Tag Archives: Dennis Locorriere

Farewell to Ray Sawyer

I was sorry to hear that Ray Sawyer died today. He was 81, which seems almost impossible when you think back to his image in earlier days.

Having been a great fan of Dr Hook & the Medicine Show decades ago, I liked both Dennis Locorriere and Ray. Both had gorgeous voices. Very different voices, but which made Dr Hook what they were.

I have always loved the solo album Ray recorded back then, even if in later years I was concerned about his view of women. But I decided you can like someone’s singing, and the song [the music] but still disagree with how women were portrayed in those songs.

I particularly like The One I’m Holding Now, while it illustrates what I say above.

Fair Fairweather

Eight years isn’t too late to review a concert, is it?

Daughter says it isn’t, but she seems to have forgotten the whole evening, which is surprising for someone who remembers everything, especially when I don’t.

So, Dennis Locorriere came to the Lowry back in 2010 (although the rate at which he tours, I’m sure he’s been back several times since). I’d been looking forward to it, as the time I saw him before that, was one of those magical evenings. But this time – eight years ago – he half lost his shine.

Though that’s not what I want to tell you about.

Dennis had someone there to play first, and I hate that! This was someone I’d never heard of; Andy Fairweather Low. Yes, I realise I was unusual in this. But anyway. There was Andy, looking like a middle-aged bank manager, singing unexpected songs in a most unexpected voice. I hoped he wouldn’t take too long over it.

But you just never know when you’ll fall in love, do you? No, not that way. Just the music.

By the second song I was enjoying this bank manager in his brown suit. I was more than pleased that he sang for about 45 minutes, which is a thought that would have shocked me when he started.

In the interval before Dennis came on, I rushed out to beat the queue to buy Andy’s CDs and have them signed. I was second, but had the bad luck to be second after a really big fan. But that was enlightening in itself, as I realised some people had actually come to hear Andy, rather than Dennis. So I listened in on the conversation, and eventually got my CDs signed, and went back in.

That’s when I experienced a certain level of disappointment. But I have already written about that here, and been told off by a fan, so there’s no need to go into that again.

I have listened a lot to Andy Fairweather Low since then, always enjoying his singing. I have also, slightly fruitlessly, looked online every now and then in the hopes he’d be coming to a stage near me, but somehow the time or the place never seemed right.

(In my current situation, I can heartily recommend coming to the Stirling Albert Halls. If they’re good enough for Jimmy Osmond…)

Post Cool

Dennis Locorriere mentioned how not cool he is, and that’s a sentiment I share. Not that he’s not cool, but that I’m not. As well. We can be un-cool ‘together’. It’s not often – I imagine – that pop stars feel a certain level of un-coolness. In fact, I was almost flabbergasted to hear that Dennis doesn’t drive. Can you really be his age and American and not drive?

So, that was his reason for calling the latest album Post Cool, which would seem to be when you’re just generally past it. I think it’s actually quite a cool not cool description.

Post Cool

Now that I’ve had time to listen to Post Cool in the comfort of my own home, and all that, I like it as much as I knew I would. It’s just that on first hearing songs at a concert, I’m never good with new. There are tracks I like less, but most are very enjoyable and some are positively wonderful.

She Don’t Care is great, and so is I’m Impressed With Myself. And I love Ask Her.

And no doubt, after longer still with Post Cool, I will discover even more about it. I’m just slightly puzzled because iTunes are shuffling the tracks of my albums at the moment. (No need to write in; I’m sure it’s a setting I’ve disturbed and it’s all my fault.)

I take it all back!

A witch can be so wrong on occasion, you know. I’m about to eat my words, and possibly have a helping of humble pie somewhere, too.

I did not expect a backing band at the Dennis Locorriere concert on Monday night. When I saw on arrival at the Lowry that there would be, I was disappointed, and spent the best part of twenty minutes in my seat before the performance stating all the reasons it was a bad idea. And to be fair, I have always found it to be a mistake on other occasions.

Had never heard of Andy Fairweather Low before, which no doubt reflects badly on me. When I googled him I found he was in the Albion Band once, so our paths have probably crossed in the past after all, but I don’t remember him.

So there I was, hoping he would have half an hour at the most, so that we could get on with Dennis. After the first instrumental Andy said he’d be on stage for forty minutes and my heart sank. The first piece was good, but I still felt forty minutes was too long.

Then came the next number and he sang. It was the strangest voice I’d heard for a long time, but what a voice! I fell in love almost instantly, and settled in to enjoy those short forty minutes. There wasn’t a single song I didn’t like, and the selection was varied and absolutely perfect. If a little on the short side. (There’s nothing like the first throes of love, is there?)

I wasn’t taking notes then either, but among the songs Andy did were Bend Me Shape Me, If Paradise Is Half As Nice, and When You’re Smiling. All perfect. Sort of. Just before he forgot the lyrics at one point, Andy had been telling us about the fan who had accused him of miming. ‘I’m not bloody miming now’ he pointed out, while improvising.

As a complete Andy novice I was grateful for the quick resumé of his professional past, although if I tot up all the years playing with all those stars, Andy would have to be at least a hundred. He looks good for a man of a hundred.

The band was excellent, too. I don’t usually mind too much, one way or the other, but I could tell how talented they are. The whole thing was one of those blissful moments of perfection, which never happen when you expect it. They sneak up on you, and that makes it so much better.

