Murph The Surf

Courtisane Records

Record Details

Elliott Murphy - Murph The Surf

Murph the Surf is the second independent album by singer-songwriter Elliott Murphy and was distributed widely throughout Europe on Disc AZ in France and CBS Records in Sweden.


  1. Continental Kinda Girl -:-- / 4:39
  2. Off the Shelf -:-- / 3:59
  3. Baby I’ve Been Thinkin’ -:-- / 2:50
  4. Modern Romance -:-- / 4:25
  5. You Got it Made -:-- / 4:22
  6. The Fall of Saigon -:-- / 6:10
  7. Dusty Roses -:-- / 5:34
  8. Garden City -:-- / 4:24
  9. Calling on Cathleen -:-- / 3:28
  10. Blue Towers -:-- / 3:38
  11. In a Minute -:-- / 3:20


Have you seen her – dressed in red fur
And she’s walking down a street like Fifth Avenue
She’s got fine shoes – she don’t pay dues
Except for days and days with her psychoanalyst crew
Pink tights at night for the disco – Fall calls her to balls in San Francisco
Airports and luggage such a nuisance
Mention politics and she throws in her two cents

Continental kind girl – Takes her scissors and she cuts off a curl
Continental kind girl – Puts it in her jewelry box like a pearl
Continental kind girl – She says when this you see you will remember me
I say my God I’ll follow you around the world

I got my faults I don’t need no Gestalt
Don’t need no Twentieth Century insecurity plan
And I confess I’d like to watch you undress
I’ll help you take off your jewelry – Ill help you any way I can
Pulling up in a chauffeur driven Cadillac
To an after-hours club – some say its where its at
But whose that gentlemen with the…I’m asking you whose the old man with the… (CHORUS)

And I think now am I too hard – Its just the sight of those credit cards
Or is it just petty jealousy – But when I’m walking down 57th street
And our eyes just happen to meet I know I need a… (CHORUS)

She gets in motion on either side of the ocean
She can hang out with the dirty rock and rollers – Hang out with the sheiks
Important places, Important faces – She goes through customs carrying psychedelic antiques
Remember madam Claude where the rich men would buy her
anything she wanted as long as she was wanted
As long as she was wanted my dreams they are haunted by a… (CHORUS)

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The Harvard child-poet – Mister Machine Stickman
See you later down at Max’s – I call it my band
We’ll see what happens – We’ll see what grows
I say some day we’ll retire to the coast of Mexico

You can keep it to yourself
You just can’t play it by yourself
Take Rock ‘n Roll off the shelf

I got my Stratocaster – I got my liner notes
I know who my heroes are – And I can recognize Judas goats
Cause something happened – When the dollar signs got in his eyes
All he gained were losses – I was not surprised


A decade going down
Once again he heard the voice say Downtown
Can’t you hear that sound – Hear that sound
You owe some dues – To sing those blues

So watch the child-poet – Watch the Machine stickman
Dickie Sohl is at the Mudd Club – I call it my band
Because something happened
Something died and then started to grown
He won’t discuss the reasons
But you know – you know

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Baby I’ve been thinking
And baby I’ve been drinking
Seems like such a long time
Like it’s always just the wrong time
Dreams of milk and honey
They never did come through

And here’s to you – what you put me through
With your sha la la and your la di da

Never had much money
And it always seemed to funny
We’d be eating TV dinner
Saying someday we’ll be winners
But those visions of a future
They never did come true


What can I do – The dance is through
And all I got left is my guitar
Baby I’ve been thinking
And baby I’ve been drinking

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I’d like to take you away with me
We’ll take a tramps teamer to Tahiti
Paint water color pictures of the native girls
Swim in the lagoon and dive for pearls

Because hey now baby we could have it all
If we forget about the little pieces let them lie just where they fall
And take it slow now – take it slow now
Take it slow now – slow now
I’ll take a Modern Romance
The only way we got a chance

My favorite stories are of lovers all
Humphrey Bogart – Loren Bacall
And when they ask me where I want to be
It’s where I love her and she loves me

I’d like to keep a little mystery
Read no newspapers – watch no TV
You wonder what we do inspirationally
I look at her – she looks at me


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And when the deal was through
She said there’s something left to do
She took him by the hand
She said I understand a man
He faintly remembered that style
And that memory made him smile

You got it made – You got it made
You got it made – In the shade

Down by the dirty canal
The conversation was banal
She said you look like Huck Finn
He said Tom Sawyer is who I’ve been
She said you like Mark Twain
Try Thomas McGuane


And then the deal was done
She put away her knife and gun
She said let’s get something to eat
And there’s some people I gotta meet
He said I guess that’s it
She said It’s all in the fit


