Get this crazy baby off my head!


Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show

Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show - The Ballad Of Lucy Jordon - 1975 - CBS

Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show was originally a pop-country rock style band formed around Union City, New Jersey in 1969. The earliest nucleus of the band consisted of friends, George Cummings, Dennis Locorriere, Ray Sawyer, Billy Francis—who had played the East Coast and into the Midwest, ending up in New Jersey one by one, with invitations from founding band member George Cummings. When told by a club owner that they needed a name to put on a poster in the window of his shop, Cummings concocted a sign: "Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show: Tonic for the Soul", a name inspired by the traveling quack medicine shows of the old West. Even today, Ray Sawyer is often considered to be the real "Dr. Hook" because of the famous eyepatch he wears as the result of a serious car accident. When people think of Dr. Hook, they often think of the tongue in cheek humorousy cynical, and sardonic songs of Shel Silverstein and of a fun band who had a reputation of laughing at themselves, and often played manic stage shows, throwing all musical self caution to the wind. A strange band, in that in the early days they were seldom associated with rock'n'roll, but played plenty of it, not all humorous, and ironically in the band's later days,, they changed into a hugely successful commercial pop rock band, releasing hugely successful hits like "Little Bit More", "When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman", and "Sexy Eyes". Essentialy, there are two versions of Dr. Hook/Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show.: The early bunch of jokers, singing hilarious songs like " Roland The Roadie & Gertrude The Groupie", and "The Cover Of "Rolling Stone", reminiscent of the great Coasters, and the later well groomed "respectable" pop rock band singing good, but ultra - commercial songs like "Little Bit More". This is in no way downgrading the band. Whether old or new songs, they are all great compositions, well crafted, and with great melodies, especially the later songs. There are people who may prefer the old Shel Silverstein's Dr. Hook, with songs about groupies, shady characters hanging around, limo rides, and drunken junkies. Then there are the other people who are only familiar with, and probably prefer the later dreamy romantic disco ballads like "When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman", and "Sexy Eyes". "The Ballad Of Lucy Jordon" album is more concerned with the "fun" side of the band's music. The great Shel Silverstein song, "The Ballad Of Lucy Jordon" is included here, and shows the sensitive and serious sde of the late Shel Silverstein. Many artists have recorded this song, but it is worth listenig to Marianne Faithfull's great version. Check out the band's "Sloppy Seconds" album, and read more about the immensely talented Shel Silverstein @ Shel's Bio


A1 Sylvia's Mother
A2 Hey, Lady Godiva
A3 Four Years Older Than Me - David, Haffkine, Locorriere, Sawyer
A4 Makin' It Natural - Comanor, Silverstein
A5 Last Mornin'
A6 (Freakin' At) The Freaker's Ball
A7 If I'd Only Come And Gone
A8 Carry Me, Carrie

B1 Queen Of The Silver Dollar
B2 The Cover Of "Rolling Stone"
B3 Penicillin Penny
B4 Life Ain't Easy - Sawyer, Silverstein
B5 Monterey Jack
B6 Roland The Roadie & Gertrude The Groupie
B7 The Wonderful Soup Stone
B8 The Ballad Of Lucy Jordon

All songs composed by Shel Silverstein, except where stated

N.B: Album posted here is a 320 vinyl rip


Guitar - Rik Elswit
Lead Vocals, Guitar - Ray Sawyer
Lead Vocals, Guitar, Bass - Dennis Locorriere
Vocals, Guitar, Guitar [Steel ] - George Cummings
Bass - Jance Garfat R.I.P
Vocals, Keyboards - Bill Francis
Vocals, Drums - Jay David


Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show's sardonic, country-flavored pop/rock made them one of the most fondly remembered acts of AM pop radio's heyday in the '70s. Although the band had a reputation as a mouthpiece for humorist Shel Silverstein, who supplied several of their biggest hits (including "The Cover of Rolling Stone"), they didn't rely exclusively on his material by any means. And, during their peak years, they were just as famed for their crazed stage antics, which ranged from surreal banter to impersonating their own opening acts. The band was formed in Union City, NJ, in 1968, when a young singer/songwriter named Dennis Locorriere teamed up with Alabama-born country-rocker Ray Sawyer. Sawyer's distinctive stage presence stemmed from his enormous cowboy hat and an eye patch that hid injuries from a serious car accident in 1967. Sharing the spotlight on guitar and lead vocals, the duo teamed up with Sawyer's bandmates from a group called the Chocolate Papers: George Cummings (lead and steel guitars), Billy Francis (keyboards), and Popeye Phillips (drums). Phillips soon moved home to Alabama and was replaced by local drummer John "Jay" David. Sawyer's eye patch inspired the nickname Dr. Hook, after the Captain Hook character in Peter Pan; with the rest of the band christened the Medicine Show (a possible drug reference), they began playing some of the roughest bars in the Union City area, concentrating mostly on country music out of sheer necessity. Anxious to find a more hospitable environment, the band recorded some demos, and in early 1970 their manager played the tapes for Ron Haffkine, who was working as musical director for the film Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me? Haffkine had been looking for bands to perform the songs written for the soundtrack by Shel Silverstein, an ex-folkie, Playboy cartoonist, and children's author who'd penned Johnny Cash's hit "A Boy Named Sue." He took an instant liking to Locorriere's voice, and became the group's manager and producer, signing them to record "Last Morning" for the film soundtrack and also landing a deal with CBS. Silverstein wrote all the songs for Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show's self-titled debut album, which was released in 1971. The single "Sylvia's Mother," a subtle parody of teen-heartbreak weepers, flopped on first release, but with some more promotional muscle became the band's first million-seller and hit the Top Five in the summer of 1972 (even if many listeners took it as sincere). That year, the band added a full-time bassist in Jance Garfat, as well as another lead guitarist, Rik Elswit. Their second album, Sloppy Seconds, was again written by Silverstein, and featured more risqué material, perhaps in response to the success of "Sylvia's Mother." "The Cover of Rolling Stone," written specifically to get the band featured on same, became another Top Ten smash in early 1973, and Rolling Stone soon granted the band's wish. However, following it up proved difficult. Drummer David left the group in 1973, to be replaced by John Wolters; the title of their next album, Belly Up, was unfortunately prophetic, and the band filed for bankruptcy in 1974 (partly as a way to get out of their contract with CBS). Now known simply as Dr. Hook, they signed with Capitol in 1975, debuting with Bankrupt, which began to feature more group originals. A cover of Sam Cooke's "Only Sixteen" returned them to the Top Ten in 1976 and revitalized their career; although Cummings left the band that year, further hits followed over the next few years in "A Little Bit More," "Sharing the Night Together," "When You're in Love With a Woman," and "Sexy Eyes." 1979's Pleasure & Pain became their first gold album, cementing the band's transition into disco-tinged balladeers. However, Elswit had to leave the band for a year after developing cancer; he was replaced by Bob "Willard" Henke, who remained in the lineup after Elswit's return. Ray Sawyer, however, did not; dissatisfied with their newly commercial direction, he departed in 1980, robbing Dr. Hook of, well, Dr. Hook. With Rod Smarr replacing Henke, the remainder of the band switched from Capitol to Casablanca, with very little success; after a few bill-paying tours, they finally gave up the ghost in 1985. Locorriere became a session and touring vocalist, backing Randy Travis in 1989, and in 1996 recorded the solo LP Running With Scissors. Sawyer still tours under the Dr. Hook name, though he licenses it from Locorriere. Drummer Wolters died of cancer in 1997. © Steve Huey, allmusic.com

ABOUT SHEL SILVERSTEIN [ © Spencer Leigh, From The Independent, 24 May 1999, © www.spencerleigh.demon.co.uk/Obit_Silverstein.htm ]

