Diamonds By The Yard

Razor & Tie

Record Details

Elliott Murphy - Diamonds By The Yard

A career retrospective coving the “major label” years from 1973 to 1977 with two bonus tracks from the 1980 Affairs EP.


  1. Last Of The Rock Stars -:-- / 3:43
  2. White Middle Class Blues -:-- / 3:01
  3. Hometown -:-- / 4:34
  4. Poise N’ Pen -:-- / 2:39
  5. History -:-- / 3:06
  6. Eva Braun -:-- / 4:05
  7. Visions Of The Night -:-- / 3:45
  8. Diamonds By The Yard -:-- / 6:57
  9. Isadora’s Dancers -:-- / 4:55
  10. You Never Know What You’re In For -:-- / 4:19
  11. Drive All Night -:-- / 3:37
  12. Just A Story From America -:-- / 2:32
  13. Rock Ballad -:-- / 5:04
  14. Anastasia -:-- / 5:10
  15. Caught Short In Long Run -:-- / 4:49
  16. Euro Tour -:-- / 3:57
  17. Change Will Come -:-- / 4:32


Naked telephone poles can’t describe
The way I’m feeling about you tonight
And a feeling on my back like an old brown jacket
Like to stay in school but I just can’t hack it
And I’m out on the street feeling like dirt
I’m afraid to get married because I know its gonna hurt
And I say

Oh oh oh – there’s the last of the rock stars
And me and you
Oh oh oh – rock ‘n roll is here to stay
But who will be left to play

Well I dreamed I saw the king in a fifty three chevy
Had a band on his mind and his hands looked heavy
And he rolled down his window I guess to say hi
I couldn’t see his face ’cause of the purple haze inside
And he was born to be the king – he was born to be the man
And he died though he was holy – although I doubt he’d understand
When I say


Adolescent predrug habit – if it means guitar you gotta have it
And you got your axe and you got your group
And your old man thinks its a waste of loot
And you wait all week for a Sullivan show
And you know that’s just where you wanna go
And you homework now is never complete
You don’t care – cause you have got that beat

So a highdy hi and a heydy hey
And a girls that home on Friday night and a boy that’s out to play
And some of us are masters and some or us are slaves
And than there’s that boy who knows he’s gotta play
And a messy desk drawer full of broken strings
You know these kids and you know of those things


Come on mama please don’t cry
Don’t you know how I feel inside

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Three guys pass me by all in white t shirts
They’re in a sixty three super sort and they don’t like my looks
I’m in the middle of Brooklyn I can’t see no escape’
They say the south is a bummer
But this isn’t so great

Ain’t life a blast
So low down middle class
From the day you’re born you know you’ll never kiss ass
White middle class blues

Now I’m sitting down to diner there’s so much food on your table
You can throw away your vegetables you can eat till you’re not able
And you veins fill with butter and the blood won’t flow through them
And your kid ods on goof balls and gives the finger to you

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Waiting for some dream lover like a great Gatsby
And then I look in the mirror and its only me
And hey now baby what’s on your mind
Do you ride on ancient ships under doctor Ekelbergs eyes to heaven
Ticket nineteen twenty seven
Hey baby I think you break hearts like an ice man

You know too many pictures gonna make you feel sad
Gonna make you think of all the good times
You thought you never had
And hey no baby use to follow you home
Hold on to you at dancing school and call you on the phone forever
But now your world begins with never
Hey baby you can’t even feel I’m breathless

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I saw your mother downtown yesterday
She didn’t know me and her hair was gray
She told me all her kids had run away
They called at Christmas time but really what’s left to say
And now the neighbors they don’t talk no more
And late at night she listens to the wind under the door
And the cracks in the floor

Oh guess who I ran into in the waiting room
You know they use to say that kid was born with a silver spoon
He told me that he left his home much too soon
Cause no one ever told him about the power of a real full moon
And than he stopped and just closed his eyes
And whispered please could someone help him get outside

And don’t tell me you don’t hear that hometown calling you
Cause you know what baby your still doing all the same things
You use to do
Wo wo darling you never use to wait till tomorrow
And now you can’t wait at all

