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Now, I wasn't alive back then, but what was everyone's obsession with finding the "Next Dylan?" Wasn't one Dylan enough? And also, isn't Bob Dylan so amazing that we really shouldn't expect another version any time soon? He's rock and roll Jesus. If another one of him comes along, it's probably the end times and it's time to start hoarding gas and peanut butter Twix bars. (if anyone knows where to get those please let me know.)   CLICK THROUGH FOR MORE...
Elliott Murphy was twenty four years old when he made this album. When I was twenty four I wrote a sketch about Mattel releasing a version of their lady dolls called "crack-whore Barbie." The sketch was pretty funny (I think Flint from G.I. Joe was involved somehow) but some would argue this album is way more impressive.

Aquashow is a great find by Dad because it does not sound dated at all. After a few listens, I could still see this record being released in the sixties, seventies, eighties, or ever nineties. The only thing that dates the record is the cover, which places it right around the fall of Helms Deep, before the rise of the Hobbits and the end of the Elven reign. Just imagine Legolas on vocals and harmonica, with Gimli and Aragorn rocking the keyboards and bass, respectively.
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Aquashow's lyrics are really the star of the show. 'Hangin' Out' and 'Hometown' both do a great job describing youth and all its wandering madness in 1973. But my favorite part of this album? The Na Na Na Nas! Out of all the things you can sing when you don't want to say words but whistling would sound too folksy, Na Na Na is by far the best. Think of all the great Na Na Na songs. There's that one about saying goodbye that they play after athletic contests, for one. There are others too. But man, 'Hangin' Out' has some of the best Na Na's I've ever heard.
(N.B. - 'Last of the Rock Stars' has some great Ooh Hoo Hoos, which are almost as good as Na Na Nas)

I did notice that this album borrows from quite a wide variety of music, but I guess that's why it sounded so familiar even though I'd never heard it before. 'How's the Family's chorus is Bowie's 'Starman,' and 'Graveyard Scrapbook' is like a sped up, poppy 'Leaving on a Jet Plane.' And 'Poise 'N Pen' (get it?) is his version of Dylan's 'Like a Rolling Stone.' It sounds like Dylan! He's the new Dylan! People really did their homework on that one.

These songs may be a bit borrowed, but there are definitely some new things, as well as something blue, or some blues. 'White Middle Class Blues' and 'Don't Go Away' get me thinking of Bruce Springsteen's "The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle," which was released the same year. I like when you can hear two artists come up with a similar feel around the same time. It's like that sound must have been in the ether, and Murphy and Sprinsteen just reached out and grabbed it. Another artist lauded as the Next Dylan, early Springsteen is a good barometer for Aquashow. If you like one, you should enjoy the other. Barometers measure how enjoyable it is outside, right?

-N.W.


Try it HERE.
Buy it HERE.

Update: It looks like Aquashow isn't really available on CD right now. And you can't download it from iTunes. But I encourage you to check out other Elliott Murphy stuff. He's quite prolific.



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