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The Medicine Show

The Dream Syndicate

Release Date: 1984
Album Notes:

The 2010 version of "Medicine Show" now available!

After a 20-year wait, the Dream Syndicate's 2nd album "Medicine Show" finally returns to CD and this new version is an update worthy of the wait.

The 2010 digipack version of the 1984 classic features a sparkling, powerful sound, mastered from the original tapes as well as an expanded booklet with revelatory liner notes by David Fricke never seen before photos from the archives of Laura Levine.

And if that wasn't enough, this new version includes the entire "This Is Not The New Dream Syndicate.....Live" -including the lengthy workout of "John Coltrane Stereo Blues" which didn't make the cut on the original 1991 reissue.

From Steve:

"I've made over 20 studio albums in the last quarter century and "Medicine Show" sounds unlike any of the others. Even though each of them occupies its own sonic space, they all follow some kind of logical trajectory. "Medicine Show" is the odd man out. Not only does it not remind me of any of MY other records, I can't even think of anything else that sounds quite like it. I still play most of the songs live on a regular basis but the record itself is beautiful, unattainable, right and wrong in all the best ways.

Karl wanted to make a big, panoramic rock record to justify our move to a major label and the plethora of attention we had received in the mere nine months that had passed since the release of "The Days of Wine and Roses." I wanted to make a "beautiful loser," button-pushing, over-the-top emotional catharsis in the tradition of most of my all-time favorite records (i.e.. "Big Star 3rd," Tonight's The Night," "Plastic Ono Band," etc.). We both got our way-- and in ways that neither of us could have predicted. I think it was this improbable collision of desires and personality that gives "Medicine Show" its character.

But the other part of the record's sound and mood is the time it took to make it. Try these numbers on for size:

The Days of Wine and Roses (recording, overdubs and mixing): 3 days, 8 hours a day

Medicine Show (recording, overdubs and mixing): 5-plus months, 7 days a week, 14 hours a day

Sandy Pearlman drove us to the limit and beyond, and you can hear the discipline, defiance, cracks-in-the-armor, mania, psychoses and the final graduation from all of the above in these tracks. I hear the laughs, the fights, the late nights, the booze, the Tenderloin, the Mission District, Sandy's ever-present baseball cap, the Clown Alley burger runs, late nights watching Dr. Gene Scott, the perilously high 24th- floor efficiency apartments at the Fox Plaza and every one of the days and days and nights and nights when I listen to this record. And I wouldn't change a thing.

It would all make a good book. And, in fact, it probably will someday."


This record finds Kendra Smith replaced by Dave Provost of the Droogs on bass.

Originally Released by A&M records and produced by Sandy Pearlman.

Item 1: cd
# Track Title Play
1Still Holding On To You

Lyrics

Yeah
it's been written in stone
you're gone and you're not coming home
but I know that it's true
and there's really not a lot I can do
but baby
I'm still holding on to you
I'm still holding on to you

Wow yeah
you know what people say
they say the man gives a little
and then he takes it away
but I know that it's true
and there's really not a lot I can do
but baby
I'm still holding on to you
I'm still holding on to you
yeah I'm still holding on
(guitar)

I said last night
I dreamed they came for my soul
yeah the room was hot
and her skin was cold
Oh no no no
and I heard them called my name

I'll still be waiting for you
still holding on to you
oh carry me down that row
still holding on to you
down where the angels won't go
still holding on to you
I'll still be waiting for you
still holding on to you
oh carry me down that row
still holding on to you
down where the angels won't go
still holding on to you

The Medicine Show
2Daddy's Girl

Lyrics

My baby wants to go the place
where she first made love
My baby wants to go the place
where she first made love
well take her down to the liquor store
wipe out everything that came before
what else can I do for daddy's girl

My baby wants to wear the ring
that her mama wore
My baby wants to wear the ring
that her mama wore
oh well I'll take you all over
this God forsaken world
cover your pretty neck with pearls
what else can I do for daddy's girl
yeah come come come wow
ah ah ah
I believe...
(guitars)

My baby wants the kind of man
that married ma
My baby wants the kind of man
that married ma
come on baby don't you know
gonna take you where you never been before
what else can I do for daddy's girl
yeah

you know that I'm tired of feeling horny
and I love you so
gonna do you like you never been done before
what else can I do to daddy's girl
come on
what else can I do to daddy's girl
yeah yeah yeah
to daddy's girl
well yeah yeah oh to daddy's girl

The Medicine Show
3Burn

Lyrics

Someone set fire to the field last night
Turned himself in this morning
No, I don't think you knew him
But that's not the point

The cops asked why he'd done it
As they fastened up the cuffs.
He looked at what he'd done and said,
"Guess I just don't know.
I just don't know."

