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Sylvia and her Mother

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10 years ago, a Dutch public TV producer tracked down the Sylvia, and her mother, from the song "Sylvia's Mother." Recorded by Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, it was a big hit in 1971, and like most early Dr. Hook songs, it was written by Shel Silverstein - also famous for his amazing children's books.

The producer contacted me to let us know about his short film, which is fascinating. Sylvia kept a low profile and the letters Shel sent her way, which have his distinctive handwriting.

Dr. Hook had two main vocalists: Ray Sawyer (the guy with the eye patch) and Dennis Locorriere, who post-Hook had a great career as a solo artist and backup singer.

I described Dennis' vocal delivery on the song as having a "touch of whimsy," but when I contacted him, he told me that I was all wrong. He knew the song came from a place of deep despair, and his vocal was 100% sincere. I wasn't the only one to misinterpret it, since Dr. Hook was all about goofy fun and many of their Silverstein songs were comedy - like "Freaker's Ball."

Here's the story:

Searching for Sylvia

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