Monday, May 24, 2010

Music Monday ~ Dr. Hook & Shel Silverstein

There was so much more to enjoy musically in the 1970s, and '80s. What happened? I got older, then old, I guess. Even allowing for that inevitability, and trying hard to be objective, today's music scene is anaemic and limp, at best, compared to back then. Lady Gag-Ga's shenanigans may be engaging enough to watch, but who's going to be humming her tunes on the way to work - eh? Nowadays we are expected to watch music as well as listen. Lyrics, as well as melody, have gone by the board (that should be bored!)Have all the good songs already been written?

Time for a little nostalgia.

Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, later known as just Dr Hook - a fun rock band who, with the help of many songs written by the late Shel Silverstein, became internationally famous during the 1970's until mid '80s when the band broke up. The two vocalists pursued solo careers.

The band originated in the pubs and clubs of Union City, New Jersey. Names of founding member George Cummings, Billy Francis (keyboards), Rik Elswit (guitar), Joey Oliveri (drums) have been lost in the mists of time, but vocalist Ray Sawyer (the one with the eye patch - result of a car accident) and Dennis Locorriere - he of the wistful voice on Sylvia's Mother, both retain solo careers - though with nothing like the acclaim they received in their Dr. Hook days. Dennis now lives, and still tours, in the UK. Ray tours in the USA and Canada.

Dr Hook, the band was first known for crazy on-stage antics and whacky humor . No doubt this is why Shel Silverstein felt a certain rapport with them and their style. Shel wrote a string of rather bawdy songs for the boys e.g. Roland The Roadie, Gertrude The Groupie, and better known The Cover Of Rolling Stone which later materialised! Soon though, both band and Shel(left) calmed down and produced some beautiful love songs and ballads - my personal favourites: songs such as More Like the Movies, A Couple More Years, Ballad of Lucy Jordan, and Sylvia's Mother. The band had other, non-Silverstein hits, of course, but without Shel's genius, I doubt we'd still recall Dr. Hook today.

There's more on Shel Silverstein in an archived post of mine:
"Man & Star....."

Ray and Dennis as they look now:

No times of birth available, so charts below are set for 12 noon.

Astrology throws up a strong hint of the compatibility between these two vocalists and the songwriter: all have Sun in Air signs - one from each, as it happens. Shel - Libra; Ray Aquarius; Dennis Gemini.

As well as easy rapport via Airy Suns, each has Venus, planet of music and the arts in a Water sign (Dennis: Venus in Cancer, Ray: Venus in Pisces, Shel: Venus in Scorpio)- Water signs are the most emotionally driven and creative of the signs, so no surprise that these three were often on the same wavelength. Interpreting Shel's songs seemed to come as second-nature to the vocalists of Dr Hook.

Ray's Moon would be in Libra whatever his birth time, and very compatible with Shel's natal Sun. Dennis's natal Moon could be in Capricorn, or in Aquarius if born in the evening, 7 PM or later - I'd bet on Aquarius, compatible with both Ray's natal Sun and Moon, and Shel's natal Sun.

MORE LIKE THE MOVIES by Shel Silverstein - performed by Dr. HOOK


R J Adams said...

Great band! I still enjoy listening to their music.

Shawn Carson said...

dennis has a great way of sounding as if he is about to burst into tears when he sings his sad songs.i still dig me the dr hook too, especially over beers after work

Twilight said...

RJ and Shawn ~~~ Glad they're still remembered and enjoyed. They had a lot of competition back then, but those good songs raised their game. :-)

Shawn ~~ Yes, Dennis's voice is a definite one-off - can't think of anybody else with that sound.

anyjazz said...

Thanks for this examination. You know Shel Silverstein is one of my favorite humorists. The Dr. Hook group shared that quirky humor and was a perfect venue for Silverstein’s works. Also, you know that famous “Cover of Rolling Stone” was done by artist Gerry Gersten. Gersten is a current project of mine.

Twilight said...

anyjazz ~~ Yes. I didn't know about the real cover of Rolling Stone 'til you mentioned it - nor about Gersten..... a bit obscure for most mortals. ;-)