But you can feel it in your heart
Feel it in your soul
Feel it go around until you lose control
And there's just a few things
That can't be told
Don't you feel it burn?

There was this friend that you and I had
There were a few things that he believed in
And then one by one he found some flaws
And now he's not so sure
No, he's not that sure.

I woke up alone this morning
And I looked around the room
And some day there's gonna be hell to pay
I know.
Yeah. I know

The Medicine Show
4Armed With An Empty Gun

Lyrics

Armed with an empty gun
and no one to call my bluff
the guardsmen at the border
were afraid to play it rough
I was armed with an empty gun
I was armed with an empty gun
yeah

I was armed with an empty gun
and nothing to get in my way
my baby aits on the doorstep
her mother begs her to stay
my head is pounding with fever
and I'm too weary to run
my fingers are limp on the trigger
cause I'm armed with an empty gun
I was armed with an empty gun
(guitar)

Armed with an empty gun
I was stuck in Santa Fe
this man says What are you holding
Let me put it this way
I said At night I go to sleep
and in the morning I waken
he said I think I know you
I said I think you're mistaken

gun gun gun gun

Well I was lookin for real persuasion
then just as I'd begun
he looked in my hand
he walked off away
I was armed with an empty gun
I was armed with an empty gun
I was armed with an empty gun yeah wow
yeah I couldn't hit it sideways baby
oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh yeah
(repeat line 4 times)

The Medicine Show
5Bullet With My Name On It

Lyrics

If you ever saw me
walking around
swear I'd try to disappear
I wouldn't make a sound
Then something
got me on the run
it's gonna be the last time
I let you hold my gun

Your bullet's got my name on
ah ah
Your bullet's got my name on it
gotta run away
run run away
(guitars)

I had a dream
I was all alone
I had a mouth
but I couldn't speak
Then something
tried to turn my head
It was someone just like you
had me by the throat again

Your bullet's got my name on
ah ah
Your bullet's got my name on it
gotta run away

Your bullet's got my name on it
gotta run away
run run away
(guitars)

I thought I knew the answer
It was just a clue
Another trigger I couldn't pull
And then something
came in my room last night
they aimed
they fired
and I got lucky

Your bullet's got my name on
ah ah
Your bullet's got my name on it
gotta run away
run run away

The Medicine Show
6The Medicine Show

Lyrics

I've got a Page One story buried in my yard
I've got a troubled mind
I'm going down to the medicine show

If I've got to choose between doing trouble
And doing time
I'm going down to the medicine show

I've got a one way ticket on the 8:06
To the outskirts of town
I'm going down to the medicine show

And I'll say, "hey conductor
Now dontcha stop until you hear that gypsy sound
I'm going down to the medicine show

But I know that it's hard to be a decent man
When you stop finding reasons for everything
But tonight I'll find some answers
Down at the medicine show

I'm gonna find me that gypsy girl
That likes to dance and cry
When I go down to the medicine show

And we're gonna lay that burden down
Beneath that lonesome gypsy sky
When I go down to the medicine show

The Medicine Show
7John Coltrane Stereo Blues

Lyrics

Oh keep your hands on the shades baby
no one gonna care
when the moon goes dead
oh I might have said something sometime
but I don't care what I might have said
we're gonna take it
move it
sand it down
we're gonna send it back from where it came
oh yeah yeah
gonna be all right
it's gonna be all right
I feel it, want it, know it
yeah I say yeah yeah yeah
it's gonna be all right
(guitar)