Hey what’s the news in the fashion world
Is it long or short
Is it straight or curled
Does it pull all my last years in a different world
Does it tell your mother
How long ago she was a girl
And even churchmen are wearing stripes
And all the hometown girls are getting in much too late tonight
I guess they gave up the fight

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I got a heart so thick that its tearing me apart
And a baby so sick she can’t tell us apart
And whoever’s in the big house makes no difference to me
And what you see is just a reflection of all the bathroom walls
In the cave where the bus terminal monster falls
Into the head of the golden runaway
Whose heard nothing at all
About the Thursday night crowd
How they live and how they love to see you fall

You can be the queen of hippies and I’m the king of fools
And we’ll have our bed for breakfast and watch the peasants drool
Till you find out that your palace was only their back room
And what you got are giant soup cans that laugh at your life
And a telephone existence and a magazine wife
And a drum that keeps drumming and a brain that’s so white
It goes out into the sun
And you find out why you love the night
Ain’t that a fright

Oh midnight raiders break down the doors looking for
Anti society
Pop city dolls who smoke long cigars
Looking for some notoriety
Who could have known what motion pictures could bring
Pandora’s box didn’t know everything
She’d never been to Beverly Hills

And what you hear is just the dark side of every joke
And the sound of French prostitutes who stare at you and smoke
Under a red neon sign that says god is hope
While all the bleach blond moms
Tell their pimpled bombs
Not to mope
Just use more soap

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Summer in Suburbia we’d catch fireflies
Put them in a jar and watch them die
You and me baby we could of gone so far
Could have had two cars
And lived a sweet sweet lie
And everyone’s telling me now that you were just my best friend
And how can I explain to them
that some things never end

And the years go by and the lights go dim
And when she thinks of him
Does she start to cry

And there must have been a thousand times I could have had your hand
I could have been your man, you could have been my light
And the reasons why they don’t count anymore
I put them in a drawer the night we died
And all those books that tell you just what to do
They don’t matter now because
I think you always knew

And the children run and play and they mark the time
Before they get in line with me and you

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Well the ghost of Adolph Hitler stands inside your shoes
Sings you fascist blues in the moonlight
Just a leather lullaby keeps baby dry
Helps to keep the third world off the airplanes
And you know he’s watched them panic and they knew he
was watching them die
Send you black stockings made in Dachau
Cause these jokes that they are telling
They all seem much too sad
Every Sunday morning you’ve been had
And no one’s listening

And you can dance from Munich to Berlin
And I screamed at the scene and said Ezra Pound what are you doing
And he said his eyes at night were chilling
And his words were oh so thrilling
And someday soon I fear they’ll sing that song again
Well the ladies don’t go to market
When the brown shirts march through town
And your neighbors can’t be found in the morning
And there’s a story being told
About this man with a moustache growing senile and old
Screaming orders into the jungles of Argentina
An you know he’s watched them panic
And they knew he was watching them die
Send you black stockings made in Dachau
Cause the jokes that they are telling
They all seem much too sad
Just like Eva Braun and her home movies in the mountains

And you can dance from Munich to Berlin
And I screamed at the scene and said Ezra Pound what are you doing
But he aid his eyes at night were chilling
And his words were oh so thrilling
And someday soon I fear they’ll sing that song again

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Hey baby now your all alone time to think about yourself
There’s nobody sifting next to you drinking to your health
There’s nobody sitting next to you with his eyes below your belt
Come on baby let the good times roll
Let them roll you right into hell

Way down by the suicide
Down by the razor blade rodeo
Sit right next to that tarnished nun
And like a compass she’s gonna tell you where to go
And when you find yourself up in your room
And you got the shopping center blues
And you ask your old man to please talk to you
And he says sure (right after the news)

And lately have these visions of the night
Put you in a fever dream and nothing feel right
So you take a little bit of this
And a little bit of that
And man you feel all right

Hey baby take a walk with me
On the beach in the winter and the rain
And we can talk about Vogue magazine
And the meaning of artistic pain
Cause you know you’re lost in your own castle now
All you need is Lord Byron’s name
And nobody’s sifting next to you
And your name’s not on the guest list too
And pretty soon nobody’s gonna take you home

Take you home
Take you home

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As I lay down with my lady
The sounds of the night keep me warm
I’m living a city life – I’m living maybe
But tonight there’s no reason to be strong

