated to: Gaspard James Murphy born September 27, 1990. The greatest day of my life.

“What I wanted was to do the equivalent of a double album with a simple yet provocative production,” writes Elliott Murphy in the liner notes to his twelfth record release. Though it appears on a single CD released in Europe and Japan, 12 is the length of an old double LP: 21 tracks in more than 78 minutes. And, like an old double LP, it sprawls, the songs ranging from reminiscences of childhood and Murphy’s days as a minor-’70s rock star in New York City, to a brief ditty in which he recites the names of Japanese corporations. There is also plenty of room for Murphy to reflect on his career as a journeyman singer/songwriter. “Some say my songs are long and much too complicated,” he sings in “Sicily (Tropic of Separation),” “but they’re highly personal / I say they’re underrated.” They are also under-produced on this record as compared to some of his earlier albums, which gives them a more direct appeal. “I doubt if anyone but me can listen to all of this in one sitting,” Murphy writes, and while that may constitute an admission that this album would be better if it were shorter by a third, still it contains some gems. (Originally released outside the U.S. by New Rose in 1990, 12 was released in an abridged, revised, and re-sequenced form under the title Unreal City in the U.S. by Razor & Tie in March 1993.)

William Ruhlmann – AllMusic

Vinyl LPs

France: New Rose Records Rose 237
Spain: Impossible Records 019


New Rose Records Rose 237 CD
Musidisc 120472 (1996)

Blue Rose Records BLU CD0095

Teichiku Records TECP-25650

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