Reissue of Dream Syndicate’s 1984 classic Medicine Show

I thought it was really good news to see that Water Records is planning a re-release of Dream Syndicate’s second album, 1984’s Medicine Show, produced by Sandy Pearlman (Clash, Blue Oyster Cult) on June 15.

In the words of singer/songwriter, Steve Wynn:

“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:

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.”

The Medicine Show (live 1984)

Tell Me When It’s Over (live 1984)

Still Holding On To You (Live 1984)

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