the song
title : Medicine
written by : Eddi Reader, Boo Hewerdine and Teddy Borowiecki
song copyright : © 1996 Warner Music UK Ltd
Eddi said
“Forgiveness – dependency – co-dependency – we’re all a bit twisted and it’s fine.”
Candyfloss and medicine - tour notes

the performance
musicians
Eddi Reader lead vocal
Teddy Borowiecki Wurlitzer, tympani
Boo Hewerdine acoustic rhythm guitar
Calum MacColl acoustic and electric guitars, dulcimer
David Piltch electric bass
Roy Dodds drums and percussion
with :
The Electra Strings :
Jules Singleton, Sonia Slaney,
Sally Herbert, Anna Hemery,
Jocelyn Pook, Claire Orsler,
Dinah Beamish and Sian Bell
strings
Annie Whitehead trombone
music
key : E flat major
time-signature : 6/8
tempo : MM 52 (dotted-crochet), 156 (quaver)
form : V R V R M V R ½v M V R V R
lyrics

provided for research and private study only (see above for copyright details):

Medicine

did you fall out of the family tree
here’s a kiss to mend your knee

everybody needs some kind of medicine sometimes

how long did you think it would last with your
sleeping pills and laughing gas?

everybody needs some kind of medicine sometimes

throwing our hats at the moon in George’s Square
was that ever us?
climbing walls, giving names to the stars
was that ever us?

but if you come home with me I’ll
slap a little something in your tea

everybody needs some kind of medicine sometimes

– cello riff

throwing our hats at the moon in George’s Square? –
was that ever us?
climbing walls, giving names to the stars
was that ever us?

you’ve been hanging out in casualty
for shooting too much mercury

everybody needs some kind of medicine sometimes

oh, and if you come home with me I’ll
score for you if you score for me

everybody needs some kind of medicine sometimes


sometimes
ah-ah [etc.]

explanations
Once again the lyrics in the Japanese Eddi Reader compilation album Seventeen stories start to confuse the inquisitive listener (see ‘All or nothing’ and ‘Glasgow star’ for other examples of this!). Although, to my ear, Eddi quite clearly sings ‘family tree’, the printed lyric has ‘fairy tree’ which is certainly possible. Perhaps all the confusion is part of a post-modern plot, where Eddi’s unique mix of Glasgow, London and mid-Atlantic singing voices allows each listener to interpret key words against their own frame of reference. After all, what’s most important about a song is the overall effect, not the individual details, so if the effect for you is enhanced by a certain interpretation instead of the ‘official’ one: good. That thought might lead you to ask why I bother with the minutiae on this website? to which my answer is that as it’s my website, with input from other Honeychildren as they see fit, these are my interpretations – and at least I’m annotating them so you are aware of that fact.

Less contentiously now I will point out that, for the second time on the Candyfloss and medicine album, Glasgow gets a mention. George’s Square is in the city-centre quite close to the Buchanan Street which is mentioned in the album’s first track ‘Glasgow star’.

the recording
personnel
produced by : Eddi Reader and Teddy Borowiecki
recorded by : Gerry O’Riordan assisted by Dan Gilliland, Mark Chambers and Ron Warshow at The Snake Ranch, Lots Road, Chelsea, London and David Bottrill assisted by Adrian Scarff and Simon Wall at Eden Studios, Acton, London (vocals)
mixed by : David Bottrill at Eden Studios, Acton, London
mastered by : Tim Young at Metropolis
technical
track timing : 4:12
song timing : m:ss
released on
album : Candyfloss and medicine (UK, Japan) track 3
single : Medicine CD 1 and CD 2 track 1
album : Candyfloss and medicine (US) track 6
album : Seventeen stories: the best of Eddi Reader   (comp.) track 10

commentary
It is difficult to tell in this song how much is imagery and how much can be considered factual. As mercury is poisonous, one must assume that “shooting too much” of it refers to body temperature as measured on a mercury thermometer. However, “slap[ping] a little something in your tea” has more overtly intoxicant overtones, in my opinion, and this is strengthened by the alteration to “score for you if you’ll score for me” in the last verse, although again this may only be metaphorical.

According to Jenny Atkin the song quoted softly in the playout is “On white horses, snowy white horses, let me ride away…”. The Trash Can Sinatras recorded this as one of their b-sides.
Adrian Dover