I got some John Coltrane on the stereo baby
make it feel all right
I got some fine wine in the freezer mama
I know what you like
I gonna take it, turn it, set it loose
we gonna learn about love on a three ply rug
hah
Gonna be all right
It's gonna be all right
I feel it
gonna be all right
(guitars,guitars,guitars)

Don't tell me anymore bout the
civilized world baby
it's just you and me
Oh what do I gotta do to show you
the way that it's gonna be
Gonna take it, move it, [sand] it down
gonna send it back to burn in flame
gonna be all right
it's gonna be all right
yeah
shhh it's gonna be all right
oh yeah yeah yeah all right

I got some John Coltrane on the stereo baby
make it feel all right
I got some fine wine in the freezer mama
I know what you like
I got some John Coltrane on the stereo baby
make it feel all right
I got some fine wine in the freezer mama
I know what you like
I got some John Coltrane on the stereo baby
make it feel all right
I said a man works hard all day
he can do what he wants to
At night
come on, come on...
(hopefully crowd goes wild here)

she said Hold me tight
I don't think that's what you want
I don't think that's what you want
She said Hold me tight
I don't think that's what you want
Don't think that's what you want
Hold me tight, hold me tight
hold me tight, hold me tight
Gonna be all right

The Medicine Show
8Merrittville

Lyrics

Matthew with the pug nose
Caught me with his sister in the wheatfield
Got a couple buddies
Tied me up and threw me in his Oldsmobile
I said "Matthew are you crazy?"
As he started closing in for the kill
Matthew slowed the Olds to 10
Left me here to die in Merrittville

There's a game they play in the summertime
There's a game they play when it's hot outside
And I wonder why
They left me here in Merrittville

Sally with the narrow hips
Cut the rope and said that she could clear my head
She led me to the dirt path
All the way back to her daddy's shed
I said, "Sally who'd believe
That we'd have to come so far for a thrill."
Sally let me go that night
Weak, tired and spent in Merrittville

William with the holy book
Stopped me as I stumbled down the road today
He said "Get on your knees, boy.
It's time you learned the right way to pray"
I said "William, I had no idea
That the lord had such a will
William drove his point across
And left me here to burn in Merrittville

The Medicine Show
View Lyrics & Tabs in new window

The Medicine Show

  • CMJ

    Unquestionably one of the records of the year. As the rock experience has moved onward over the past three decades certain groups and artists have emerged as its true leaders-paying......more>
  • AllMusic.COM

    More Neil Young and Crazy Horse than the previous Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground-inspired album, the Syndicate rip through eight fairly traditional (save for the feedback) rock songs. The CD reissue includes This Is Not the Dream Syndicate Album...Live! , five songs performed from the album. "The Medicine Show" and the similar "John Coltrane Stereo Blues" are the keepers, and check the guitar on "Bullet With My Name on It." The record wrestles with American roots music in a way college rockers probably weren't familiar with, and thus it was almost universally hated at the time. Wynn admits in the liner notes to the CD reissue that this is his favorite release with the band. -- Denise Sullivan
  • Groove.NO

    Tidenes sommarl?? Det er verken Summertime Blues, Summer In the City eller for den saks skyld Neste Sommer. Tidenes strste sommarl? er John Coltrane Stereo Blues. Sommaren 1984 var det......more>

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Tour Dates

2014-08-01 Cooperstown, NY
2014-08-02 Brooklyn, NY
2014-08-03 Asbury Park, NJ
2014-08-05 Louisville, KY
2014-08-07 Chicago, ILL
2014-08-10 Madison, WI
2014-08-11 Minneapolis, MN
2014-08-13 Kansas City, MO
2014-08-15 Denver, CO
2014-08-29 Portland, OR
2014-08-31 Seattle, WA
2014-09-04 San Diego, CA
2014-09-05 Los Angeles, CA
2014-09-06 Santa Monica, CA
2014-09-08 San Francisco, CA
2014-09-11 Portland, OR
2014-09-26 Atlanta
2014-09-27 Atlanta
2014-10-07 Cleveland, OH
2014-10-08 Detroit, MI
2014-10-09 Milwaukee, WI
2014-10-10 Chicago, ILL
2014-10-11 Madison, WI
2014-11-22 Los Angeles, CA
more dates >