What is wrong with this group ? The bass player has only two strings on his instrument and where is the guitarist ? Morphine’s baritone and bass rumble was a distinctive sound in the mid-90s. It was a time when, whisper it, rock music just may have been all played out and the only alternatives for those with little imagination were variations on themes that had already been around for a while. Morphine’s rockabilly/jazz/beatnik take on music seemed fresh, assured and worth, at least, a second listen.
“Honey White” is from their third LP 1995’s “Yes”. It was a song that could be played on MTV and other available music shows and make an impression. Further investigation led to the discovery that the previous record “Cure For Pain” was pretty good too. The sound was basic, the lyrics succinct. The druggy, low-life but literary atmospherics brought a more energetic Steely Dan to mind (this is a good thing). Here’s the title track from “Cure For Pain.
Mark Sandman, the minimal bassist and songwriter, was over 40 before he finally found the band he was looking for. He had lived some life seen some things and the songs were better for it. I’ve not seen many clips of an American musician addressing a Portuguese audience in their own language and I’m impressed by that. The band did well in Europe, they never made big waves but the live show was rock music with a different edge. Unfortunately in 1999 he had a fatal heart attack onstage in Italy. He was just 46 years old. Morphine left us some good music.
Whoa…I should do more of these things in the early hours of the morning. Much more downbeat. I kind of like it.