Some forty years after Aquashow’s original release on Polydor, Elliott Murphy has reconsidered the songs he originally wrote in his early twenties. Now in his mid 60s he revisits these song from a different time and emotional viewpoint. The album was produced by his son Gaspard, who is now the same age as Murphy was when the album was released. Elliot’s voice is tinged with the wisdom (or lack of it) that age brings and the music is still compelling. The songs are in the same order and delivered in similar keys and tempos. Anyone acquainted with the album will be more than happy to revisit its charms - like a old friend come to visit.
Aquashow has long been out of print and my vinyl version has been lost in the mists of time, so this release is welcome. It opens with Last of the Rockstars with that familiar opening line and plaintive harmonica. Though titled as Deconstructed the father and son duo have given each song a new setting. Guitar and piano are central, as is the harmonica with added contributions from long time collaborator Olivier Durand as well as percussion, keyboards and strings and you have a full sounding album. At times there is a surfeit of emotion to be heard as in How’s the Family which considers that uniquely strange unit.
Then there are songs from which the album drew upon literary sources such as Like a Great Gatsby. Marilyn is a paean to the ill-fated screen goddess Monroe. White Middle Class Blues could be a song that might be the lyrical template for the origins of aspects of late 70s hard rock and punk. The album closes with Don’t Go Away which seems like a renewed plea for love delivered with more hope than realism. These ten songs have stood the test of time and Murphy continues to make albums that matter. He deserves to be more than a footnote in the long forgotten “new Bob Dylan” sweepstakes; rather Murphy was always his own man and one who found, if not fame, then at least an attentive audience in France where henow lives and works. He may not be the last of the rockstars, but he is one who has lasted.