Morphine — The Night (February 1, 2000)
ζ♦→ Album vyšlo nejméně 2x v USA, průběžně také v Kanadě, Mexiku a Rusku. ζ♦→ Klady: + Amazing songwriting + Great Instrumentation + Co ještě potřebujete vědět? Addictive, offbeat, and totally original indie rockers from Boston, driven by a blistering baritone sax rather than guitars. Born: September 24, 1952, Newton, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died: July 3, 1999, Palestrina, Latium, Italy
ζ♦→ “It's too dark to see the landmarks
And I don't want your good luck charms,
I hope you're waitin for me
Across your carpet of stars.
You're the night, Lilah,
You're everything that we can't see.
You're the possibility.”
ζ♦→ One is inclined to say the same of the late, great Mr. Sandman himself.
Location: New Orleans, LA / Boston, MA
Album release: February 1, 2000
Recorded: Early 1999
Record Label: DreamWorks, Rykodisc, Geffen
01 The Night 4:49
02 So Many Ways 4:02
03 Souvenir 4:41
04 Top Floor, Bottom Buzzer 5:44
05 Like a Mirror 5:26
06 A Good Woman Is Hard to Find 4:14
07 Rope on Fire 5:37
08 I'm Yours, You're Mine 3:47
09 The Way We Met 3:00
10 Slow Numbers 3:58
11 Take Me With You 4:54
ζ♦→ Mark Sandman: Lead Vocals, Bass Guitar, Piano, Organ, Acoustic Guitar, Trombone, Slide
ζ♦→ Jane Scarpantoni: Cello (1, 7, 11)
ζ♦→ Dana Colley: Baritone Sax, Tenor Sax, Bass Sax, Backing Vocals, Piano
ζ♦→ Jerome Deupree: Drums
ζ♦→ Billy Conway: Drums, Percussion, Backing VocalsAdditional musicians:
ζ♦→ John Medeski: Organ (4, 8)
ζ♦→ Mike Rivard: Double Bass (7, 11)
ζ♦→ Margaret Garrett, Tara McManus: Backing Vocals (5)
ζ♦→ Carolyn Kaylor, Linda Viens: Backing Vocals (2)
ζ♦→ Ramona Clifton: Backing Vocals (4)
ζ♦→ Joseph Kessler: Viola (11)
ζ♦→ Billy Beard: Hand drum, Drums (7)
ζ♦→ Brahim Fribgane: Oud, Drums, Frame drum
ζ♦→ Recorded at: Hi–n–Dry, , Cambridge, MA / Super Sonic, Cambridge, MA / The Magic Shop, New York City, NY
ζ♦→ Mastered at: Northeastern Digital
ζ♦→ Designed at: Flying Fish Studio
ζ♦→ Mastered by: Toby Mountain
ζ♦→ Photography by [Band]: Pat McCormick
ζ♦→ Photography by [Mark Sandman]: Richard Dumas
ζ♦→ Photography by [Night Blooming Cereus]: Hope Zanes
ζ♦→ Photography by [Silhouettes, Lyric Pages]: Mark Sandman
ζ♦→ Producer: Mark Sandman, Morphine
ζ♦→ Written by: Mark Sandman
ζ♦→ Engineer: Brian Dunton, Dave Kay, Juan Garcia, Mark Sandman, Matthew Ellard, Reto Peter
ζ♦→ 2000 Night The Billboard 200 #137
ζ♦→ 2000 The Night Top Internet Albums #8AllMusic Review by Greg Prato; Score: ***
ζ♦→ Morphine's fourth studio release, 1997's Like Swimming, was a bit of a disappointment when compared to such stellar earlier releases as Cure for Pain and Yes. After singer/two–string bassist Mark Sandman died of a heart attack on–stage in 1999, many Morphine fans assumed that Like Swimming would be the band's swansong thankfully, it wasn't. The Boston trio completed their fifth album just prior to Sandman's untimely passing, entitled The Night, and it's definitely an improvement over its predecessor. Whereas many of the songs on their previous album sounded unfinished and rushed, The Night sounds like a fully realized work. In fact, the band took time to focus on expanding their minimalist sound to include other instruments (cello, violin, upright bass, oud, organ) and new approaches (female backup singers, string arrangements), while Sandman produced the album himself. Highlights include the ghostly "Souvenir," the Middle Eastern sounds of "Rope on Fire," the sultry album–opening title track, and the up–tempo (by Morphine standards, anyway) "Top Floor, Bottom Buzzer." The Night shows that Morphine was just entering a new phase of their career, and it's a shame that Mark Sandman is no longer with us to follow through on this promising new direction.
