Party Girls / Broken Poets

Courtisane/WEA International

Record Details

Elliott Murphy - Party Girls And Broken Poets

Party Girls / Broken Poets marked a partial return to a major label for singer-songwriter Elliott Murphy and was distributed throughout Europe on WEA and in the US on the independent Austin, Texas label Dejadisc. The album was nominated for the 1984 New York Music Award for Album of the year. Special guests included former New York Dolls front man David Johansen who contributed guest vocals on “Blues Responsibility” as well as Violent Femmes member Brian Ritchie who contributed a bass solo on the title cut “Party Girls and Broken Poets.”


  1. Three Complete American Novels -:-- / 3:18
  2. Winners, Losers, Beggars, Choosers -:-- / 4:35
  3. Doctor Calabash -:-- / 3:57
  4. Blues Responsibility -:-- / 4:13
  5. Saving Time -:-- / 4:34
  6. Party Girls & Broken Poets -:-- / 5:05
  7. Like a Rocket -:-- / 2:50
  8. Last Call -:-- / 4:50
  9. Something New -:-- / 4:26
  10. The Streets of New York -:-- / 4:12
  11. In a Minute (Bonus Track) -:-- / 3:23
  12. Everybody Knows [Niagara Falls] (Bonus Track) -:-- / 5:23


Nine nights he crawled through the jungle
Dressed in khaki pursued by demons
He thought of her, he thought of something awful
What if the phone was tapped in Bogota
And he’s on the run, And the girl don’t come
And he smiles with a hand on his pistol
Says yeah, all right, hey hey – Say yeah, all right., hey hey

Sitting in his mansion his heart was burning
Sipping brandy while the fireplace crackled.
He smashed his glass said saddle up Midnight
To hell with the humor of her simple minded suit
And he’s on the run – Horse sweat steaming in the midnight sun
And much later with the noose around his neck he said
Yeah, all right hey – I say, yeah, all right, hey

Three complete American Novels
Get them while they’re hot while something still matters
Three complete American novels
Get them while they’re hot while something still matters
Say yeah

In the cafe under the table – A dirty envelope is just bursting with hundreds
He said Gringo don’t forget whose side you are on
I said Hey Senor the sides are all long gone
So here’s to the mad mad days in Havana
When we thought our youth was eternal
And the rebels they were fighting in the mountains
while the mafia was building a gambling palace
And the only thing that mattered was a girl named Maria

I say yeah, all right hey hey
I said yeah all right hey hey

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He was reading Playboy he was thinking that today boy he would try to change his pattern, step up on the ladder of success maybe buy some new clothes.
She was in a hotel lobby, making money was no hobby, waiting for her sugar daddy, she would try to make him happy (heaven knows, she could use new clothes…)
Subways full of loners, with their guitars and their hohners singing songs of pacification till the police kick em out of the metro station for disturbing the peace.
I was sleeping in a hotel had a dream about a motel I was somewhere in the heartland gonna make a brand new start man all I need is a Mustang coupe.

And there were winners, losers, beggars dying to be choosers
I can’t stop it but give me strength I’ll try to rock it
Looking in the mirror everything was so much clearer, his hairline was receding but tonight he’d be eating fine food and drinking fine wine
He had a slight hangover when she arrived it was over he opened the window a crack and he told her of his father’s heart attack (still brought a tear to his eye).
But as he talked she said you lost me could you order me some coffee I’m confused about your marriage about your wife and the baby carriage, he said that’s the way things go.
And the taxis were lined up the guest lists were signed up with the promise of the evening her perfume so teasing and strong and she felt nothing at all.

Later in the deli she said don’t you dare sell me shorter than you I’m only making ends meet all the time, he said I know what you mean.
She said why don’t you play your guitar. He said my place ain’t far we can discuss politics but all they heard was the was the way the clock would tick, (the way time stood still).
Have you ever been to Venice you know I could take us, I need to get away I need…and than she started to cry he said you don’t need to say nothing.
And the gondolas they were lined up the grand canal was shined up. They were sipping cappuccino and the pigeons flew in harmony and he smiled he said, “Now this, this is something”.

