Just A Story From America

Columbia Records

Record Details

1977
Genre:
Rock
Elliott Murphy - Just A Story From America

Just a Story from America is the fourth major label album by singer-songwriter Elliott Murphy and was reviewed by Paul Nelson in Rolling Stone. The album was recorded at Air Studios in London in 1976 and featured guest artists former Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor and future Genesis front man Phil Collins on drums. “Anastasia” was a minor hit in France and “Drive All Night” was a hit for the Japanese band The Roosters in 1980.

Tracklist

  1. Drive All Night -:-- / 3:37
  2. Summer House -:-- / 3:20
  3. Just A Story From America -:-- / 2:32
  4. Rock Ballad -:-- / 5:04
  5. Think Too Hard -:-- / 3:30
  6. Anastasia -:-- / 5:10
  7. Darlin’ (And She Called Me) -:-- / 3:49
  8. Let Go -:-- / 3:43
  9. Caught Short In Long Run -:-- / 4:49

DRIVE ALL NIGHT

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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SUMMER HOUSE

You had bad dreams
You tore your sheets
You’re beautiful when you cry

Caught in rain your sweater ran
Your breasts covered with dye
Your breasts all covered with dye

Threadbare oriental rugs
I love to watch you sleep
I’m drawn to you like an old cliche
And stilll the waters running deep
Running so deep

Rain was my drummer as I played guitar
I try to squeeze love out of steel
You are the reason I keep looking for
I remember summer meals
Charcoal fires and summer meals

After a week I could finally relax
You laugh at me all of the time
The flowers were dead the winter lay ahead
We laughed and drank Perrier with lime
Drinking Perrier with lime

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JUST A STORY FROM AMERICA

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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ROCK BALLAD

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”

CHORUS

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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THINK TOO HARD

You think too hard
You feel too little
Listen to me I’ve been caught in the middle
You left the band just to play your fiddle

I know her
Recognized by her boots and spurs
Recognized by the bodies in her path

Sweet Adeline
Adds a touch of her mommy’s wine
Adds a touch of the blood watch the colors curl
And then we take it down to Madam Rue
You been saying for years
Just what that gypsy can do

Now we’ve thought so hard
We felt so little
Table for two put us right in the middle
Forget the band send over the fiddle
And baskets of care
Another basket of polluted air
Another drug, another dance craze, one more dare

Ship of fools
The last boat left without its rules
Left without its captain and his gun
Now everyday we stare into the sun
Maybe our vision’s gone
But we’re not as inclined to run

Now you think too hard
You feel too little
Listen to me I’ve been caught in the middle
There’s only room for one lead fiddle
The sphinx is mad
They solved his riddle
You better watch out cause you know that kid’ll

Give you too much and just a little bit’ll
Send you down the middle
With your fiddles and your riddles
And bring you down
Bring you back to the sacred ground
Bring you back to where your bodies lie

This is the end
I’ve run out of words to send
Back to the troops left behind the lines
They’ll have to find their gods on their own
Can’t you see there’s just no meat left on this bone

Now you think too hard
You feel too little
Look at me right in the middle
Think too hard
Felt much too little
One more time left in the middle
Thought too hard
Felt so little
Rock & Roll’s left in the middle

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ANASTASIA

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

CHORUS

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DARLIN’ (AND SHE CALLED ME)

Darlin’ well I love your thrift shop clothes
And your garter belts and your hose
My imagination grows
When she calls me darlin’

And those San Francisco days
Collecting food stamps so afraid
Young lovers hide in the haze
Of their beauty

And now I love you even more
We’re living rich to even out the score
But I see rich men oh so poor
They just talk to their drivers

I get embarrassed singing’ bout my love
It’s like a steel fist hiding in a velvet glove
I don’t want the world to turn it to
A grade B movie

And darling’ I love your erotic pose
And your timing so carefully chose
As she casually takes off her clothes
And whispers darlin’
And in these days of rock ‘n roll
And aerosol hot and cold
It’s hard not to hide in the folds
Waiting for your deliverance

But she pushed me out in the world
She makes me charge with my flags unfurled
She gives me Errol Flynn’s moustache,
I laugh at my rivals

And the odds are lookin’ ten to one
And the Light Brigade shines so bright in the sun
You know everyone would like to run
But life is more than survival

Darlin’ well the story goes on and on
And maybe Rhett Butler’s wind is gone
But deserted mansions sing my song
It’s not the wind going darlin’

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LET GO

She said she felt guilty ’bout her parent’s divorce
Said they blame it on me
I said of course
Isn’t that the way that these things usually end
And I could have been better, could have been much worse
In helping her to get rid of this curse
And I said baby it’s much too late to pretend

Let go, Let go
Forget about everything you used to know
This world’s turning so fast, and we forget so slow
Baby let go