ζ♦→ Morphine began in 1990 in Cambridge, MA, as a lighthearted experiment in darkness. The band struck a chord in the thriving local music scene, a scene that had nurtured Mark Sandman and Billy Conway's former punk–blues outfit, Treat Her Right, as well as Dana Colley's first group, Three Colors.
ζ♦→ The band toured the world, commanding festival audiences of over 50,000 in Europe and headlining New York City's Central Park Summerstage. During a performance July 3rd, 1999 in Palestrina, Italy, Mark Sandman collapsed during the band's second song. He was pronounced dead in the ambulance en route to the hospital. He was 46.
ζ♦→ Singer–bassist–frontman Mark Sandman died July 3, 1999, onstage just outside Rome doing what he loved most. While it was never intended as a swan song, The Night, Morphine's fifth official studio album (not counting a B–sides collection or a projected live album), has all the dramatic hallmarks of a long, permanent goodbye. ζ♦→ The band's "low–rock" — of bass, baritone sax, drums, and Sandman's own Leonard Cohen–afterworld vocals — always had a finality about it. The serious mix of blues fatalism and muted jazz hysteria filtered through the downbeat world of Tom Waits ("Like a Mirror" is gift–wrapped in his image) and other lingering beatniks always means it's 3 a.m. in Sandman's gypsy soul. The title track, "Top Floor, Bottom Buzzer," and "Rope on Fire" will stand among the finest in Morphine's catalog — which will seem deeper and increasingly profound as distance creates a greater mystery for a band that always presented itself as an enigma.
M. Packman, June 24, 2003; Score: *****
Everything finally comes together
ζ♦→ The Night is almost the antithesis of Gerswhin's Rhapsody in Blue. Whereas the Rhapsody was a rather upbeat soundtrack for the hustle and bustle of the city, The Night provides the sountrack for the parts of the city that are tucked away. The back streets and alleys; the dead streets at 3 o'clock in the morning. Morphine had always aimed to capture this sort of sound, and they finally nail it with this, their last and greatest album.
ζ♦→ Which is not to say it's an album actually ABOUT the city. It's about a lot of things. It's an album about sex (So Many Ways), memories (Souvenir), good times (Top Floor, Bottom Buzzer) and strength through love (The Night). It's an album about The Night and the people in it. It's full of darkness and fire. Mark Sandman, who wrote all the songs, is truly the Jim Jarmusch of the music world. He's a 'poet of the night'. ζ♦→ “You're the night, Lilah/ a little girl, lost in the woods/ you're a folk tale/ The unexplainable.”
ζ♦→ This album also serves as a kind of farewell by the late Mark Sandman. The grim cacophony of saxophones, trombones and trumpets in the instrumental 'Come on Houston' assumes an added signficance considering he died before the album was finally published. Nobody could take his place. His smooth baritone was truly amazing. ζ♦→ The Amazon reviewer should be praised for the brilliant quote “it's always three a.m. in Mark Sandman's gypsy soul.” That about sums it up.
ζ♦→ Buy this album. It gets better every time you listen to it.
ζ♦→ Sandman collapsed on stage on July 3, 1999 at the Giardini del Principe in Palestrina, Latium, Italy while performing with Morphine. His death, at the age of 46, was the result of a heart attack. His death has been attributed to cigarettes, heavy stress and the temperature of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit on the night of his death. He was survived by his girlfriend Sabine Hrechdakian, parents Robert and Guitelle Sandman and sister Martha Holmes. Morphine disbanded following his death, although the surviving members briefly toured with other musicians as Orchestra Morphine, a tribute to Sandman and in support of the posthumous release, The Night.
ζ♦→ Following Sandman's death, Hi–n–Dry became a commercial record label and studio, dedicated to recording and releasing work by Boston–area artists. The label and studio are managed by Sandman's former Morphine band mates Conway and Colley. Hi–n–Dry issued a retrospective box set of Sandman's music called Sandbox in 2004. Another four disc Morphine box set has been compiled but has not been released due to the sale of former Morphine label, Rykodisc, to Warner Brothers.