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I’m sweating all my dreams away – The hotel says I’d better pay
And the border closed up yesterday – So I crawl to the phone
take out the dirty matchbook I got the number written on
but a voice say He’s gone – Doctor Calabash ain’t home

I wonder how I got this far? – Tequila from a jelly jar
I used to be a soap opera star – So I crawl out the hall
Sounds like the next room – they’re really having a ball
But a sign says it all – Doctor Calabash ain’t home

Oh wee – What’s gonna happen to me?
Aw shucks – I’m overdrawn on all my luck
Oh, no the tarot cards said I’d better go
Oh No

Thank God I got my saxophone – So I don’t feel completely alone
The bellhop says I’m coming along – I say I used to play every day
down at the 305 lounge down Hempstead way – till one day they said Hey
I’m sorry son but you cannot stay – Doctor Calabash has come home

Number one let’s have fun – Number two what can we do
Number three come with me – Number four through that door
Number five give it a try – Number six If the shoe fits
Number seven this is heaven – Number eight this feels great
Number nine this is divine – Number ten let’s do it again
Cause Doctor Calabash, Doctor Calabash Doctor Calabash came home

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He put the poison in the whiskey Mississippi love in van
Messing with my wife This potion gonna drive you insane
I’ll see you crawling on the floor hear you barking like a dog
Hey Robert Johnson gonna bury you by your crossroads

And every day – In every way
When you talk about RESPONSIB…
Responsibility – Blues Responsibility
Responsibility – Blues Responsibility

Down on Dockery Farm wait for sundown to come along
Muddy Waters is tired but he sits down to write a song
Says I’m a hoochie coochie man – And I’m a Rolling Stone
So I’m going to Chicago – The south side be my home

John Lee Hooker sits on stage – Patent leather shoes – Never misses a beat
Two white girls – Frizzy hair light cigarettes – Endless boogie
Boom, boom, boom – One two…

See her walking down the street – Looking tough as Al Capone
Says my name is Bessie Smith – New Orleans is my home
You know after the wreck the hospital – turned her away
They said sorry baby this is where the white folks stay


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Oh my darling hold on to me
while we shall flee through a smoky sea
Running slowly by yellow fields
In yellow fields there are flowers to steal
Saving time, Saving time

Oh give me something to think about
While we lounge about in this big dark house
Put your feet up we’re on the porch
Shall we light a torch for the latecomers
Saving Time, Saving Time

Show me closely your charm bracelet
What’s that hanging from it
Is it a rocket ship
Search the horizon for friendly planes
In the nuclear game
I guess they’re all the same
Saving time, saving time

Sunsets are scare so we won’t look
Is that all it took for the world to cook
The only thing moving are satellites
Oh God they’re very bright by the dawn’s early light
Saving Time, saving time

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From the peninsula we stare across the bay
From the peninsula we talk of yesterday
Of the parties that are over – And who the midnight boys took home
And now I sit and watch street walkers – standing next to a pay phone

She took a moonlight swim – She glides across the bay
We took a motorcar – Said we’d meet you half way
And we waited for an hour – And they searched the whole next day
But they never found nobody – Some parties just end up that way

When you go out with a bad girl – You do things you thought you wouldn’t do
When you go out with a bad boy – You do things you thought you couldn’t do
You thought you wouldn’t do

Like a crystal ship, the poets words will stay
Like a teenage nymph, he gave too much away
They use to find him in the morning
With his head held in his hands – And he’d be crying about Lolita
He said is anybody gonna understand
He’d talk of Indians – He said they never lost their way
But with us white men – The magic can just fade away
Some say the opium drove him crazy
Some say the Beaujolais drove him insane
But there’s an Indian girl named Lolita – dancing in Mexico in steaming rain


There’s not a word of truth – in anything I say
But I can’t tell a lie – I was brought up that way
All these stories have no meaning – Except for what you can see
Of party girls and broken poets – They’re not too different from you and me.


