Unreal City

Razor & Tie

Record Details

Elliott Murphy - Unreal City

A U.S. only release, Unreal City combines the majority of 12 with a few tracks from If Poets Were King.


  1. Sicily (Tropic Of Separation) -:-- / 3:35
  2. I Couldn’t Touch You -:-- / 3:25
  3. The Price I Pay -:-- / 2:28
  4. Destiny -:-- / 3:36
  5. The Malady And The Medicine -:-- / 3:55
  6. Rio Grande Revisited -:-- / 3:09
  7. On Elvis Presley’s Birthday -:-- / 3:28
  8. The Epicenter -:-- / 3:59
  9. On The Wings Of Icarus -:-- / 3:08
  10. Sacrifice -:-- / 3:44
  11. Automatic Erotic -:-- / 3:24
  12. Eliza -:-- / 3:24
  13. Greetings From Sydney -:-- / 3:14
  14. Something Like Steve McQueen -:-- / 4:25
  15. Let It Rain -:-- / 4:45


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

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

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 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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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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Standing on the shore of the Rio Grande
The suitcase and the child in her hand
Waiting for a signal from the man
Cross over the river – cross into the promised land
By the Rio Grande

Floating off the coast of Vietnam
You got twenty in the boat maybe twenty more hanging on
A freighter cruised by flashing the stars and stripes
Dreams of Hollywood – LAX tonight
And Hollywood’s in sight

I’m checking out your social systems
I’m checking out your social benefits
Most of them are non-existent
Hello Uncle Sam don’t you treat me like shit

The tyrant and his mistress breeze through customs
Carrying their bloody loot in Louis Vuitton sacs
The politicians – no – you just can’t trust em
The people screaming give our money back
Can you dig that

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Words and music by Elliott Murphy

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

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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On The wings of Icarus too close to the sun
But hot enough for Coltrane
Meet my wife and my son
Thieves are moving fast now
Better walk don’t run
Purify my passions
A new life has begun

Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde
Jack the Ripper too
They’re living now in your home town
Just watch the news
I’m trying to walk a straight line
I’m trying to do what’s right
Like Wrestling alligators
On a Florida night

And every minute that I’m away
I hear you calling
Calling me home home to stay
I hear you calling
I don’t know what I should say

On the wings of Icarus
Better Fly by night
On the wings of Icarus
A vertical eagle’s flight
On the wings of Icarus
I see my baby’s lights
On the wings of Icarus
Take me home tonight

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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 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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Come down Eliza you’re not alone
I’ve been here waiting on a peacock throne
You be my barefoot princess of the night
Say it isn’t right
Say it isn’t right

White slip over black skin
A tiny window lets the moonlight in
We tough it out as lovers do
Oh man it can get to you
We stared them down at such a price
I look at you and all I say is oh Christ
Say it isn’t right
Say it isn’t…

hey when the lights go down
I go to see my baby down in shanty town
A cotton dress – she’s standing there
A neon bar sign standing there
hey man its all she wrote
Carry pieces of my heart in a goodbye note
Say it isn’t right
Say it isn’t

So many year crawling toward the truth
This veil of tears seasons of abuse
Does victory ever come

Full moon is rising can’t you hear me moan
Moaning for the lost love that I couldn’t own
I’m standing by this ocean
Skipping stones
Say it isn’t right


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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

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

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

Unreal City
Razor & Tie

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

“Rio Grande Revisited” & “On The Wings of Icarus”
Produced by Elliott Murphy & Roger Robindore
Recorded at studio 60 Lausanne, Switzerland
Mastered by Raphael Johnin
Elliott Murphy – guitar vocal, harmonica
Roger Robindore – drums, mandolin, percussion
Art Labriola – organ, piano
Ernie Brooks – bass, vocal

Produced by Elliott Murphy, Ernie Brooks, Roger Robindore
Recorded at Studio of the Three Brothers, Paris, France
Mastered by Raphael Johnin
Elliott Murphy vocal, guitar, harmonica
Ernie Brooks – bass, vocal
Roger Robindore – drums & bongoes
Benoit Urban – accordion

About The Cover – “Jack Kerouac And Elvis Presley”

Another Marc Ginot shot that we did one afternoon down in Montpellier. My wife Françoise had bought me the custom Perfecto leather jacket I’m wearing to keep me warm. Unreal City came from Jack Kerouac and then I used it in “On Elvis Presley’s Birthday.” I look kind of annoyed in this photo for some reason. Maybe it’s because I’m carrying a guitar around!

“What I wanted was a simple production of provocative performances: a non-concert live album,” writes Elliott Murphy in the liner notes to Unreal City, an abridged, revised, and resequenced version of his 1990 album 12, which was released outside the U.S. in 1990. (12 had 21 tracks; Unreal City 15, 12 of which were on the earlier album.) The songs (“a diary of sorts,” according to the songwriter) include reminiscences of childhood along with comments on his new status as a father as well as Murphy’s reflections 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 underproduced on this record as compared to some of his earlier albums, which gives them a more direct appeal. Fans may regret that the album has been cut down for domestic release, but in fact, 12 was a sprawling work; Unreal City benefits from the deletion of extraneous songs and the addition of a few better ones, and, at close to 54 minutes, it’s still a full-length record.

William Ruhlmann – AllMusic


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Elliott Murphy - Waterloo Records In-Store Ad 1993
Waterloo Records In-Store Ad 1993
Elliott Murphy - Unreal City Press Photo
Unreal City Press Photo
Elliott Murphy - Unreal City Bio
Unreal City Bio