ζ♦→ In 2009, Colley, Deupree, and Boston musician Jeremy Lyons formed the group Vapors of Morphine. The band regularly performs in Boston and New Orleans.Life After Death: The Legacy of Mark Sandman and Morphine
Tony Sachs, Updated: 05/25/2011 1:35 pm EDT
ζ♦→ Mark Sandman, frontman of the Boston–based alternative rock band Morphine, died ten years ago, on July 3, 1999. It was the kind of death from which rock legends are born — he was onstage, at the height of his powers, with the most ambitious album of his career having just been completed. Morphine were signed to a powerful record label, and if they weren't a household name in the music world, they had a large cult following that enabled them to pack large clubs and theaters worldwide.
ζ♦→ You'd think Sandman's sudden death would have cued the stereotypical music biz vultures, ready to exploit his carcass for every dime it was worth. Only it didn't happen. In a bizarre twist of fate, the forces of the music industry wound up aligning against Morphine and Sandman's estate to prevent his music from being widely heard. ζ♦→ And for the past decade, his family and collaborators have waged a lonely battle to keep his memory and his music alive — a battle they finally seem to be winning.
ζ♦→ Listen to a Morphine record today and it doesn't scream "'90s!" the way so many alt–rock albums from the era do. That's because Morphine didn't, and still don't, sound like any other band. Part of it was their unusual lineup, consisting of Dana Colley's baritone saxophone, Billy Conway's drums, and Sandman's homemade two–string slide bass, creating what Sandman liked to call "low rock." According to Dana Colley, it didn't happen by design. "He started developing the two–string bass — it was a one–string bass at that time — and I got a hold of the baritone saxophone I'd been playing. I'd been playing tenor previously. When we jammed once in his apartment, the sound just sort of clicked. It was one of these 'eureka' moments, you know? It wasn't anything we would have predicted."
ζ♦→ To form a guitar–less band in the middle of the grunge era took guts. Colley says, "I can remember playing early on, at the height of grunge, and kind of jokingly saying at the end of the set that I think we're the palate cleanser, like the sorbet between the sandwich of heavy guitars." But it was also smart in that it distinguished Morphine from all the Nirvana wannabes, giving the press an automatic angle and music fans a reason to seek out their records.
ζ♦→ What made Morphine more than a novelty was Sandman's brilliant songwriting, which fused shards of blues, funk, jazz, rock and poetry into a unique and thrilling synthesis; and the interaction between the three musicians. Morphine took all the conventions of what a rock band was supposed to be and stood them on their head. Sandman's fluid runs made two strings do the duty of bass, rhythm and lead guitar. ζ♦→ Colley — to my ears, one of the two or three best horn players in the history of rock — refused to relegate his sax to the solo spotlight, playing meaty riffs that made him an integral part of the songs' foundation. And Conway was a genius at knowing what not to play, leaving plenty of space for Mark and Dana to create their groove.
Morphine released their first album, Good, with original drummer Jerome Deupree in the fold, on a tiny local indie label in 1991. It soon attracted enough attention that it was picked up by Rykodisc, a much larger indie with international reach. 1993's Cure For Pain was their commercial breakthrough, selling over 300,000 copies, and they consolidated their global popularity with Yes, released in 1995. They criss–crossed the globe tirelessly, playing everywhere from clubs to outdoor festivals, to a growing fan base and across–the–board critical raves.
ζ♦→ With a new album, Like Swimming, already completed, their Ryko contract was bought out in 1996 by Dreamworks, a big–budget startup label run by music biz svengalis Lenny Waronker and Mo Ostin. The deal gave Morphine greater distribution and more promotional muscle, but it also put more pressure on the band, and especially Sandman, to deliver the goods. The ante was upped when Like Swimming failed to become a crossover hit and got middling reviews from critics who opined that they were treading water creatively — accusations which still rankle Dana Colley.
ζ♦→ "The two–string slide bass, baritone saxophone, drum thing, oh yeah. For some reason, people were almost wanting to see the end of that, in a way. Like, OK, they're gonna shoot the bottom of the barrel with this concept — still thinking it's conceptual. That's funny, no one ever asked a rock quartet the same question, 'Another album with guitar, bass, drums?' To me, (Morphine) is like a combination lock. You've got three numbers to choose from. But let me see you open up a combination lock you don't know the number for. Let me see how many times it will take you to do that."
