If I could take only one album with me to a desert island, it would be Queen. Yet strangely, whenever I am asked about my favourite artist or band, it is the music of Dr Hook which is instantly recalled and gives me pleasure as it runs through my mind. These, for me, are the songs of memory and the voice of Dennis Locorriere *is* Dr Hook; which is a little unfair as Ray Sawyer shared the lead singer spot with Dennis, and the rest of the talented band created the sound, which still has it's fans some 17 years after Dr Hook disbanded. My husband had an eclectic taste in music, and the tapes he kept in his car ranged from the Rolling Stones through to Marty Robbins. It was on a journey to Yorkshire from Essex in the late 80's that he played the first Dr Hook song I was to hear. The catchy, love song, Like the Movies, followed by another nine or ten tracks had me asking him to play the tape for the rest of the journey. But then he was going to ask me to eat Whitby fish and chips every day for a week, so we were about even on that score. I would describe the music of Dr Hook as country rock. Dennis' distinctive voice is light and easy on the ear, managing to add an attractive husky note when emotion or humour are needed. Combine this with Ray Sawyer's lower country growl, add the often joyful backing of the band and it is not surprising that Dr Hook still has a huge and enduring fan base. Despite the earthy frolics on stage in their early years (it has been said that the fans threw "grass" on the stage for the group) there is a gentle warmth in their rendering of such love songs as A Little Bit More, Sharing the Night Together and Years from Now. Do we hear good memorable love songs today? Of course we do, but these melodic from - the - heart ballads are so reminiscent of 70's music as I enjoyed it. Part of the Dr Hook success has to be the range of appeal that their songs offer
ed to the fans. Who would have thought that a heartbreak teen song such as Sylvia's Mother, would be such an enduring favourite that Dennis Locorriere would be constantly asked to include it in his repertoire by insistant fans during a solo UK tour. Another teen song, Only Sixteen, was again in the top ten in 1976. Other love songs have a catchiness which make the toes tap. I am thinking of Sexy Eyes and When You're in Love With a Beautiful Woman. Are they coming back to mind now? There is humour to Millionaire, about a guy who feels that he only has money to offer the girl he wants. With the pathos is a confident swagger and pleased with himself laughter in the chorus; "And I've got more money than a horse has hairs 'Cos my rich old uncle died and answered all my prayers. But havin' all of this money is gonna bring me down If you aint with me, honey, to help me spread it around." Walk Right In, Cover of the Rolling Stone, Everybody's Making it Big but Me and You Make My Pants Wanna get up and Dance have an irresistable toe-tapping beat, sung with bags of energy; and you can feel the enjoyment of the band as they let rip. Yet the words are always distinct. This is not a band whose albums have to be played a couple of times before you catch all the lyrics. The band ran into trouble in the 70's and were bankrupt for a while, before managing to revive for a few years. During that time the membership of the group became less consistant as musicians came and went. In 1985 they finally disbanded leaving a trail of hits and memorable 70's songs. Ray Sawyer and Dennis Locorriere pursued separate careers as solo artists, with Dennis enjoying a smash hit tour of the UK in the early 90's. The name of the band was thought of because Ray Sawyer had a patch over one eye, likening him to Captain Hook from Peter Pan. The original name of the
group was Dr Hook and the Medicine Show, although the name was eventually shortened to the one we know. I still have the original old tape which began my love of Doctor Hook, but if you want to treat yourself this Christmas, Dr Hook albums may still be ordered from Amazon. This is my first (and probably my only) music review. I have been enjoying the music of Dr Hook while writing, and have added some of their lyrics as a reminder. A Little Bit More "And when your body's had enough of me And I'm lying flat out on the floor When you think I've loved you all I can, I'm going to love you a little bit more." Like the Movies; "I wish I could have made it More like the movies for you, Some pretty technicolour way it's never been. I'm sorry when I kissed you, you only heard me whisper. You never got to hear those violins." I love that chorus and can't resist singing along with it. Years from Now: Wanting you years from now, And holding you years from now, And loving you years from now As I love you tonight."........ Sylvia's Mother "Sylvia's mother say's Sylvia's busy, too busy to come to the phone. Sylvia's mother says Sylvia's tryin' to start a new life of her own. Sylvia's mother says Sylvia's happy so why don't you leave her alone And the operator says forty cents more for the next three minutes." Rings of Grass She's gone away where the dreams are small But the castles are rock and they never fall And left me here to live among all That is gone, gone, gone, gone, gone, gone.