Shelby Silverstein, singer, songwriter and children’s author, b. 25th September 1932, Chicago: divorced, 1 son, 1 daughter, died 10th May 1999 Key West. In his books, cartoons and songs, Shel Silverstein was known for his wry, humorous slants on life, and his own life was every bit as eccentric as the characters who peopled his work. Take the sorry tale of love not being returned in “Sylvia’s Mother”, an international hit for Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show in 1972. “Most of the time if you tell a true story, you beef it up to make it into a song,” says Ray Sawyer, the eyepatched singer from Dr. Hook, “but Shel had to bring them down. The guy that ran off with Sylvia in real life was a bullfighter from Mexico, and he couldn’t put that in the song.” Shel Singleton was born in Chicago in 1932 and his talents as a cartoonist and satirist were first seen while serving in Korea in 1952 and contributing to the armed forces periodical, “Pacific Stars And Stripes”. Returning home, he established himself with “Playboy” and befriended the magazine’s owner, Hugh Hefner. Many of his songs reflect Playboy’s hedonist lifestyle and, as the record producer Chet Atkins remarked, “Ol’ Shel has probably got the worst voice of anyone alive, but he’s also got the run of the ‘Playboy’ mansion and I’m not knocking anybody with a deal like that.” Shel Silverstein’s recorded “Inside Folk Music”, in 1962 and some of its songs are still performed: “The Unicorn”, “In The Hills Of Shiloh” and “The Wonderful Soup Stone”, which was based on an Irish legend. His first children’s book, “The Giving Tree”, was published in 1964 and has remained in print. In 1969 he passed Johnny Cash a poem the day before his concert in San Quentin prison. Cash asked Carl Perkins to set it to music and the result was a million-selling saga of transvesities and barroom fights, “A Boy Named Sue”. Cash also sang his witty song about the condemned cell, “Twenty-Five Minutes To Go”, while Loretta Lynn topped the US country chart by telling of the restrictions of motherhood in “One’s On The Way” (1970). In 1970, he wrote several songs for the film, “Ned Kelly”, which cast, or rather miscast, Mick Jagger as the Australian outlaw. Silverstein met Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show whilst working on a Dustin Hoffman film, “Who Is Harry Kellerman And Why Is He Saying These Terrible Things About Me?” (1971). The film was every bit as bad as its title but he realised that the outlandish hippies were the perfect mouthpiece for his material. Dennis Locorriere took the lead vocal on “Sylvia’s Mother”, which he performs to this day: “I imagine I’m 17 years old again and running out of coins in a phonebox and having my girlfriend’s mother telling me that she’s getting married to somebody else.” Dr. Hook recorded 60 of Silverstein’s acutely observed vignettes of American life and the results equal the sketches which Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller wrote for the Coasters.. He parodied the group’s desire for success in “The Cover Of Rolling Stone” and “Everybody’s Makin’ It Big But Me”. Sample lyric: “Elton John’s got two fine ladies, Dr. John’s got three, And I’m still seeing those same old sleazos that I used to see.” The group backed the bald-headed Silverstein on his outrageous solo album, “Freakin’ At The Freakers Ball” (1972), and the titles match the contents: “Polly In A Porny”, “I Got Stoned And I Missed It” and “Don’t Give A Dose To The One You Love Most”. “We turned that one down,” says Dennis, “We had enough problems with people thinking us a bunch of degenerates. We didn’t want them thinking we’d got VD as well.” The singer, Bobby Bare, once sang me a filthy, totally rewritten version of the country hit, “The Wild Side Of Life”. “Shel wrote that”, he remarked, “The wild side of life in the original was never wild enough for him.” Shel Silverstein gave Dr.Hook a poignant song about the pressures of modern life, “The Ballad Of Lucy Jordon”, which was also recorded very successfully by Marianne Faithfull. Dennis Locorriere comments, “’The Ballad Of Lucy Jordon’ has a magical ending that never fails to excite me. His songs unfold as you sing them and he has made me so much more of a singer.” Silverstein wrote of an older man’s love for his girlfriend in “A Couple More Years”, which has been sung by Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan, and of the difficulties of satisfying a partner in “More Like The Movies”, another hit for Dr. Hook (1978). He became a millionaire, but never owned a car and looked for bargains in flea markets. When he found an album by Bobby Gosh, he offered one of the songs to Dr. Hook, namely “A Little Bit More”, with the comment, “This is a great song even though no-one’s ever heard it.” Taking up a challenge, he wrote an album, “Lullabys, Legends And Lies”, for the country singer, Bobby Bare in four days in 1973. The classic LP included a country hit about the witch queen of New Orleans, “Marie Laveau”, how you lose even when you’re “The Winner” and an eight-minute picture of grotesque characters in a late-night diner, “Rosalie’s Good Eats Café”. The album was immensely successful so Silverstein wrote two more albums for Bare in quick succession: an album of children’s songs, “Singin’ In The Kitchen” (1974) and “songs for the New Depression”, “Hard Time Hungrys” (1975). A child comments on her father’s unemployment in “Daddy’s Been Around The House Too Long” and times are so hard that even God is in “The Unemployment Line”. Many other classic songs stem from the 1970s including Emmylou Harris’ portrayal of a barroom prostitute, “The Queen Of The Silver Dollar”, Tompall Glaser’s response to Women’s Lib, “Put Another Log On The Fire”, and Burl Ives’ touching look at old age, “Time”. He commented on the hypocrisy behind Nashville’s tributes to the bluegrass musician, Lester Flatt, in Bobby Bare’s “Rough On The Living”. (“They didn’t want him around when he’s living, But he’s sure a good friend when he’s dead.”) A restless man, he tired of writing songs and returned to children’s books and cartoons. His books include “Where The Sidewalk Ends” (1974), “The Missing Piece” (1976), “A Light In The Attic” (1981) and his poems share the same anarchic views as Spike Milligan. “Oh, if you’re a bird, be an early bird, And catch the worm for your breakfast plate, If you’re a bird, be an early early bird, But if you’re a worm, sleep late.” Many song lyrics appeared as illustrated poems in “Playboy” and were often much longer than the recorded versions. His epic poem about a bad songwriter making Faustian deals, “The Devil And Billy Markham” (1978), became an off-Broadway musical. Shel Silverstein’s heart disease made him view death as a subject for popular songs. The remarkable result, the album, “Old Dogs” (1998), performed by Waylon Jennings, Bobby Bare, Mel Tillis and Jerry Reed, happens to be the funniest album for several years. Still writing exceptional lyrics, he wrote his own epitaph: “You’d better have some fun before you say bye-bye, ‘Cause you’re still gonna, still gonna, still gonna die.”


Silly Bus said...

Nice Post!!

A.O.O.F.C said...

Thanks. An oldie but a goodie!

Anonymous said...

Appreciate this one. Had their Greatest, but this is a nice add. Thanks, Jamesy

Posting this as anonymous as I can never get my Google password to take!

A.O.O.F.C said...

Cheers,Jamesy! Great band. Always loved "Lucy Jordan" & "Rolling Stone". Thanks for comment, & come back soon

Slidewell said...


Would love to see a re-up of this one!


A.O.O.F.C said...

Howzitgoin' Slidewell! I don't have original album to re-up, but all the tracks are available @ http://muzofon.com/ Cheers, & TTU soon...Paul