Rik Elswit - guitar; Billy Francis - keyboards; Jance Garfat - bass; Dennis Locorriere - guitar, vocals; Ray Sawyer - guitar, vocals; John Wolters - drums
This recording was done during a two-night stand at New York's Bottom Line club for the King Biscuit Flower Hour. Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show were as much about humor as they were about music, and there is plenty of impromptu humor showcased here. They open with a sloppy but endearing medley of '50s rock ballads ("Earth Angel," "For Your Love," etc) before going into a number of funny character-driven songs, written by the band's longtime associate, Shel Silverstein. Among them are "Acapulco Goldie," "Freakin' At The Freaker's Ball," "Queen Of The Silver Dollar," "I Got Stoned And I Missed It," and the band's 1972 #1 hit, "Cover Of The Rolling Stone."
They jump through a number of other impromptu covers, including "Rollin' In My Sweet Baby's Arms," "Walk Right In," the Safari's instrumental classic, "Wipe Out;" and even a 26-second version of "The Hokey Pokey." They close with a version of their first hit, "Sylvia's Mother," and the Roy Rogers signature farewell tune, "Happy Trails."
Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show is a comedy-driven country-rock band that originated in Union City, New Jersey in 1968. Consisting of a core of members who were from the south but moved up to Jersey, they were booked into a club show weeks after forming without finalizing a name. When the club owner insisted on a name to advertise the show, one of the members suggested Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, which had been inspired by the traveling snake oil caravans of the Old West.
Singer/guitarist Ray Sawyer, who had been wearing an eye patch after a near-fatal 1967 car crash, was assumed by most fans to be Dr. Hook; in fact the band was jointly fronted by Sawyer, with his natural stage charisma and humor, and Dennis Locorriere, whose distinctive voice and musical talents were trademarks of the band's greatest hits.
Dr. Hook was signed to Columbia Records and scored a hit out of the box in 1971 with a sappy love song called "Sylvia's Mother." That song did enough to get them on pop radio, which quickly embraced the band's second album and hit single: "Cover Of The Rolling Stone." The song tells the story of a frustrated rock musician whose only career goal seems to be getting his picture on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. The single went to the Top 10 and propelled the band to have a series of future hit singles which lasted through the late-1970s.
The original band disbanded, but Ray Sawyer has kept the Dr. Hook namesake alive and spearheads a version of the band that still tours on a regular basis.