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4.0 out of 5 stars
Medicine Show
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£22.69+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

VINE VOICETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 November 2017
Dream Syndicate were lumped in with a bunch of early eighties West Coast bands underan umbrella called 'The Paisley Underground', alongisde the likes of The Long Ryders, Naked Prey, Rain Parade and The Three O'Clock. 'Medicine Show' was their major-label debut (their one and only), produced by Sandy Pearlman, who had produced Blue Oyster Cult and The Clash, and it is very, very good. The old 'side 2' features 'John Coltrane Stereo Blues', which was a live tour-de-force for guitarist Karl Precoda, and 'Merrittville', a kind of Bruce Springsteen flavoured opus. It's worn pretty well, however, I think that the band's main weakness was vocalist and leader Steve Wynn - he just wasn't a great singer, and the songs could perhaps have been even more effective with a better lead vocalist. This CD reissue is fleshed out with the 'This Is Not The Dream Syndicate...Live' 12" mini album that came out soon after the album debuted in 1984.
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on 25 June 2011
I remember emailing Steve Wynn singer and front man of the Dream Syndicate about the possible reissue of `Medicine Show' CD. This about eight years ago. Wynn could not elaborate. It was only by serendipity that I stumbled on this re-release. I am lucky.

While I'm not a fan of the Syndicate: I do admire the above-mentioned release and their `Live at Rajas' set, which features a fair amount of material from `Medicine Show' including the title track, `Burn' and `John Coltrane Stereo Blues' which has special guest Peter Case of `The Plimsouls' on harmonica.

But returning back to this reissue, why is the Medicine Show worth hearing and purchasing? Well, the sound on the disc is excellent, very crispy and upgraded. I have a Cyrus 8XP D amp and Cyrus CD 8 SE player and Spendor S3e speakers and the stereo imaging of the disc is indeed hi-fidelity. Sandy Pearlman's production, whilst slick, ensues that Wynn's vocals are way up in the mix. I've never heard Wynn sound this demented (at times) before or since. And above all, the songs are a paradox of commerciality and the dark.

The disc comes in a digi pac format too. There are liner notes which include Wynns' brief account of time it took to record the disc, how the recording is unlike anything he's ever recorded and how he calls the album a "beautiful loser." Plus, there is an additional live mini-album which starts with the most amazing piano introduction that I've ever heard before breaking into `Tell me when it's Over.' The remaster is excellent as one can hear a lot of clarity and detail in comparative to the original release. It is these reasons, plus much more, why I would recommend this version of Medicine Show. Enjoy.
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on 14 August 2016
Heard this on vinyl many years ago.
Great that it is now available again on any format.
C.d. arrived as described
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on 24 November 2014
None of the different versions released of the musics in this disk sound the same as the originals. This is it.
Not enough words to thank whoever decided to edit the CD after 20+ years :-/
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on 7 January 2016
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VINE VOICEon 14 June 2010
I thought I had better edit this review since my original was pre-release.As I write I see that the CD is not currently available via Amazon presumably (hopefully) having sold out of its first pressing. Either that or it's the return of the A & M conspiracy which prevented re-release for some 20 years. I therefore speak to the nation and say rise up and protest. Luckily I have my copy but had I not chanced upon the pre-release offer I might had missed out. Anyway to recap...back in the dark ages when men were men & sheep were worried,elpees walked the earth and syn drums ruled the airwaves.Guitars were just those things that your elder brother remembered. Into that land that taste forgot came a band that welded a southern Lou Reed with Crazy Horse style rifferamma. Steve Wynn was and still is a hugely underappreciated songsmith and a pretty mean rhythm player - added to that is the incendiary guitar heroics of Karl Pecoda - "lead guitar". Behind them a crack bass/drum squad of Dennis Duck & Dave Provost. To that add a gig up to the piano/keyboards of Tommy Zvoncic (spelling ?)who manages to move between Al Kooper oomph and Mike Garston type impressionism(Bowie band). Tommy later went onto play with B.O.C. as I recall. In an album which has no weak songs it is churlish to pick out favs but it would be rude not to try. The song "Merrittville" is a creepy song of small town americana which would make a cracking film of Southern vengence. "Burn" positively steams along in sultryness. Few can drawl as well as Steve Wynn on "Bullet with my name on it" - the one song written soley by Pecoda. The word "name" gets elongated to the point of Jaggerism. The masterjam that is "John Coltrane Stereo Blues" ought to be in the pantheon of Rock but for reasons that escape me isn't - even after all these years when other lesser albums have been hailed as lost masterpieces this is one that seems to have fallen so far off the critical radar that I had almost given up hope of it ever being released again on CD. All I can say is that out of five I would give this one 10 if that were possible. Dream Syndicate may have nicked their name of a pre Velvets combo and did go onto other fine albums (without the blessed Karl) but this is truly their defining moment. It should appear in every top 10 albums of all time (I originally allowed some latitude for personal taste here but have decided against this), personally I would rate this in the top 5 Yes it's that stonking. As for the technical aspects of the remaster, Water (the label) appear to have done a fine job as all the dynamics are retained - a plus is the inclusion of the live album "This is not the new Dream Syndicate album" which amply demostrates that the band could kick serious ass. The packaging is rudimentary although the sleeve notes are very fine. Really what was required however was a Phil Smee type job (always a sign of quality) but I suppose that would be too much to hope for. There is no doubt that any lovers of Americana or Paisley Underground should step up to the plate - the nation of Rock demands it.
I commend this CD to the house.
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on 11 September 2010
Woah, I wonder how many people would name their review of 'Medicine Show' by The Dream Syndicate after a JBJ (as he is affectionatly known) lyric. Truth be told, Mr John Francis Bongiovi Jr would kill to have ever once produced anything within the calibre of 'Medicine Show'. Not that the public would probably agree or care. Oh well, I'm too old in the tooth and exasperated to really care whether the general public will ever appreciate anything this real. If your reading this you probably already agree anyway so I'll just bite my lip and continue. Rant over.