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Captain they’re calling they don’t want us falling behind
There’s no use in stalling there’s no use in drawing a line
Let’s get out of this rice paddy before I step onto some god damn mine
And we’ll take a jeep and watch the fall of Saigon

And hey girl its over
Goodbye white cliffs of Dover
Sail onto free lands
The boys all come home

Call girls are crying as helicopters fly their loves away
There’s a panic at the embassy a blood bath is coming they all say
And what’s come between us I try but I just can’t get it on
Love has turned to politics – like the fall of Saigon


And darling I’m lying you’re right I’m just sick of trying
This romance is ending
That feeling is gone

You got your mystery and I got what’s left of this song
And just like southeast Asia I don’t know if I’m right or if I’m wrong
Some things are worth fighting for and some things well they’re just gone
But I remember the night we watched the fall of Saigon


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Trying my best to walk straight in a row
Feeling just like Edgar Allen Poe
And wishing I had someplace good to go
It was election time
Streetlights were out – the bars they were closed
And I’m saying to myself
Elliott , its just not the ending I chose
And the Statue of Liberty
Looks out to sea – says who knows
Maybe tomorrow – maybe tomorrow

And she said: I don’t want your dusty roses
I can’t stand when you mix beauty with tragedy
And she said: I don’t want your Dusty Roses
There’s just no place in the life of a girl like me

We could take courses we could brush up on our French
Move to Paris try and live like artists
I was gonna say more and then I forgot all the rest
Sometimes that’s better
And even I’m betting bored seeing sunrise
Thinking of everything I’d like to buy
And me and my friends got much too high
But I don’t blame them
No, I don’t blame them

Just no place in the life a girl like me
Ain’t no place in the life of that lady

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I remember manicured lawns
I remember thinking that I can’t hold on
Garden City
White girls – white boys
New cars and lots of drugs and toys
Garden City
Scared people scared town
Can’t stand no questions around
Dishwashers run by maids
Live lost outnumber lives saved

You wore blue to the prom
We took LSD
We all had our best clothes on
Garden City
You shoot pool with your custom cues
We got three country clubs
Lots and lots of booze
Garden City

Sit down – you tell me
Everything you know about equality
Do all kids get the very same chance
To live their lives in a button down commuter trance

I’m not angry I’m not mad
What I am is very very sad
for Garden City
Cause I know in a few years
I’ll be watching hockey games and drinking beer
In somewhere like Garden City
Who said that you can’t go home
Someone once said you’ll feel like a Rolling Stone
But I feel like a hooked fish
Being landed on a boat they call Death Wish
Death Wish Death Wish
Garden City

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There’s a dwarf on a skateboard on Lexington Avenue
Blue jacket striped tie
And he knows what the traffic can do
Well I’m walking down the street
With the wind in my face
I got a lady on my mind she’s in Victorian Lace
I say uh oh creativity get me through

Well I’m visiting Victoria
I’m visiting Veronica
I love to play her harmonica
Her piano too
I’m calling on Cathleen
She’s the one who makes me jump and scream
I’m in no pain you gotta know what I mean
Calling on Cathleen
Things are not what they seem

I watch her comb her hair
I’m sitting on her big brass bed
She’s talking on the telephone
I can’t hear what the caller has said
But she says oh my goodness oh my my
And when the pizza boy comes she’s dress in only a tie
I say uh oh creativity get me through

I watch her count her money
Getting high on hundred dollar bills
She says what’s a girl to do when the mattress starts to fill
Now you can take it to the bank
You can eat your breakfast out
They say you can’t take it with you
But the girls’ got doubts
Uh oh creativity get me through


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Oh will you see her
Kneeling on a bed full of fire
Her eyes are magic
And her young man waits quite a while
She’s in no hurry
Her touch can travel many a mile
Oh baby – make me smile
Oh baby – have my child

Back in a corner
Back into the windowless home
The dogs are crying
They put cement down where they buried their bones
I want to touch her
Feel her now she’s smooth like a stone
Oh baby adjust my tone
Oh baby I love the way you make me feel so alone

Inside a fragrant forest lies her castle
Mysterious and dark and damp and warm
She can take you there
You follow the scent of her hair

Oh I am waiting
Waiting for the touch of her tongue
She brings the darkness
She brings the light of sensuality young
I can hear her
Her footsteps tune is faintly being sung
Oh baby let’s have some fun
Oh baby make me young
Oh baby I can’t believe we finally won
Oh baby meet me underneath the black sun

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Yea though I walk through the fire
My heart is strong with desire
Lift me higher and higher
Could been in a minute
Or in just one day
Even while you’re in it
What’s a gonzo gonna say
When the love just walks his way
What you think you’re gonna say
Hey hey hey

