He wrote about rock & roll with a sense of romantic integrity which has inspired me to this day, and his wonderful Rolling Stone review of Aquashow proclaimed a level of artistry for my work that I have tried my best to maintain all these years since.
So wrote Elliott Murphy about Paul Nelson in 1990 in the liner notes to the CD reissue of Aquashow, Murphy’s 1973 debut album. Paul’s rave review heralded the arrival on the scene of a new kind of singer/songwriter, clearly influenced by Bob Dylan but different. People took notice.
“I think itâ€™s hard to imagine today,” Murphy told me when interviewed for the book, “the power of the critics and the way the music business took them seriously. Because it was really still the time where the music was leading the industry, not the industry leading the music like it is today. These critics, these were mysterious people to the music business. You know, who were these guys who knew everything about every record and had these collections and these bootlegs? Who were they, these Jon Landaus and Paul Nelsons and Lester Bangs and everyone else? So they really took them seriously; they thought they knew something they didnâ€™t know. And they did.”
In March, 34 years after Aquashow, Elliott Murphy released Coming Home Again, his 29th album. Not only did his relationship with Paul Nelson serve as a significant chapter in each man’s life, it represents an important chapter in Everything Is an Afterthought, as well.