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To make a living is not so easy
She makes my living not so hard
In the mirror stands the reflection of her father
She feels his gaze coming rom afar
Like a rocket coming down from a star

Before the crash there was a panic
Before the fall there was a lie
Before this beginning here was another ending
And before your very birth you know you had to once die
Like a rocket blowing up in the sky

Everybody say they can’t hear the answer
When they question much too loud
I was looking for a long legged dancer
looking for someone who’s very proud

All these decisions are unnecessary
The path of true love’s very clear
But once again we put on our wayfarers
Don’t want the sun coming down too near
There’s a rocket coming down right here
I feel a rocket coming down right here
There’s a rocket coming down right here
I feel a rocket coming down right here

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You got your reasons and most of them are right
I’m not as scared of losing you as I’m scared to lose a fight
I think of the good days and all that I did wrong
You know baby you asked a lot of me
And I guess I’m not that strong

Lay down beside me
And be mine tonight
I won’t mention tomorrow if you’ll just
turn out the light
For this last call tonight

Phone calls in the morning
And I spend my nights alone
I guess I’m getting used to it
I’m getting used to getting stoned
Lying in bed watching TV
I remember when she was here
The I reach out to hold her
But there’s nothing, nothing very near


Now my friends they all ask me
‘What could be worth that kind of pain
And if you had it to do over
Would you do it all once again
And I say in moment
Yeah I’d do it all in a flash
Compared to what she gave me
Its just not that much to ask

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The lights went out when I first saw her
She took the breath right out of me
I better watch our or I might adore you
And my friends say hey
you get nothing for free

Now its a risk I cannot argue
Gamble on love you chance on misery
But rumor said that you were lonely
Did you hear
the same was true for me

Something new, something new
Something new, something new
I wanted something new
Just like you
Some new And something true
And I think I could spend a lifetime learning bout you

After the night
the morning after
I was shy you were embarrassed too
Was it all right
You did not answer
They you said I love you


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His body’s aching and he’s lying in the door
I cannot look at him he’s covered up with sores
He was an inmate once a victim of the stress
They put him back into society
And they gave him this address
On the streets of New York I see no evil On the streets of new York I see only people

I see a little baby
Its on the evening news
Someone left him in a hallway in a box that’s meant for shoes
I cannot look at this
I swear I’m not that number
I can’t blame his mother
How could she now what she done
Hey baby
Won’t you pick me up won’t you take me out tonight
Put on your sexy clothes
We’ll sty up till its light
I am not using o
And you’re no using me
But I’ll use everything I got for a moment to be free

I am no preacher man I’ve done more wrong that right
Pick me up and we’ll get high tonight
I just don’t wanna fight
But I’m a witness man
and believe me so are you
Close your eyes close our ears close your mouth
We Ain’t monkeys man get that through


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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

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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Received your postcard
Mailed to the wrong address
You said everything is happening much too fast
And your hair is a mess
You been drinking too much liquor
You better stick to the wine
You say there’s a reason for all of this
You’re gonna write me a nice long letter when you got some time

Every body knows
When you take off your clothes
Everybody knows
You got a tattoo that shows
You’ve been trying to get your point across for so long
heaven knows

You been stripping in the night club
You been working on the street
You say its all some sex money mind game
We’re all a piece of meat
You been driving into Buffalo
And you’ve been cruising the bars
I said baby when they’re through with you
They’re gonna pickle your heart and put it in a jar


I received your telex from ITT
You said everything’s happening much too slow and what’s to become of me
You been doing too much jogging
You’re all shook up
You can’t stay off the telephone
And you’re goodbyes are abrupt


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All Songs by Elliott Murphy ©1983 & 2018 Murphyland – Lyrics Reprinted by Permission

Party Girls/Broken Poets
Courtisane/WEA International

Produced by Elliott Murphy & Ernie Brooks
Re-Mixed by Gaspard Murphy from the original 24 track tapes in 2018

