Gone But Not Forgotten! MORPHINE (1989 – 1999)

About great bands from the past

4 February 2022

Who: Highly praised (rightly so)
jazz-pop-rock-blues group from
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Mark Sandman: singer-songwriter / multi-instrumenalist)
Dana Colley: baritone and tenor saxophonist
Jerome Deupree: drummer

The band made 5 albums between 1992 and 2000. Their last one The Night
(with drummer Billy Conway) was recorded just before the sudden death of
frontman Mark Sandman. He passed away due to a heart attack onstage in
Palestrina, Italy, on July 3, 1999. Only 46 years old. R.I.P.

AllMusic about the band: “Morphine is a rarity. Bluesy, bare-bones rock & roll
without any guitars. Instead of guitar riffs, the trio relies on sliding two-string basslines,
raucous saxophones, and wry, ironically detached vocals. During the mid-’90s, Morphine
gained a sizable cult following in America, primarily due to good word of mouth, heavy
college airplay, and positive reviews.”

After Sandman‘s passing the remaining members decided to continue
as Vapors Of Morphine. They’re still going strong to this day. Latest
album: Fear & Fantasy (2021). More info on their website.

Three great Morphine moments…



– GOOD –

MORPHINE: All Albums

Morphine, live in Belgium (Brielpoort, Deinze) 1995 – great concert, great memory

(image on top: cover of EP ‘Live at the Warfield 1997’)

‘Moonbeam Monkey’ by TANYA DONELLY Feat. The Late MARK SANDMAN…

Knockouts from the past

In this ‘Today’s Yesterday Knockout’ series it’s mostly the massive hit singles or timeless, famous singalongs that get all the attention. Let’s break this obvious habit now and then, as there are heaps of grand songs out there that for some mysterious reasons did not become worldwide humdingers.

Moonbeam Monkey‘ by TANYA DONELLY is a significant example of such an aural diamond that is, probably, only know by her devoted fans. This intimate pearl featured
on her second, wondrous, solo LP Beautysleep released in 2002. It’s actually a magical duet with the late great singer/bassist and versatile artist Mark Sandman of Morphine (1989–1999). Sit down, relax and embrace this enchanted magnificence with both ears…

I’m an angel dark, darker than loam
Come to steer your runaway home
I’m a moonbeam monkey on spec
Come to bring your strange kid back

No one saw him gimpy going round the bend
And no one but me knows the stuff it takes to mend him
I will get him back on the right track
I will bring your strange kid back

He saw something there, something in the ice
Sees it still when he closes his eyes
He’s not talking, just taking it alone
I will bring his story home

He’s not talking, just taking it alone
He’s a good boy, your good son
I’m an angel dark, darker than loam
I will bring your strange kid home


Back sleeve/track list of Beautysleep

MORPHINE Released Alluring ‘CURE FOR PAIN’ Masterpiece LP Twenty-Five Years Ago…

Going back in sonic history looking for memorable albums…

13 September 2018

Band: MORPHINE (Cambridge, Massachusetts, US)

Album: CURE FOR PAIN – the band’s second LP

Released: 14 September 1993 – 25 years ago

ALL MUSIC review: “With their cult following growing, Morphine expanded their audience even further with their exceptional 1994 sophomore effort ‘Cure for Pain’. Whereas their debut, Good, was intriguing yet not entirely consistent, ‘Cure for Pain’ more than delivered. The songwriting was stronger and more succinct this time around… Like the debut, most of the material shifts between depressed and upbeat, with a few cacophonic rockers thrown in between… And again, Mark Sandman’s two-string slide bass and Dana Colley’s sax work help create impressive atmospherics throughout the album. Cure for Pain was unquestionably one of the best
and most cutting-edge rock releases of the ’90s.”

Score: 4.5/5 – Full review here.

TURN UP THE VOLUME! says: Morphine was, especially sonically, one
kind of a band. Intriguing, gripping, multi-layered, heavy-hearted and totally
impassioned. ‘Cure For Pain was their striking masterpiece, in sound and vision.

THREE TOP TRACKS: Buena / Thursday / In Spite Of Me

* BUENA – here’s the steamy 1994 Dutch TV session (starts at 1.25)…

* THURSDAY – here’s a striking live clip…

* IN SPITE PF ME – touching humdinger…

ALBUM in full…

MORPHINE: Facebook / VAPORS OF MORPHINE: Website – Facebook