Romantic poets guard the darkness
My my all at such an early age
An old man sheds a tear
He opens a little gold locket
He thought his little girl was lost in an Indian raid

Somewhere in these night lights lies the answer
And you can get diamonds by the yard
A tiffany dream – A porcelain dancer
An old man playing blues guitar

Midnight I surrender
I live beneath your ancient spell
You’ve been my lover since I can’t remember
You save my life with the stories you tell

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I’ve gone to meet Isadora’s dancers
Wrote that girl on her own blue jeans
I’ve given up trying to find the answers
And these times the’re sure turning mean
So here’s to you and to my mother
And to that boy at work who lent me his radio
Because for me there’s never been no others
At making friends I’m awfully slow awfully slow

I can dream of a nicer ending
And I dreamed of a lonely show
With just me and my ballerina
And she turns slowly up on her toes
And I clap and the hall it echoes
And my dancer’s eyes are wide as a doe
But the time wasn’t right for the moment
This I know this I know – I let her go

And it’s raining and it’s Sunday San Francisco
And I think I’ll go take in the porno show
Cause it’s dark and it’s cold and it’s lonely
And it’s as far from love as you can go
So here’s to you Isadora’s dancers
And to that girl who just had to go
And as for me, well I don’t know the answers
Is life too fast or is it just too slow
Oh so slow

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Getting late they were spaced just a trace
Of the old coming down
Ancient fun one and one he said someday
We’ll leave this town
But magazines glamour scenes in betweens
Had him nailed to the ground
And the sounds still waiting to be found

And we are all junkies, pushers, pimps and hookers
You never know what you’re in to’
And you can shake it, try to forsake it
But you know you’re gonna take it
You never know what you’re in for

By the time he was nine there were signs of an old melody
He tried to list w at he missed just a kiss
Was it real or TV
Find a way make it pay you can say a rehearsed passion play
Everyday, everyday

And we’re all junkies pushers, pimps and hookers
You never know what you’re in for
And you can shake it, try to forsake it
But you know you’re gonna take it
You never know what you’re in for

But anyway he said hey I’m gonna stay Baby Please don’t cry
It’s just rough to stay tough full of lust and Be a walking hi fi
I see you and I’m through with that god
Who demands such a lie
But you gotta get by
And we’ll get by

And we are all junkies, pushers, pimps and pushers
You never know what you’re in for
And you can shake it, try to forsake it
But you know you’re gonna take it
You never know what you’re in for

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Oh won’t you be my night connection
I’ll give you true highway affection
Please don’t ask where we’re goin’
I’m tryin’ to race the light
And we can drive all night drive all night
We got what’s left and we got what’s right
Drive all night

I never liked where we came from
And I tried to fight
We need development rearrangement
We need some dynamite
But if you’ll be my reflection
We’ll let our memories die
And we can drive all night
Drive all night
We got what’s left and we got what’s right
Drive all night

We’ll hit the coast in a T bird called Teenage
We’re heading out for a psychologically clean age
And if they stop us and ask where you goin’
We’ll tell them we’re going through

Oh won’t you be my night connection drive all night
Oh give me soul map correction drive all night
And if the sun starts to catch us
We’ll paint the windows black
And we can drive all night drive all night
We got what’s left and we got what’s right drive all night

Now you know what it feels like on a hot Sunday night
When you just can’t go home cause things aren’t quite right
So we sneak into your house; but it’s the wrong one
Cause they all look the same; this town’s just no fun

But we finally get it right and if your daddy knew he’d kill
Cause we just stole the key to his brand new Coupe de Ville
And we hit that highway about a hundred and one
And I hear this funny noise, man they’re tryin’ to spoil our fun

Drive all night

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Just a story from America
He left his job and he looked at her
I’ve had enough he put down his cup
And every time she would fill it up

When she’d say
Get up when they put you down
But like a boxer
You just spin around
Your kind of guy is so very few
Don’t ever let them get the best of you

And so he’s working like a dog each day
And every week there’d be more overtime pay
And pretty soon he’s got a Cadillac car
And on the weekends he would drive so far