The Band
Elliott Murphy – Vocals, Guitars, Harmonica, Organ
Ernie Brooks – Bass & Backing Vocals
Tony Machine – Drums & Percussion
Richard Sohl – Piano, Organ, Synthesizer
Peter Gordon – Saxophone & Clarinet

Special Guests
David Johannsen – Vocals & Harmonica (“Blues Responsibility”)
Brian Ritchie – Slide Guitar (“Blues Responsibility”), Acoustic Bass Guitar – (“Party Girls and Broken Poets”)

Recorded at Battery Sound, NYC Autumn 1983
Engineer: Mark Freedman
Assistant Engineer: Eric Liljestrand
Photo: Jeanne Strongin
Tape Restoration 2018: Poussin
Mastered by Raphael Jonin

Record By Record, Murphy By Murphy: Party Girls / Broken Poets

Ernie knew this little recording studio right next to The World Trade Center in New York with a topless bar just next door and we spent a lot of time in that bar watching the dancers and talking about… big production ideas. To me this album was like a novel, all the songs connected to one another in some way. I finally, got my long time pal David Johannsen (New York Dolls) to sing and play harp on “Blues Responsibility” because I always thought he was a bluesman at heart and Brian Ritchie (Violent Femmes) did a few guest appearances as well. The late Richard Sohl really played some beautiful piano. The summer after the album came out I took the band to the Montreux Jazz Festival.

Taken from Crossroads magazine.

About The Cover – “Not A Word Of Truth”

I had this strong sense that album covers had to reflect the history of the moment so I chose to shoot right outside my door on Gramercy Park in New York City. Cathy Smith just put on a fur coat over her lingerie and stepped right outside. I spread newspaper on the pavement and lay down with a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau and Ray Bans to block the sun. Photographer Jeanne Strongin was from the neighborhood and I forget where we met – perhaps Rolling Stone had hired her to take photos of me some time but I’m not sure. Anyway, I was shocked when I saw the final results and how much of a broken poet I actually resembled. And I thought maybe I should clean up my act.

Party Girls/Broken Poets is an elegant album by underground visionary Elliott Murphy. The black-and-white cover on gold and white gives a hint to the music inside. The first portion of the album takes a while to kick in, until the third song, “Dr. Calabash.” It’s a real grabber that is perhaps the strongest track here. With co-production and bass supplied by ex-Modern Lover Ernie Brooks, the sensibilities are in place, but what’s missing from Murphy’s music is that little extra edge that early Jonathan Richman contained — the spark caught from obsession with the Velvet Underground. “Something New” is a perfect example of how the artist can sometimes miss the mark. It’s a cute little pop tune, but it doesn’t have the magnetism of, say, the Modern Lovers’ “Astral Plane” or Johnny Thunder’s “In Cold Blood.” “Last Call” is a fine song with a wonderful hook. It may be what inspired Murphy’s French recording company to call themselves Last Call Records; previously they were New Rose taken from the Damned song of the same name. The title track, “Party Girls and Broken Poets,” is nicely insightful, and “Like a Rocket” has its moments as well. Guest appearances by David Johansen and Violent Femmes’ Brian Ritchie on “Blues Responsibility” still can’t keep it from sounding like John Cougar Mellencamp, and for Elliott Murphy’s audience, that’s not a plus. On “The Streets of New York,” the poet sees “only people.” Don’t believe it for a moment — he sees a lot more than people, but it might take a Bob Ezrin or Jack Douglas old-school producer to help him refine that intuition. He’s an interesting and prolific artist with a fan base, and this is a worthwhile recording nonetheless.

Joe Viglione – AllMusic

Vinyl LPs

Courtisane/WEA International 251 221-1

Murphyland Records ML0002LP (2018)
*Note: Remxied and remastered audiophile edition.


Dejadisc DJD 3201 (1992)


Dejadisc DJC 3201 (1992)

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