For me the summer began on the 10th of May when I sang the folk standard “Buffalo Gals” with Bruce Springsteen and his incredible 18 piece (I think) Seeger Sessions dixieland & folk orchestra (my description). Great, great concert and from the incredible reaction at Bercy arena in Paris you would have thought that Bruce was singing his greatest hits with the E-Street Band. My old pal Garland Jeffries was on stage with me as well and we were both touched by Bruce’s generous introduction before we came onstage when he referred to us as “blood brothers” (in French!) and said it was an honor to share the stage with us. And truly the honor was ours as well. The three of us all share such common roots: geographically, culturally and musically and there is a wonderful and warm sense of friendship that surrounds us. I first met Bruce Springsteen after a very early show of his at Max’s Kansas City in New York in 1972 and it was also in Max’s that I would hear Garland Jeffrey’s “Wild In The Street” played constantly on the club jukebox. Amazing to think that we’re talking about events from 35 years ago! And yet the music we all made back then continues to beat in our own hearts and so many others. And yet I still feel the best is yet to come …
Speaking of which, I am gradually formulating a new album tentatively titled Coming Home Againand I feel a bit like Gustave Flaubert who when asked about his new novel replied “Yes it is finished … now I just have to write it!” And it’s the same way with Coming Home Again, which I hope will be released in January 2007. The songs are spread out all over the place, like grazing cattle, and cowboys its time to mount up and get to the song roundup. In fact, we already did a lot of recording in Le Havre and I plan to do more at home in Paris and maybe in New York in he next few months. At our recent London show at the Borderline Olivier and I had the great pleasure of sharing the stage with my friend and trumpet player Achilles who plays with The Dandy Warhols (one of my favorite new bands) and Achilles has got the soul of Chet Baker and the mystery of Miles Davis and recording with him should be something else. Stay tuned.
Bob Dylan wrote that “I’ll know my song well before I start singing” and I’ve taken his advice to heart and have begun performing songs from Coming Home Again well in advance of their recording rendezvous. Songs like “Losing It” and “40 Days and 40 Nights” and “Pneumonia Alley” and a few others are all finding their way to our shows these days. Maybe I should just release singles on iTunes and do shows so there is a continual flow of new available tracks. This is what Elvis did! But as I said I’m a child of the 60’s not the 50’s and this is the decade when the “album” entered the vernacular of modern art forms like “novel” and “film” and my own albums always seem to be more then a collection of songs for me. The best albums seem to capture the zeitgeist of the moment and forever mark that moment in our lives.
Anyway, speaking of Bob Dylan, it is my profound honor to open for him on July 15th at the Pistoia Blues Festival in Italy. It’s a long time coming. I’ve seen many of his shows and am always impressed at his power. He is truly the Picasso of Rock ‘n Roll. Lately, I can’t get his song “Born In Time” out of my head and would like to record it as well.
What’s new with me? Well, I saw Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris play together in Paris and it was quietly beautiful and moving. I’m reading Jesus Son by Denis Johnson and I like it as well as Burrough’s best. Saw a Canadian film Crazy that made me cry and the Ingres exhibition at the Louvre which didn’t although he sure can capture a woman’s back in all its infinite glory. And I have recently bought from iTunes (where you can now purchase and download my own albums as well) the following: “Le Fil” (Camille), “Frenchette” (Sylvain Sylvain), “Parachutes” (Pearl Jam), “You Have Killed Me” (Morrissey), and my all time favorite “Horny As A Dandy” (Dandy Warholsw/Mouse T).
[The photograph above is of me and the very talented and beautiful Patti Scialfa singing “Buffalo Gals” at Bercy in Paris on May 10, 2006)
Elliott Murphy, Paris, 20 June 2006