Bluesy, bare-bones rock and roll without any guitars. “But Lane,” you might be asking, “please oh please explain to us hungry music fans how this could possibly be?”
Well, the trio relied on the two-string slide bass, lead saxophone and wry, nearly emotionless vocals. The band was formed in 1990 by the very imaginative and creative bassist/vocalist Mark Sandman, who never allowed the gimmick to overwhelm the music.
Their Masterpiece, Cure For Pain, is chock full of great songs with exceptional, minimalist lyrics that tell great stories with few words. And these songs never lose the amazingly spare grooves that not only match the stories, but often even elevate them.
Songs, as you know from my previous articles, are the most important part of a great album, and they certainly are here: “Buena” (love that song), “Candy,” “Thursday,” “Miles Davis’ Funeral” and many others make this a near seamless album.
On July 3, 1999, Sandman collapsed on stage during a Rome concert, dying of a heart attack at the age of 47, effectively putting this band out of business—a very tragic event for music lovers, even if they weren’t and still aren’t aware of Morphine.
The best way I could come up with any kind of explanation of the music’s sound is mixing The Presidents of the United States of America with the Rolling Stones and Nick Cave.
This album and their great following album, Yes, are getting harder and harder to find. Don’t miss out on these unusually great albums. And Sandman, we raise a glass to you; you will be missed.