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I was first introduced to Dr Hook by way of an old audiotape I found on the floor when I was about 15. It was a recording someone else had done of a mixture of songs and one of these was A Little Bit More. I had no idea who sung it but knew it had sunk into my skin and was there to stay as one of my favourite songs ever.
Consequently I asked around a few friends when I started work and eventually found it was by Dr Hook, so I immediately went to the nearest HMV and brought this album to try and find out a bit more about the band that sang this wonderful song.
When Youre In Love With A Beautiful Woman kicks off this album with a fantastic feel good aura about it. Even though its not a particularly happy song (hes essentially moaning about the attention his beautiful woman gets and subsequent jealousy it causes) it always makes me sing at the top of my voice with a smile on my face. Its one of those songs that you always remember the words to and find if it is played in a pub or even the car radio, most people could join in at least with the chorus. This is my second favourite song on the album.
The second song is the one that started my fascination with this album. A Little Bit More is so passionate and emotional. He expresses such total adoration for the person he is singing to that I would class it as the biggest compliment if it were being sung to me. There is a section in the middle of the song where I think it is single chords being plucked out on a guitar and it is really wonderful music. It gives me goose bumps actually and would be the perfect First Dance song for a wedding. Top score from me.
If Not You is a weird, melancholy song if I am honest. It has very strange lyrics but they are extremely compelling at the same time. You are drawn into listening to the words to gather the story in your mind, which is basically him wondering how he will cope now his woman has left him. There is a fantastic instrumental chorus part on an electric piano, I think, which I love. It does make me laugh too though as he asks who will iron his shirts, and wholl kiss him where it hurts! There is a serious side to the lyrics too though and this is quite strong in its thought track about loneliness and emotional well-being. I do really like this track.
Song number four has a much more up beat rhythm to it and gives me a similar feeling to Jungle to the Zoo. It has a quick energy start, which is great after the depressed state of If Not You. It kind of reminds me of TV theme music. It hasnt been used as far as I know for any type of programme but it is the kind that could easily fit into that category. I like it.
Bad Eye Bill is a great song. It reminds me very much of country music and I could imagine a hall of people line dancing to this. The smooth tones of the harmonica really enhance the image of simple life and simple graces. Thanking the Lord for Rock N Roll and Gin!
Track six and eight (Who Dat & Im A Lamb) are not my cup of tea to be honest and I do usually fast forward or listen with only half an ear. There is just something about them that either makes them too far out, or just not smooth enough for me. However track 7 Let The Loose End Drag is upbeat and has excellent trumpet additions, which really pump the song up. Along with an amazing electric guitar instrumental the song makes me yell the chorus out really loud and invigorates me into action.
Making Love and Music is the title song and has a glam rock feel to it that I quite like. It really spells out their passion for the band and the music industry they are in and with a mix of both slow and fast sections to it, its one I listen to regularly. The Radio can be described as a great car song. I used to have a CD that I made up for the car when I drove home from work alone. I could sing every one of the songs extremely loudly and it passed the time quite nicely. This was one of those songs and I still sing it very loudly now, even when not in the car. Its slow and quiet to start, with lots of vocals on their own, but it builds quite rapidly to a great chorus that gets you jigging in your seat.
Everybody Loves Me is another fairly quick thinking song. Its a real 70s feel good track and essentially tells the story of how they felt after becoming famous. Paranoid and cant quite believe everybody loves them. It was probably the cannabis talking through this song but its a good trumpeting 70s song. Whereas Oh Jesse feels like a bar song. Not a pub song, but a posh cocktail bar in the old days where they had live acts and the place would be very smoky. Its very soft and gentle and very raw.
Track thirteen is my third favourite on this album. It is so bizarre and makes hardly any sense at all but Jungle to the Zoo is really funky. It kind of reminds me of Only Fools and Horses for some reason, but I think its great. Its catchy and you want to learn the words just so you can sing along with the weirdness of it. I love the way he can vary the tones in his voice through this and its very unique I think.
More Like the Movies is a song about regret I think and to be honest I find it a bit drab and boring. I dont feel the passion that comes through from other melancholy songs with this one and it is a fast forward job for me. Not the same however with I Dont Feel Much Like Smilin. This is a similar style, in its speed and content but the feel to it is totally different to More Like the Movies. It has the emotion and the meaningfulness that just didnt seem present in the track before.
Mountain Mary to me is an exercise song. It has an excellent fast beat to it and it really gets your mood up into a happy and positive vibe. It does inspire me to get active and whilst I may not start star jumping, it has inspired me to do the housework by lifting my spirits.
Leviate, Dooley Jones and Sexy Energy are just not my taste at all and I hardly ever listen to these tracks. I find them boring and dull and nothing grabs me from the music or the lyrics, which is a real shame as this is a superb album with a let down at the end. The final track on the album is not too bad Love Monster but I still feel the order of the tracks could have been juggled so they ended on something fantastic like Jungle to the Zoo. Its all about personal taste obviously though and one persons fab will be anothers boring.
Overall I am so glad I found that tape all those years ago and got into this album. Dr Hook has produced many albums over their fairly long career but this is the only one I own and I think it will be the only one I ever own. I have got used to the songs and feel I know them well enough to be classed as my kind of music and I am kind of afraid I wont like any other stuff they did which will spoil this album for me. I am happy to stay put with what I have and if I spot a lonely tape on the floor in the future I might pick it up and see what delights it opens up for me.
A little bit of trivia about the bands name Dr Hook it was chosen on the spur of the moment in 1969 at a gig in the early days. One of the members, Ray, wore an eye patch after a car accident and this inspired the Hook part of the bands name (Captain Hook from Peter Pan with the eye patch). The Dr part was added because it had a reference to drugs, which in the 70s were part and parcel of the gigging life. They were originally called Dr Hook and The Medicine Show, later shortened to just Dr Hook.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman
2 Little Bit More
3 If Not You
4 Up On The Mountain
5 Bad Eye Bill
6 Who Dat
7 Let The Loose End Drag
8 I'm A Lamb
9 Makin' Love And Music
11 Everybody Loves Me
12 Oh Jesse
13 Jungle In The Zoo
14 More Like The Movies
15 I Don't Feel Much Like Smilin'
16 Mountain Mary
18 Dooley Jones
19 Sexy Energy
20 Love Monste