ζ♦→ Compounding the problem was Dreamworks' eagerness to see Morphine as a vehicle for Sandman rather than a band. "They wanted to make him the next Beck, you know?" says Colley. "I think Mark was under a lot of pressure to really kind of live up to the expectations of the people who gave him a lot of support. We were in the big leagues, and he was under a lot of pressure to hit one over the fence."
ζ♦→ The album that resulted, The Night, wasn't what Dreamworks had in mind when they signed the band. If it resembled Beck at all, it was the dark, melancholy artist that made Mutations, not the hipster wunderkind of Odelay fame. A moody, complicated and beautiful work, it took their music to another level, utilizing extras like piano, strings and backing vocals while retaining the classic Morphine feel.
ζ♦→ The record hadn't been mixed or mastered, and it hadn't been heard by the higher–ups at Dreamworks, when Morphine hit the road in July 1999 for a European tour. But Sandman, who'd junked an entire album's worth of tracks to cut the whole thing over at his home studio, Hi–N–Dry, was happy with the results. Colley says, “I remember hanging out with him after we finished it, having gone through an enormous amount of pain and anguish to make a whole record — for the first time in a long time, he smiled.”
ζ♦→ "I remember Mark saying, 'I don't want to tour. We're over this. I want us to get closer as a band.' Because we'd fragmented, I think, in many ways from Mark's being pulled out west by Dreamworks. We were kind of pulling the wagons around a little bit. It was pretty intense. He went through the mill for sure."
ζ♦→ The second show of the tour was in Palestrina, Italy, at the Nel Nome Del Rock Festival. Colley remembers, “You drive up this winding road, up this beautiful hill town about an hour outside of Rome, underneath the pine trees and the ancient cobblestone roads and fountains. The stage was set below the bottom of the hill, underneath this big grove of trees. It was one of the most ideal places I'd ever seen, let alone played.”
ζ♦→ "The next day, the temperature was very hot, it was about 100 degrees on the stage. Mark seemed ready to go. He was sitting at Billy's drum kit, playing the bass drum and the hi–hat with both feet while playing his bass, waiting for us to come down to soundcheck. He was chomping at the bit, ready to play, with a big smile on his face."
ζ♦→ At the beginning of "Supersex," the second song of their set, "we were doing the introduction, it's kind of an open–string thing. I look over to my right, and I just see him, his knees buckle. He fell down, he fell back, with his bass on, and the whole place just came to a complete hush." An ambulance rushed Mark Sandman to the nearest hospital, where he was pronounced dead of a massive heart attack. He was 46, with no history of heart trouble.
ζ♦→ Colley and Conway put their grief on hold while they sequenced, mixed and mastered The Night. Colley says, "I think there's no greater love we could bestow as to get back to work and to finish this thing up, because we knew how much he put into it. I think we got right back into it — we wanted to get it out there, and to finish it. And then we put together the nine–piece Orchestra Morphine to perform the songs, which had never really been performed onstage by Morphine in their fully realized arrangements."
ζ♦→ With the album in the can and the Orchestra Morphine tour ready to go, Colley and Conway flew to the West Coast to meet the Dreamworks label execs, where their hopes for Sandman's last hurrah were swiftly kicked in the ass. Colley recalls, “They brought Billy and me in and patted us on the back and said, 'We know you guys are hurting, but we're not gonna support this record. You guys want to do this, you go right ahead, good luck. But, you know, this isn't what we signed on for. This isn't who we wanted. We want Mark. We don't want a bunch of ragamuffins from Boston.'”
ζ♦→ “And it was over, essentially. We were the last people to get the message, maybe. But who knows. We just felt like we had to do it in spite of it all.” Without a promotional push from the label, The Night flopped, and Morphine was effectively finished.
ζ♦→ But it was just the beginning of a decade of legal and financial pitfalls that beset the Sandman estate. Mark never had any business deals in writing with the other members of Morphine; after a protracted debate, Mark's parents became the curators of his estate. But, as Colley says, "They're not in the business, and they're in their mid to late 80s. They don't want to run the publishing, they don't want to deal with that. So a lot of stuff fell through the cracks."
