Elliott Murphy and Ian Matthews
La Terre Commune
Review by Steven Stone
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CD Stock Number: Eminent Records EM-25070-2
Duets, especially duets among long established musicians, are tricky. Sometimes they are best left undone. Other times a rare synergy occurs. Both Elliott Murphy and Ian Mathews have been around for quite a while. Elliot Murphy began his career in the middle '70's with
Aquashow, which was critically acclaimed, though not a huge seller. He went put out several fine albums before moving to France where he has continued to write and perform music. Ian Mathews started with the British folk band Fairport Convention whom he left to form Mathews Southern Comfort. After a while he abandoned the band format for a solo career, and has regularly released consistently good albums.
La Terre Commune (Common Ground) originated as an idea from Edgar
Heckmann, the man who owns the German label Blue Rose Records. He has put out records by both artists and suggested they get together. They did, and it worked. Each contributed four songs to the record, plus other songs by Bob Dylan, Kurt Weil, Jesse Colin Young, and Bruce Springsteen. Recorded in
LeHarve, France, in April, the album is infused with a smoky waterfront charm. The arrangements are sparse, featuring Murphy and Mathews on vocals, acoustic guitars, harmonica, and keyboards. Oliver Durand joined them on electric and acoustic guitars, and Florent Barbier on drums and percussion. Wolfgang Neidecken makes a cameo appearance, contributing a poignant lead vocal on Kurt Weill's "Soldier's Wife".
Jessie Colin Young's song "Darkness, Darkness" is my favorite cut on the album. It has an eerie verisimilitude that forces you ruminate upon the true nature of the void. If you like roots oriented rock music created for adults rather than adolescents,
La Terre Commune deserves a serious listen.
Sound Quality: 90