She said she felt funny in a pick up bar
I said so do I…do you have a car
I’ll get the check and meet you right outside
And as I stood there waiting for my change
Everyone else acting exactly the same
Laughing too loud about jokes of earlier lives

Let go, Let go
Forget about everything you used to know
When you’re tryin’ that hard it’s bound to show
Baby let go

And once in a while I get out my old photographs
Go through them quickly
I get rid of them fast
I try not to place any faces with their names
And then if I can I watch the six o’clock news
Or I read the newspaper and shine my new shoes
You can’t let them get in the way

Let go, Let go
Forget about everything you used to know
This world’s turning so fast we forget so slow
Baby let go

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CAUGHT SHORT IN THE LONG RUN

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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All songs by Elliott Murphy © 1976 – Lyrics Reprinted by Permission

Just A Story From America
Columbia Records PC 34653
1977

Musicians:
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 (Summer House & 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
Tour Director – Matthew Murphy
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

Thanks to Elizabeth & Arma Andon, Don DeVito, Bill Freston, Dan Loggins, Doug Smith and Tina

This one’s for Geraldine

Record By Record, Murphy By Murphy: Just A Story From America

I was so impatient for “something big” to happen and so I changed managers and record company (Columbia) and countries and went to London to record. English studios were famous for their big rock sound at this time and also for affordable string arrangements and choirs. I had lunch with Harry Nielsen and ex-Rolling Stone Mick Taylor played some guitar. I’ll never forget when he walked into the studio carrying his own amp to use on his solo on “Rock Ballad.” When I heard the Sex Pistols say “fuck” on British TV I knew the music world was going to change. There was a punk revolution on the way but I had a song called “Anastasia” who was the victim of another revolution. Phil Collins played drums and told great jokes.

Taken from Crossroads magazine.

About The Cover – “Please Come Home”

So many of my favorite Rolling Stones album covers were shot by David Bailey that he was my first – and only – choice for the photographer who would shoot me in London where we recorded Just A Story From America. To me, David epitomized English 60’s style and they say he was the inspiration for the photographer in Antonioni’s Blow Up. Amazingly enough, Columbia Records went along with the idea and although I have no idea what his fee was I’m sure he wasn’t cheap. We went to his studio – me, Geraldine and my English manager – and waited a very, very long time for him to get ready. David loved the Yak fur coat I was wearing when I walked in and insisted I wear it for the shoot. The coat was kind of Aqua colored so I was surprised that he shot it in black and white. Later in New York, he sent us just two photos: the black and white one which graces the cover and the very colorful head shot on the inside so we didn’t have much choice. But I thought he made me look like Brian Jones (who had had photographed many times) so I was happy. Also, I loved how I was kind of falling off the cover which I think was very ahead of its time. Unfortunately, I no longer have the coat. I gave it away to the Salvation Army many years ago so perhaps there is a homeless person wearing it to this day. I hope so!

About The Album

I still am not quite sure why I went to London to record. I think I just liked to fly and stay in hotels and also, I guess, there was truth in the fact that the albums coming out of London in those days – the late seventies – sounded better. Some said it was because of English engineers being unafraid to record “in the red” with a bit of distortion. Anyway, first I went over there to attend the CBS (before it became Sony as it is now) International convention and it was there I met Mick Taylor and I was determined to have him play on my album in some way. Also, I went around interviewing producers and finally settled on Robin Geoffrey Cable who had been an engineer at Trident Studios and was famous for the Trident sound but what that was I don’t remember now.

It was 1976 and the punks were just gaining speed and the Sex Pistols were using bad words on television and I knew that the kind of album I wanted to make – lush & literate – was out of steps with the coming revolution but I didn’t care. I was staying at the Montcalm Hotel and one day they delivered the papers with breakfast and in typical English scandal/journalism way there was an article about “New Princess Anastasia Found!!!” and I remember sitting in my bed with my J-200 acoustic Guitar and writing that song, “Anastasia,” that morning after reading the papers. It came fast like a dream, didn’t have to write another verse a month later or anything like that; it came whole and complete and miraculous.

Then I went back to USA to write the rest of the songs for the album and I spent a drunken weekend out on Long Island where Geraldine and I had rented a barn next to the mansion of the wife of a record company executive at Columbia. I wrote “Think Too Hard,” “Darling,” “Summer House” and “Caught Short In The Long Run.” “Rock Ballad” was written in London (I think) just so Mick Taylor could play on it. “Drive All Night” was already a few years old. In fact, I wrote it for the Night Lights album (it was called “Night Connection”) at that time but we tried to record it and it didn’t work. “Let Go,” I wrote in California at another CBS convention about an Australian girl I met there. “Just A Story From America” was actually written during the sessions in London for the album but that came later.

