SONG TITLE: QUEEN OF THE SILVER DOLLAR
PERFORMER: DR. HOOK AND THE MEDICINE SHOW
SONGWRITER: SHEL SILVERSTEIN
YEAR OF RELEASE: 1973
COMMENTS: This song seems like it should come off contrived. All this groupís good songs were written by a big freaky Hebrew city boy who makes his living writing Playboy cartoons and childrenís books. And in this case not a country, but a Western song, as per some tv old west bar, maybe Kittyís whorehouse from Gunsmoke. Only itís a modern bar, really, so it turns into tough countrified funk.
It should come out like shit, but it turns out to be a classic. Partly it is because there is an outstanding melody grounding the whole thing. The verse builds up nicely with short phrases, then there is just an outstanding dramatic chorus.
Part of the reason it works is also that it is emotionally real. Beyond any minor metaphorical gimmicks, the lyric is a good dramatic situation. You could base a screenplay on the narratorís story of how he uprooted a nice country girl, lured her to the city, and left her as just another lonely whore in a bar. There is the plight of the girl, and the narratorís guilt and despair for his part.
Also, this is a really classic Dr. Hook arrangement. The country flavors, mixed with the funky bass, the horns and the little quavering in the singerís voice. These things create a sound unlike any other Iíve heard.
This song was the b-side of the first record I ever bought. It sure as hell set a standard for hopes if not expectations that few other singles would match.
Music Sustains the Soul
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