And they don’t slow down
America’s such a speedy town
Hot clothes high society
He said it never get the best of me

And then he met a girl with hair like the sun
With social status she was number one
He left it all and he left downtown
A little voice follows him around

And it say
Get up they put you down
And like a boxer
You just spin around
Your kind of guy was so very few
I thought they’d never get the best of you

Just a story of America
Just a story fro in America
Just a story of America
Just a story from America

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When the moon was just right
We could turn off the light and just listen
And we’d pray to the night
And we’d hold on so tight
You could hear crystal stars as they’d glisten

Lovers in vain
Like to walk in the rain
Like to hear distant trains emotion
And the late radio
We would play it so low
No one must know this devotion

Rock ballad – Rock ballad
You know baby and I used to listen all night long
To the real slow song -Till the tears were gone

And these jobs and these schools
Teach romance is for fools
And the dream always ends upon waking
And we all kept our cool like a hustler shoot pool
And soon your whole life is spent faking

Cause to try is to fail
And as the wind left your sails
All you heard was the sound of their laughter
But I was running so fast
With the wind racing past
All I heard was a voice say “go after her”


And these soul clarinets
And the feelings we get
It’s the songs of regret I remember
And we placed our last bet
On loves long shot request
As they spun the roulette that September

Now let’s all raise our glass
For a drink to the past
And a drink to the last chance taken
And let’s drink once again to our long lost friends
No, we can’t let it end the surf’s breaking

Rock ballad
Rock ballad

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Anastasia please come home, your family’s on the telephone
They know they left you all alone with your royalty
Oh and Anastasia you did nothing wrong
Your biggest sin was just being born
Aristocracy is like a crown of thorns it takes believers

Anastasia where can we go
The border guards they don’t want to know
We need some time to relax and slow things down
And Anastasia I know what you mean
The revolution took away our dreams
Took away our fantasies gave us sewing machines
And the noise

And the jewels and the lights of those winter nights
And a little girl’s eyes oh so wide
I’m not saying they were wrong to fight
But I know they were wrong to despise
Just the joy in a little girl’s eyes

Anastasia please come home
Your daddy the czar is on the telephone
His little girl so lost and alone
It makes him cry

Oh and Anastasia if he only knew
I know he’d throw it away just to be with you
Just a family man that’s nothing new
No reason to die


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Roll down your window
Your crying’s got everything steamed.
Roll down your window
It’s not as desperate as you make it seem
You’re so young to have seen it
And now your vision is much too old and much too clear
You know I’m friends with that darkness you’ve been seeing
We dated once or twice in earlier years
And I know that you’re trying
And believe me I know that it’s tough
But I’ve seen you when you’re dancing with the children
Skip ahead to the lighter stuff

And tonight when they come I’ll say they can’t see you no more
Cause they’ll draw out your life through a fine silver straw
And if I was a hero I would have fought them off at your door

And you thinking of your family
And your thinking it’s been much too long
Because you need some of their innocence and their order
But that medicine is much too strong
And we’re holding so tight and we’re falling
And the funny thing is both are just the same
You know freedom will find its own amusement
And it looks like we’ve found a waiting game
So you torture yourself for that moment
When the only thing left is to feet
You know romantics may run free in the darkness
But come the light, they’re the first to kneel

And tonight when they come I’ll say they can’t see you no more
Cause they’ll draw out your life through a fine silver straw
And if I was a hero I would have fought them off at your door
But the lines we have drawn and the sides we have chose
And my own indecision how badly that shows

And, God damn, if I was a hero I would have kept our little world closed

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Some go down to the walking street
Some go Hamburg window-shopping
Hotel bars where the strangers meet
Where the b-girls wear seamed stockings
Some they just sit up in their rooms
With their cassettes playing all night
And some of us we like a drink or two
Cafe Select getting real tight

And its all right – Feeling all right
And I better write it down so I can tell you some more
Talking bout a Euro Tour – One two and four

Now he was lost on some strange street
Some strange city lost in the dark
Feeling lonely Mister US of A
He takes a walk right through the park
And there’s a girl there’s an emotional swirl
There’s eye contact all right
And like the prophet John Lennon once said
Whatever gets you through the night