I can see the gates open for glory
I can feel the might of a righteous story
I can feel the power of a lovers story

Yea though we fall in the fire
Our hearts beat strong with desire
Lifting us higher and higher

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All Songs by Elliott Murphy ©1988 & 2002 – Published by Elliott Murphy – Lyrics Reprinted by Permission

Murph The Surf
Courtisane Records KMH 709232

Produced by Elliott Murphy
Executive Producer: Matthew Murphy
Recorded at Sundragon Studios, New York City
Engineered by Michael George Ewing
Assistant Engineer: Thom Santiago
Mixed by Elliott Murphy, Matthew Murphy & Michael Ewing
Photos by Mick Rock

Elliott Murphy: guitars, harmonica, vocals
Ernie Brooks: bass, backing vocals
Richard Sohl: keyboards
Tony Machine: drums
Jesse Chamberlain: drums
Peter Gordon: saxophone, clarinet, synthesizer

Record By Record, Murphy By Murphy: Murph The Surf

By this time I had a really good band with Richard Sohl on keyboards (Patti Smith Group) and Tony Machine on drums and of course Ernie Brooks on bass. We recorded most of Murph The Surf in New York in two days and it had lots of success in Europe, nearly going gold in Italy. Mick Rock who did so many great David Bowie and Lou Reed photographs did the cover. “The Fall of Saigon” is probably my favorite song and I love Peter Gordon’s clarinet.

About The Cover – “The Fall Of…”

I met Mick Rock through Lou Reed somewhere downtown and always liked him and especially all the great covers he did for Lou and David Bowie. Mick was living in New York and had a studio of his own so one afternoon Cathy Smith and I just showed up and said “Let’s go!” I was fooling around with the Surfer pose and Mick liked how it looked and so he put up a fan to blow my hair and Cathy sat like a mermaid on the shore although actually we were sitting on an old trunk of the guy who had posed for Lou Reed’s Transformer album. I had a Telecaster hanging off my back and the lettering of Elliott Murphy is very close to my signature. I was entering the Independent world so I could do what I wanted. This was my blackest cover but I was riding a stormy wave and didn’t care where I crashed.

Liner Notes

“Did you really surf?” she asked with a sensuous dose of skepticism

“I can’t hear you,” he yelled from the shower. He had been singing a protest song from the Sixties. “Did you say something?” He wrapped himself in a beach towel.

“It wasn’t important,” she replied. “I was thinking of someone else. More coffee?”

“No, no…I think it’s time for a beer. The shower always makes me thirsty.” He glanced out the window. “Looks kinda flat out there today.”

“How odd,” she remarked. Her water was boiling.

“You know…I can remember watching the smokestacks,” he said.

“What on earth for?”

“Why…to tell which direction the wind was blowing of course.”

“I bet you’re gong to say that those were the days,” she said as she looked ahead at next month’s calendar, unafraid.

“Those were the days,” he said.

By the time of his fifth full-length album, Elliott Murphy had established himself as a club act in the Northeast and in Europe, touring with a tight band consisting of former Patti Smith Group keyboard player Richard Sohl, former Modern Lover Ernie Brooks, and drummer Tony Machine. Murphy, with his Stratocaster as the focus, however, was turning out a series of literate rock songs full of allusions to New York City and references to novelists and movie stars. On Murph the Surf, he reflected on everything from “Modern Romance” to “The Fall of Saigon” (metaphorically, anyway) with his characteristic wit.

William Ruhlmann – AllMusic

Click on any red link for images of each release.

Vinyl LPs

Courtisane Records KMH 709232

Disc AZ International AZ/2 418

Murphyland Records ML0004LP (2018)
*Note: Remastered audiophile edition.

Quality ‎SV2126/2
*Note: Titled The Elliott Murphy Collection, this was a two disc set. Disc one was Murph The Surf, disc two contained five of the six original tracks from Affairs with a live version of “Anastasia” recorded live at The Isabella in Toronto, Canada replacing “Veronique (The Actress).”


Fan Club Records FC 057 (1989)
Musicdisc 120423 (1996)

Many Records/Venus Records MN 30751 (2002)

Blue Rose Records BLU CD0297 (2002)

Spain: Dusty Roses Records DR010 (2002)

Teichiku Records TECP-25193

45rpm Vinyl Singles

“Baby I’ve Been Thinking” / “Veronique The Actress”
France: Disc AZ International 1-955 (Picture Sleeve)

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

Elliott Murphy - Murph The Surf
Murph The Surf – Alternate Cover Used For CD Reissue