Phil Collins was Robin Cable’s idea: he had produced an album of Phil’s (some side project of Genesis whose name I don’t remember) but from the moment he entered the studio I knew it was a good idea. He was really funny and kept spirits up. I would have liked to work with him longer but he told me that Peter Gabriel had quit Genesis and he was thinking of singing himself because they couldn’t find anybody else and he needed to rehearse. We had recorded nearly all the songs except “Caught Short In The Long Run” which we did later at he studio next to The Marquee Club in Soho.

We recorded all over London in about six studios because everything was crowded. First I did a demo of all the songs acoustically (I still have that) and then we did basic tracks. Except for Mick Taylor’s on “Rock Ballad” I played all the other guitars which was probably a mistake and I sang ALL the harmonies but gave a credit to the “Nick Carraway Singers” in an obvious Gatsby reference. Geraldine and I had a good time in London, ate at Mr. Ciao’s a lot, bought Cashmere sweaters (they were really cheap) and took one side trip to Amsterdam.

CBS loved the album although they didn’t think there was a single on it. Anyway it came out and did pretty well, especially in France where “Anastasia” was hit on Radio Andorra. When I finally came to France to play in 1978 it seemed a long time ago that I recorded Just a Story… although it was only two years. Now its nearly twenty years and it seems like only yesterday. I think my favorite track is still “Anastasia.”

Oh yeah, the one thing I really insisted on was that David Bailey would shoot the cover shots. He had done all those great early Stones’ covers. CBS agreed although I never knew what they paid him. The album has been re-released a few times by Sony in France and I’m really grateful for that. On the cover shot I look pretty rock star decadent but I guess I was at the time.

Elliott Murphy, Paris, April 1997

For his fourth album, Just a Story From America, Elliott Murphy moved on to his third major label, appropriately finding a berth with Columbia Records, home of Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. A follower of Dylan and a contemporary of Springsteen, Murphy also attempts to invest rock & roll with poetry and then sings it in an alternately husky and whiny tenor. For Just a Story from America, he traveled to London and recorded with a band including Genesis drummer Phil Collins and, for a bluesy solo on “Rock Ballad,” former Rolling Stone guitarist Mick Taylor. “Drive All Night” sets the scene early, an uptempo rocker paced by a Farfisa organ reminiscent of Del Shannon, while the lyric reflects the same sense of youthful adventure via a fast car on a highway that Springsteen describes so often. Murphy’s artistic vision is more urban and literary than Springsteen’s, however, his short stories in song concern self-consciously arty characters bent on an escape as much spiritual as economic. Murphy is, as ever, up-front about his influences, putting a line from Raymond Chandler on the LP sleeve, crediting “Nick Caraway” (the narrator of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby) for background vocals, and dropping movie names including Errol Flynn and Rhett Butler. If Dylan uses names like that for comic and absurd effect, and Springsteen is serious about the lives of his hometown heroes, Murphy is deliberately creating a rock & roll equivalent for the novels and movies he loves; he’s serious, too, but he also has a perspective on the scenes he describes. Thus, when he writes a rock ballad, he calls it “Rock Ballad.” He never lets his audience forget that it is watching a show, which may go against the supposed authenticity and emotional directness of rock. But that’s the point. In Murphy’s world, the great Gatsby is a rock star, and life is a movie.

William Ruhlmann – AllMusic

Vinyl LPs

US:
Columbia PC 34653
*Note: There are at least two “promotional” versions. First, a white label, white jacket version that says “Advance Promotion” on the label. Second, a white label, normal jacket version that says “Demonstration Not For Sale” on the label. Both have the same catalog number.

Canada:
Columbia PC 34653

New Zealand:
CBS SBP 239012

Spain:
Columbia S 81881

Netherlands:
CBS 81881

UK:
CBS S 81881 PC 34653

Japan:
CBS/SONY 25AP 440

Europe:
Music On Vinyl MOVLP1097 (2014)
*Note: 180 Gram.

CDs

France:
CBS 465579 2 (1989)
Columbia/Sony Music Media 516096 2 (2004)
*Note: Digipak.

Japan:
Sony Music Direct MHCP 598 (2005)

Netherlands:
Music On CD/SONY/Columbia MOCCD 13033 (2013)

Austria:
Columbia 469084 2

45rpm Vinyl Singles

“Drive All Night” / “Rock Ballad”
US: Columbia 3-10547 (1977)
*Note: There is also a white label promo version of “Drive All Night” (Stereo) / “Drive All Night” (Mono) with the same catalog number.

“Drive All Night” / “Rock Ballad”
Japan: CBS/Sony (Picture Sleeve) (1977)

“Anastasia” / “Drive All Night”
CBS 5214 (Picture Sleeve) (1977)

Please note: If you have additions or corrections to this discography, please send them to the webmaster.

Elliott Murphy - Just A Story From America 1977 Rolling Stone Review
Just A Story From America 1977 Rolling Stone Review
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Just A Story From America Publicity Photo
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