ζ♦→ Colley, Conway and other members of the Morphine family opened Sandman's home studio, Hi–N–Dry, for public use, and started up a record company of the same name to record local acts. But when they tried to release Sandbox, a 2 CD/DVD set of unreleased Sandman music including a bunch of Morphine outtakes, Rykodisc sued to stop its release, saying they owned several of the songs. Hi–N–Dry went to court and eventually won, but Colley describes it as "the Pyrrhic victory — winning but losing everything in the process. That really sucked the lifeblood out of a lot of the momentum." With no money left to promote Sandbox, it went all but unnoticed when it finally came out in 2004. (It's still available, by the way, and still essential listening for fans.)
ζ♦→ With Morphine's slim recorded legacy (five studio albums, a B–sides compilation and a live set) almost evenly divided between two labels, neither of whom wanted to help the band or each other, it seemed with every passing year that Mark Sandman was in danger of being forgotten entirely. If you ask me, the nadir came in 2007, when Hi–N–Dry studios had to move out of Sandman's loft in Cambridge, Massachusetts and relocate.
ζ♦→ But the last couple of years have seen things take a turn for the better. Hi–N–Dry started the Mark Sandman Music Project in 2008, which gets local musicians and volunteers to work with kids and help them develop an interest and a talent in music. The Hi–N–Dry headquarters is now in a bigger, more sophisticated facility in Somerville, MA. Colley says, “There's an enormous performance space and artists' lofts, and we have our studio in the basement. So that's really promising, and we're just plugging away.”
ζ♦→ And with legal problems behind them, Morphine and Mark Sandman are finally going to have another shot at being heard. Two documentary films about Mark and his music are currently in production. Hi–N–Dry will be releasing previously unheard Sandman music and spoken word recordings online each week through September on its website, as well as new covers of Morphine songs by both local and national artists; among those featured are Les Claypool, Mission Of Burma's Roger Miller and Mike Doughty. To top it off, there will be a memorial concert this September in the renamed Mark Sandman Square in Cambridge, MA, featuring Sandman's music played by his friends, fans and collaborators.
ζ♦→ Best of all, Morphine's first three albums have been acquired from Rykodisc by Rhino Records, who will be re–releasing them along with a 2 CD set of unreleased tracks and alternate takes from throughout the band's lifetime, compiled by Billy Conway. For this fan, who's listened to their five studio albums so many times that they're part of my musical DNA, the chance to hear "new" Morphine music is incredibly exciting.
ζ♦→ As for Dana Colley, he'll continue to keep his friend's memory alive through his music. Ten years to the day after his friend and collaborator died, Colley went back to Palestrina and performed Morphine's classic songs on the stage where Mark Sandman performed for the last time, along with original Morphine drummer Jerome Deupree and Jeremy Lyons on vocals and two–string slide bass.
ζ♦→ “You know,” Colley says, “a day doesn't go by when I don't think about him, when I don't hear his voice, or there's a reference, or there's some weird coincidence that doesn't feel like a coincidence, it feels like a message from beyond.
It feels right to be playing these songs again. No one's trying to be Mark, no one's trying to be Morphine. But these songs need to be played.” ζ♦→ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
Review by Tojes Dolan; Score: 4.5
2) So Many Ways
Is this the way that you like it?
Is this what you had in mind when you called above to the angels for the six hundred and sixty sixth time?
Hey, what about this? What about this. Shake it.
What do you want and how do you like it? How many times is this the right socket?
What do I wear and what do I say? Please tell me again how we get there.
Please tell me again how we get there.
So many ways to get a lift. So many ways to get your head unzipped.
Too late for anymore questions. The preamble is done. The overture's ended.
The drawbridge is up. Cat's out of the bag and looking for a sofa to scratch.
Looking for a sofa to scratch.
This the way that you like it.
This what you had in mind when you called above to the angels for the six hundred and sixty sixth time.
Hey, what about this? What about this. What about this. Shake it.
So many ways to get a lift. So many ways to get your head unzipped.
So many ways to get a lift. So many ways to get your head unzipped.
So many ways to get a lift. So many ways to get your head unzipped.
(Mark talking backwards for a second)_____________________________________________________________