Drumming for young Elliott Murphy was surely a good gig—the perks of 1970s major-label rocking being plentiful—so long as you weren’t looking for the limelight. Murphy barely pauses to breathe on his debut LP, bursting out of the gate with a feverish rush of wordplay and gloriously jumbled harmonica on “Last of the Rock Stars,” and while he later slows down, he never lets up.
This is what Gene Parsons was made for: just try to keep up, and hold a steady beat. It had to be more interesting than late-Byrds work, and Parsons was never showy, but he knows how to sideman. When Elliott gets excited, rush a fill; when he’s dramatic, a stately downbeat; work in some accents on the verses to keep yourself occupied, he won’t notice or care.
It works perfectly. “Last of the Rock Stars” and “Hangin’ Out” are pop-rock masterpieces, and aside from a few dips into maudlinity and the excruciating ballad “Marilyn” (“she died for our sins,” natch), Aquashow is one of those great lost 70s albums, even, yes, Dylanesque at times (sneering Dylan, amphetamine-rush version). An ambling ex-Byrd truly couldn’t wish for more—aesthetically, at least; that other former Byrds drummer really stumbled into a soft-rock cash-cow with Firefall, but in the battle of cred, it’s Parsons all the way.
(Full disclosure: I've had this album for years, and only just noticed, while playing it and idly reading the back of the record, that it had a Byrds connection. So, voila!)