It’s been 44 years since the American singer/songwriter ELLIOTT MURPHY first made his mark on the rock music scene with his debut album Aquashow. The opener of this album that has since gained cult status was entitled ‚Last Of The Rock Stars‘ – in some ways that’s a clairvoyant motto for a remarkable career that’s not near its end. The 67-year-old artist who has been living in France for many years still has a few surprises up his sleeve. He never quite became a commercial rock star with #1 hits but Elliott Murphy is still a vital, seeking, creative force and someone who has never let himself be bent or pushed around, even though he might have stood in his own way once or twice. But that didn’t stop him from releasing album after album with admirable regularity and quality. Prodigal Son is his brand new album on Blue Rose Records. It’s not an anniversary record, simply another excellent album by Elliott Murphy who – in his own way – may be a true rock star and certainly is a unique artist.
Prodigal Son is his 35th album, more than a third of his oeuvre was released on Blue Rose. And almost all of these albums were developed in collaboration with French guitarist Olivier Durand. He has long been one of Europe’s finest, most original stringbenders with his fluid solos and excellent slide playing on acoustic & electric guitar and his mandolin picking. Together with Alan Fatras (drums) he forms Elliott’s backing band, The Normandy All-Stars. They have been accompanying Murphy on Coming Home Again (2006), Notes From The Underground (08), Alive In Paris (09), Elliott Murphy (10) and Aquashow Deconstructed and are doing so on Prodigcal Son, added by Gaspard Murphy, Elliott’s son, who replaced the longtime partner on bass, Laurent Pardo, who passed away in 2016. Murphy himself usually plays acoustic or electric guitar but also contributes banjo, piano and harmonica.
And what does the master himself think about the new album?
Like the story of the prodigal son in the Bible, these
nine sacred songs took the extravagant way home.
In fact, many of them were written before I changed
course in mid-stream, having decided with Aquashow
Deconstructed, to revisit my fi rst album.
when I returned, I found that the demos for these
songs had aged better then I had any right to expect.
But songs do have a life of their own, you know, and
while I was away on my Proustian journey, these ditties
seemed to have bonded with each other to the
point of forming an extended musical family; creating
some totality of tonality that was greater then the sum
of the parts, that was both cinematic and intimate,
as if you could put poetry on the big screen. They all
became part of the same story.
Thus from wobbly
baby steps of arrangement and lyric revision to an
eventual studio rally of time and space with basic
tracks, overdubs and mixing, every enchanting
musical element competing to come out on top, we
eventually brought these nine home to completion, to
a fully realized album. An album, just the word itself,
once upon a time meant more then a mumbo-jumbo
collection of tracks and rhymes. You better believe
that every good album, every meaningful album, is
a concept album by it’s very nature. At least that’s
what I believe, because there is a fi ne invisible thread
woven of soul, persistence and even a little madness
that binds it all together into one coherent work, one
book of songs, one album.
My thanks especially go out to my son and producer
Gaspard Murphy who puts up with his Dad on almost
a daily basis and at the same time seems to bring out
the best in me.
And sadly, I must dedicate this album to the memory
of Laurent Pardo, a fine bassist and a sensitive soul
who shared my musical journey for nearly a decade.
Au Revoir Laurent