The Dream Syndicate formed in California in 1981, by 1982 they'd already released the seminal debut 'The Days Of Wine And Roses' and had gained a reputation as a ferocious live act. But by 1984 the band (Steve Wynn - Guitar/Lead Vocals, Karl Precoda - Lead & Rythm Guitar, Dave Provost - Bass and Dennis Duck -Drums) had reached somewhat of a crossroads, for a start how do you follow up such a tremendous debut record but also their recent signing to major label A&M Records had given their hardcore following of fans some ammunition for the inevitable 'sell-out' tag and the introduction of Sandy Pearlman (manager to Blue Oyster Cult & Black Sabbath and CBS in-house producer of The Clash's 1978 record 'Give Em' Enough Rope') to the production table only gave further ammunition for that mis-guided viewpoint. Sadly, this all led towards the album being a commercial flop which did untold damage to the core members of the band and depressingly denied the general public a bona-fide classic record.

The first side of the album is dominated by potetial chart hits such as 'Still Holding On To You' and ' Burn' (a personal mix-tape favourite of mine). The tracks all have a jaunty, weathered 'Exile On Main Street' feel to them (in fact, REM's Peter Buck once famously described the record as an 'Exile.. for the 80's') with heavy organ use, deep southern 'hoe-down' style bass lines and guitar melodies (and duels) very reminiscent of New York's finest, Television. The record really does have a feel all of its own, only proving the bands decision to recruit the experienced Pearlman to the production desk as valid. Each of the first five songs are densly layered pop nuggets which in anoter time and another galaxy should have been smash hits. Seriously, in the hair-metal obsessed 1980's how did 'Armed With An Empty Gun' go completely unnoticed whilst posuer-acts such as Mötley Crüe enjoyed boundless chart success ?, it is truly unfathomable. The fact that they ended up opening for U2 (rather than the other way around) makes me truly sorry for the whole human race.

Side two is something else entirely. Three breathtaking songs layed out across 26 incredible minutes, it is a sprawling, dense and as black as death. With 'John Coltrane Stereo Blues'(a nine minute guitar master class from Mr Precoda) at its dark centre and an undeniably great title track it could possibly be the finest side of vinyl/casette/8-track/CD ever produced. The guitars seem to linger more than they have any right to, the drumming is so water tight that it could have saved the Titanic from certain doom and Wynn comes across as some deranged preacher laying out his sermon for his dwindling congregation. This music is truly touched by the hand of God.

Sadly, The Dream Syndicate would temporarily break up after the dismal sells of this classic, and upon their return they never quite found this magic again. Without the guitar genius of Karl Precoda and a mis-guided (in my personal view, not everyone shares this opinion) recruitment of Neil Young producer Elliot Mazer (1986's 'Out Of The Grey' is passable but never reaches the level of 'Medicine Show' or 'DOW&R') they seemed a shell of their former self with only the live album 'Live At Raji's' really worth investigating fully. But this record sits among the true greats and if JBJ's 'Slippery When Wet' can sell upward of 28 million records, then by rights this album should now be entering its second billionth sale. Damn public.

Rant, finally over.
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on 6 July 2010
i have always loved Medicine Show when i got a cdrw drive this was my first burn.
strictly for personal use only of course.
as far as i know this has never been available on cd before.
although there have been live recordings and a few tracks on compilations.
£15.99 looks expensive but it is a deluxe edition with a bonus live cd.
if you are interested in guitar rock you must hear this!
Medicine Show
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on 19 April 2015
I bought this when I was a student. Tastes have moved on. Not much here worth going back to.
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on 18 July 2012
For those who already know and love The Dream Syndicate this is a good album, and should have a place in your collection. But for those new to the band, be aware that they may be something of an acquired taste, and if you want easily digestable music, you may want to stear away.
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