"Medicine Show" as written by Michael Geoffrey Jones, Don Letts and Herman Ezekiel Williams....
Covered wagon medicine show
Take you to the place where the healing flows
Weak in spirit we got the juice
won't save your soul it'll shine your shoes
Treated king to kangaroo
Santa Fe to Timbuktu
Don't be fooled by imitation
This is the stuff that cured a nation
We took the tube and the high plains too
Never stopped long just passing through
A drop of the laughter of the maids of France
Makes a hopeless cripple dance

It was really vile weather
When we got to tarred and feathered
You could hear the six guns sound
As they chased us out of town

In India we're all the rave
Discovered that its great as aftershave
Dropped in the sea just off Japan
Swapped 20 bottles for an aqua-walkman
Immunity from ridicule
Improves your brains if you're a fool
And I read in the Middle East
They traded some for a hostage release
Now if you're bald it'll give you hair
If you got straight trousers it'll give you flares
Feeling up you'll get depressed
Out of style here's a brand new dress

It was really vile weather
When we got to tarred and feathered
You could hear the six guns sound
As they chased us out of town

The stuff we sell is just the best
Passing all consumer test
Days of heaven nights of sin
Voodoo stick and sharks fin
When all around you seems like hell
Just one sip will make you well
Multipurpose in a jar
If you ain't ill it'll fix your car
In days of yore for all bad feelings
Washing socks and stripping ceilings
Nowadays its used medicinally
For all known human malady

It was really vile weather
When we got to tarred and feathered
You could hear the six guns sound
As they chased us out of town

Guaranteed don't you know
Money back?
You'll get a no!
It's the one and only medicine show


Lyrics submitted by spickly

"Medicine Show" as written by Herman Ezekiel Williams Don Letts

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Medicine Show song meanings
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5 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentBAD and Jesus Jones were two of the first rock bands using samples in the 80s.

    In this case, the first four major Sergio Leone films are sampled liberally - and awesomely. The Good/Bad/Ugly, Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars more, and Fistful of Dynamite (aka Duck, You Sucker). All of which are incredible films.

    This is as sheer suggests. We can sell you any snake oil for "all known human malady". What a great way to kick off the post-Clash.
    arfarfon June 01, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI don't think it's about cocaine. I think it's more about the snake oil salesmen who have been around in every generation, peddling something with outrageous claims that it couldn't possibly lived up to. It doesn't feel to me like they're talking about a drug, though - more one of those 'miracle cures' that you see on the late night infomercials ;-)
    SMUSER26982on January 24, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBig Audio Dynamite is one of the greatest users of audio sampling, and this song proves it with its random lyrics from western movies.
    alty6905on April 28, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentScratch that last comment (not that anyone else has read this lyric in the past two years). It's most likely about the widespread drug use of the 80's, specifically cocaine, and how it had a controlling affect on both the rich and powerful as well as the lower class. The Clint Eastwood sound samples make one think of crackpot medicine salesmen in the old west.
    alty6905on February 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation3 parts moonshine and 1 part snake oil. Forerunner of WD-40! A good tune to have a drink to when life's gone to pot because it contains for me, a clear and detailed reference to the universal albeit transient, curative properties of cheap booze. Listened to it a lot after the biggest splitup of my life, and have fondly revisited the track once every few years ever since :-)
    nginmuon March 06, 2013   Link

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