Andy Fairweather Low

As the interval began, I used my advantage of being in the right spot and rushed out to be third in the signing queue. I realised at the signing that the other people there actually knew and adored Andy, which is why I hardly dared open my mouth. And having left Daughter in her seat, I had to do the photographing myself. I thought the other picture I took was better, but she says this one. Being young, she knows best.

I can’t do this, but I’d like to go up to Buxton next Tuesday to see Andy again. And I see he’s playing at the Bridgewater Hall in July…

Dennis Locorriere at the Lowry

Words will have to be eaten, but I’m not hungry this very minute so will eat them a little later. Like after I’ve slept. There is only so much blogging a witch can do after midnight.

Dennis Locorriere at the Lowry on Monday night was full of old people, as Daughter said with a shudder. Who’d have thought that I’d still be here, listening to Dennis, almost forty years on? Daughter’s presence lowered the average age considerably, and she wanted to hide when finding herself at the same concert as school staff. A girl has to have standards, and that is why I took her along. High time she was introduced properly to Dennis and his voice.

Speaking of that out-of-this-world voice, I’d like to give the following advice: Don’t shout when you sing, Dennis. Not that I’m a music expert, but that voice was meant to seduce, and not sound like its owner is under attack. Leave the shouting to those who need it.

It must be quite hard to decide who to be, when there is the very successful past with Doctor Hook, and then all the years since then, being Dennis Locorriere. He lectured us a little, on the necessity of learning to love new songs, because once even Sylvia’s Mother was brand new. (I know, but I loved it immediately.) So we got a mix of new and old songs, starting with a couple of new ones.

I liked some of the new songs, and I know I will like them better when I’ve heard them more. But I did like the old songs best, and I’m sure I wasn’t alone in that. When someone else does a cover version of an old song, there is some sense behind giving it a new interpretation. Making it yours, in some way. I’d say that Dennis doesn’t need to reinvent Doctor Hook songs. We like them as they were, and if singing softly worked OK 35 years ago, there is no need to shout because it’s 2010.

More Like the Movies is a bit of a favourite, so I loved hearing it. But no need for shouting. Queen of the Silver Dollar is fine being loud. It was a good choice for the first final song. Would have worked well as the final final song, too. The Ballad of Lucy Jordan is a great late song, and another possible candidate for final number.

I didn’t feel like taking notes, as I was enjoying listening to Dennis, so have no complete song list. Neither did I feel able to spend £5 on a programme.

The lighthearted banter with the fans is a sign of having a faithful fan base, and both sides were adept at improvising. Innuendo is fun in the right circumstances, but perhaps leave the ex-wives out of it?

Strobe lighting. Yes. I could say a lot about that. Without would be an improvement, but since it was there, I’ll just say that I was the one with a hand over my face. And that means no applause from my fair hands. Sorry. Self defence, you know. But the long strands of toilet paper was a nice touch as stage decorations!

Dennis Locorriere at The Lowry

If public transport in Manchester was decent, we could have hung around for an autograph afterwards. We were well placed to make it out first, but couldn’t make use of our advantage. I trust the photo ban didn’t carry through to the foyer. I can see that a ban is useful if people disturb others, but as it was, it was the member of staff who pushed past us to chastise a lady on my left for getting her camera out, who disturbed. Having to make way for an usher treading on people’s toes, just as Dennis came on stage, rather ruined the occasion for those of us in the firing line. And the lady on my right wasn’t told off for recording a song. It’s worth considering that a concert is something a lot of people have looked forward to for a long time.

Cooky and Lila

Cooky and Lila must surely be one of the best love songs? It features ‘ordinary’ love between ‘ordinary’ people.

I think it must be my favourite Doctor Hook song. It’s from the album Bankrupt, which again is my favourite. Neither the song nor the LP tended to be what they’d play on the radio in those days. At least not my radio. So it was good to hear Dennis Locorriere say at a concert that it was his favourite album, too. Hope it wasn’t a trick of my hearing. You hear what you want to hear.

Bankrupt is good because it’s one of the earlier albums, and it doesn’t have all that ‘arranged-ness’ that comes with success and fame. It’s simply got Doctor Hook’s natural charm, and that’s what they did best.

It’s not easy picking a ‘best of’ out of a great selection of tracks, but there was always something special about Cooky and Lila. Sad, but happy, lyrics sung by Dennis could be one explanation. But then many of their songs would fit the bill. It’s not even a Shel Silverstein song, and his were always the best.

How can anyone sing the word ‘cream’ and make it sound so sexy?

Dennis whatsisname

No sooner had I bought concert tickets for when Dennis Locorriere comes to a stage near me, than the iPod started playing more of his songs. Well, more of Doctor Hook’s songs, to be precise. I take that as a promising sign.

It was listening to good old radio Luxembourg which started me up with Doctor Hook and His Medicine Show, as they used to be. What better voice to glue yourself to the radio with, than Dennis’s? And after all these years, he’s still got the power. Or so I hope.

He was more than OK in Buxton about five years ago. He was so OK that he appeared not to want to stop singing, which was annoying as I had a last train home to catch, having to leave and hear his voice follow me out into the dark night and down the road and all that.

Apparently people have problems with his name, but it’s a straightforward Italian name. And if he’s a little bit Italian, that explains the voice, doesn’t it?