Elliott Murphy
Just A Story From America

Just A Story From America
Columbia Records PC 34653
1977

  1. 1. Drive All Night
  2. 2. Summer House
  3. 3. Just A Story From America
  4. 4. Rock Ballad
  5. 5. Think Too Hard
  6. 6. Anastasia
  7. 7. Darlin' (And She Called Me)
  8. 8. Let Go
  9. 9. Caught Short In The Long Run

About The Album

I still am not quite sure why I went to London to record. I think I just liked to fly and stay in hotels and also, I guess, there was truth in the fact that the albums coming out of London in those days - the late seventies - sounded better. Some said it was because of English engineers being unafraid to record "in the red" with a bit of distortion. Anyway, first I went over there to attend the CBS (before it became Sony as it is now) International convention and it was there I met Mick Taylor and I was determined to have him play on my album in some way. Also, I went around interviewing producers and finally settled on Robin Geoffrey Cable who had been an engineer at Trident Studios and was famous for the Trident sound but what that was I don't remember now.

It was 1976 and the punks were just gaining speed and the Sex Pistols were using bad words on television and I knew that the kind of album I wanted to make - lush & literate - was out of steps with the coming revolution but I didn't care. I was staying at the Montcalm Hotel and one day they delivered the papers with breakfast and in typical English scandal/journalism way there was an article about "New Princess Anastasia Found!!!" and I remember sitting in my bed with my J-200 acoustic Guitar and writing that song, "Anastasia," that morning after reading the papers. It came fast like a dream, didn't have to write another verse a month later or anything like that; it came whole and complete and miraculous.

Then I went back to USA to write the rest of the songs for the album and I spent a drunken weekend out on Long Island where Geraldine and I had rented a barn next to the mansion of the wife of a record company executive at Columbia. I wrote "Think Too Hard," "Darling," "Summer House" and "Caught Short In The Long Run." "Rock Ballad" was written in London (I think) just so Mick Taylor could play on it. "Drive All Night" was already a few years old. In fact, I wrote it for the Night Lights album (it was called "Night Connection") at that time but we tried to record it and it didn't work. "Let Go," I wrote in California at another CBS convention about an Australian girl I met there. "Just A Story From America" was actually written during the sessions in London for the album but that came later.

Phil Collins was Robin Cable's idea: he had produced an album of Phil's (some side project of Genesis whose name I don't remember) but from the moment he entered the studio I knew it was a good idea. He was really funny and kept spirits up. I would have liked to work with him longer but he told me that Peter Gabriel had quit Genesis and he was thinking of singing himself because they couldn't find anybody else and he needed to rehearse. We had recorded nearly all the songs except "Caught Short In The Long Run" which we did later at he studio next to The Marquee Club in Soho.

We recorded all over London in about six studios because everything was crowded. First I did a demo of all the songs acoustically (I still have that) and then we did basic tracks. Except for Mick Taylor's on "Rock Ballad" I played all the other guitars which was probably a mistake and I sang ALL the harmonies but gave a credit to the "Nick Carraway Singers" in an obvious Gatsby reference. Geraldine and I had a good time in London, ate at Mr. Ciao's a lot, bought Cashmere sweaters (they were really cheap) and took one side trip to Amsterdam.

CBS loved the album although they didn't think there was a single on it. Anyway it came out and did pretty well, especially in France where "Anastasia" was hit on Radio Andorra. When I finally came to France to play in 1978 it seemed a long time ago that I recorded Just a Story... although it was only two years. Now its nearly twenty years and It seems like only yesterday. I think my favorite track is still "Anastasia."

Oh yeah, the one thing I really insisted on was that David Bailey would shoot the cover shots. He had done all those great early Stones' covers. CBS agreed although I never knew what they paid him. The album has bee re-released a few times by Sony in France and I'm really grateful for that. On the cover shot I look pretty rock star decadent but I guess I was at the time.

Elliott Murphy, Paris, April 97

 

Record By Record, Murphy By Murphy: Just A Story From America

I was so impatient for "something big" to happen and so I changed managers and record company (Columbia) and countries and went to London to record. English studios were famous for their big rock sound at this time and also for affordable string arrangements and choirs. I had lunch with Harry Nielsen and ex-Rolling Stone Mick Taylor played some guitar. I'll never forget when he walked into the studio carrying his own amp to use on his solo on "Rock Ballad." When I heard the Sex Pistols say "fuck" on British TV I knew the music world was going to change. There was a punk revolution on the way but I had a song called "Anastasia" who was the victim of another revolution. Phil Collins played drums and told great jokes.

Taken from Crossroads magazine