Some go up and some go down as the bus goes round and round
some stay straight as is their fate
Keep both feet right on the ground
Some the live for the women they see
Some they die for the women they meet
Some of them they never make it home
The lizard king lies in Parisian concrete
Feeling all right


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Words & Music by Elliott Murphy
© 1980 Eljamur Music

We’re so East Coast…so here’s a toast
Here’s to everything that I wanted the most…the most
So baby now…its over now
I’m just sitting here though I’ll stand up somehow…somehow

Got a date with a diamond ring
The tramps in the alley watch her shake that thing
I say its all right mama – Its all right now
I never really wanted any of it anyhow
Change will come – Change will come

We’re so New York…silver spoon and plastic fork
We wanted everything and we wanted a little bit more
Give me some more
And can you see…Its hard to see
You say you’re looking for a lover
I say don’t take a look at me…look at me

Got a date with a diamond ring
The tramps in the alley watch her shake that thing
I say its all right mama – Its all right now
I never really wanted any of it anyhow
Change will come – Change will come

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All Songs by Elliott Murphy © Elliott Murphy – Lyrics Reprinted by Permission

Diamonds By The Yard: A Career Retrospective – 1973-1977
Razor & Tie

From Aquashow:

“Last Of The Rock Stars,” “White Middle Class Blues,” “Hometown,” “Poise N’Pen”

Produced by Peter K. Siegel
Recorded at Record Plant East, N.Y.C.
Recording Engineer: Shelly Yakus
Tape Operators: Ed Sprigg and Rod O’Brien
Sequence: Shelley Snow
Disk Mastering: Robert C. Ludwig, Sterling Sound Inc., N.Y.C.
Cover Photo: Jack Mitchell
Album Design: Paula Bisacca

Elliott Murphy: vocals, electric guitar, harmonica, piano on “Poise ’N Pen”
Matthew Murphy: bass
Gene Parsons: drums
Teddy Irwin: acoustic guitar
Frank Owens: piano, organ
Pat Rebillot: piano and organ on “Hometown”
Background Vocals: Elliott Murphy, Matthew Murphy, Dennis Ferrante, Jim Mason, Eddie Mottau, Linda November, Gene Parsons, Maeretha Stewart, Tasha Thomas, Dick Wagner

From Lost Generation:

“History,” “Eva Braun,” “Visions Of The Night”

Produced by Paul A. Rothchild
Engineered by Fritz Richmond at Elektra Sound Recorders, Lost Angeles – January 1975
Photography by Ed Caraeff
Cover Concept: Dennis Katz
Type & Back Cover Design: Craig De Camps
Art Direction: Acy Lehman

Elliott Murphy: vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano
Ned Doheny, Jackie Clark, Sonny Landreth: guitars
Gordon Edwards: bass
Jim Gordon: drums and percussion
Jon Smith: saxophone
Bobby Kimball: harmony
Wayne DeVillier, Richard Tee: keyboards

From Night Lights:

“Diamonds By The Yard,” “Isadora’s Dancers,” “You Never Know What You’re In For”

Produced by Steve Katz with Elliott Murphy
Engineered by Dave Wittman
All songs composed by Elliott Murphy
Photography: Michael Dakota
Cover Concept: Dennis Katz
Art Direction: Acy Lehman
Mastered by Bob Ludwig, Sterling Sound
Recorded at Electric Lady Studios, New York City (Autumn 1975)

“Diamonds By The Yard”
Elliott Murphy: Vocal, Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Arp STrings, Organ Pedals
Jerry Harrison: Piano, Organ
Andy Paley: Drums & Percussion
Ernie Brooks: Bass

“Isadora’s Dancers”
Elliott Murphy: Vocal, Acoustic Guitar
Ralph Schuckett: Piano, Organ
Mike Braun: Drums & Percussion
Ernie Brooks: Bass
Mr. Harte’s Westorchard School 4th Graders: Chorus
Orchestrated by Ralph Schuckett

“You Never Know What You’re In For”
Elliott Murphy: Vocal, Harmonica, Acoustic Guitar
Mike Braun: Drums
Ralph Schuckett: Organ, Accordian
Richard Davis: Upright Bass
Doug Yule: Vocals
Steve Katz: Vocals

From Just A Story From America:

“Drive All Night,” “Just A Story From America,” “Rock Ballad,” “Anastasia,” “Caught Short In The Long Run”
Phil Collins – Drums
Dave Markee – Bass
Peter Oxendale – Piano & Organ
E. M. – Guitars, Vocals, Farfisa organ, Marimba, Harmonica, Tambourine, Harmonium, Portuguese guitar

Additional Musicians:
Mick Taylor – Guitar (Rock Ballad)
Chris Mercer & Steve Gregory – Saxes (Drive All Night)
Morris Pert – Percussions
Barry DeSouza – Drums (Caught Short In The Long Run)
Mike Maran – Piano & Organ (Caught Short In The Long Run)

Boys Choir of St. Pauls Cathedral London. Directed by Mr. Barry Rose (Anastasia)
Richard Hewson – String arrangements (Anastasia)
Nicky Harrison – recorder arrangements (Rock Ballad)
Geraldine – lead whisper
Nick Caraway voices – various background vocals

Produced and Engineered by Robin Geoffrey Cable

Recorded in London at Air with Colin Fairley, Marquee with Steve Holroyd
Audio International with Greg Walsh

Phil Collins appears courtesy of Charisma Records
Mick Taylor appears courtesy of CBS Records
Chris Mercer & Steve Gregory appear courtesy of EMI Records
Elliott Murphy appears with kind permission of Aquashow Limited

From Affairs

Elliott Murphy: guitar, vocals
Ernie Brooks: bass
Richard Sohl: keyboards
Tony Machine: drums

“Change Will Come”
Elliott Murphy: J-200 acoustic guitar, harmonica, vocals

Record By Record, Murphy By Murphy: Diamonds By The Yard

Razor & Tie was a New York City Independent label that my long-time fan and one-time manager Charlie Hunter hooked me up with as they were putting out albums by Dar Williams who Charlie knew well. Razor & Tie were able to make deals with my three 1970’s major labels – Polydor, RCA & Columbia and actually release this wonderful 70’s Best Of collection which I wish was still available. I contributed the two bonus tracks from the end of that era – “Euro-Tour” and “Change Will Come” – that were both precognizant at the time of their writing of my future move to Europe. Diamonds by the Yard was the sister collection of Going Through Something by the Texas Indie label Dejadisc and compiled by Steve Wilkson which concentrated on my post-major label recordings.

About The Cover – “Covered Galeries And Aqua Yaks”

This was a compilation put out by Razor and Tie in the USA and featured tracks from my major label albums. Ironically, the photo was taken in a covered Galerie off the Grand Boulevard and not far from where I live. These galleries were developed in the late 19th Century so women could safely shop in the many boutiques inside without having to go out on the street and be accosted! I’m actually standing in front of a toy store that still exists called Pain D’Epice. This photo was taken in the early 80’s so the little girl on the play horse behind me is now in her 50’s! Time Flies. I’m wearing the same Aqua Yak coat that I wore on the cover of Just A Story From America.

Subtitled, A Career Retrospective, 1973-1977, Diamonds by the Yard is a compilation drawn from Elliott Murphy’s four major-label albums, Aquashow (1973), Lost Generation (1975), Night Lights (1976), and Just a Story from America (1977). (The CD version adds two bonus tracks drawn from Murphy’s self-released 1980 EP Affairs.) That makes for 15 (or 17) of Murphy’s best songs, from “Last of the Rock Stars” through “Drive All Night,” powerful rock & roll in a Bob Dylan/Highway 61 Revisited mold, right down to the allusive, well-written lyrics that paint a portrait of post-war suburban life with wit and feeling. Though bypassed by a mass audience in the U.S., Murphy was one of the best singer/songwriters to emerge in the 1970s, and Diamonds by the Yard is likely to have listeners combing used record bins and import catalogs for more of his work.

William Ruhlmann – AllMusic


Razor & Tie RE1996 DRC1-1028

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Elliott Murphy - Diamonds By The Yard - Boston Globe Review
Diamonds By The Yard
Boston Globe Review
August 20, 1992
Elliott Murphy - Diamonds By The Yard Rolling Stone Review
Diamonds By The Yard
Rolling Stone Review
December 10, 1992