137 – Dr Robert – Joshua Gabriel
Original Version recorded 17, 19 April 17, 19 1966
Ukulele version recorded August 9 2011
Joshua Gabriel – Vocal – ukulele
David Barratt – Everything else
Produced by David Barratt at The Abattoir Of Good Taste using a selection of serotonin reuptake inhibitors
Written by John Lennon
Credited to Lennon & McCartney
ABOUT THE SONG
DRUGS ARE BAD!! DRUGS ARE GOOD!! DRUGS ARE BAD!! DRUGS ARE GOOD!! DRUGS ARE BAD!! DRUGS ARE GOOD!! DRUGS ARE BAD!! DRUGS ARE GOOD!!
The inspiration for “Doctor Robert” was Dr. Charles Roberts whose unorthodox prescriptions had made him a great favorite of Andy Warhol’s entourage, and, indeed, of the Beatles themselves, whenever they passed through town.
The inspiration for “Doctor Robert” was almost German-born Dr. Robert Freeman, a elderly German born physician with a practice on East 78th Street This was an alias used by Jean Stein to conceal the identity of another speed doctor.) "I can tell you in ten minutes", he said "probably 100 famous names who come here." John Lennon, the author of this song, was one of these famous names. He died in 1987. Robert Freymann that is, not Lennon.
The inspiration for “Dr Robert” was Doctor Riley, he was a dentist, and during a dinner in his home he tricked John and George and their wives into trying LSD for the first time in 1965. Doctor Riley died in 1986. In The Gospel According To The Beatles (published 2006), author Steve Turner interviews two of the late Dr. John Riley’s wives and shed new light on the Beatles’ early 1965 psychedelic experience.
The Inspiration for “Dr Robert” is Dr. Robert of Pala, in Aldous Huxley’s book "Island". Huxley is on Sgt. Pepper album, so it must be him. Also, in the Huxley’s book, Dr. Robert is the administer and main supporter of "moksha medicine" (which is I believe psilocybin synthesized into a pill for The National Health.
The Inspiration for “Dr Robert” is John Lennon. “Doctor Robert was another of mine. Mainly about drugs and pills. It was about myself: I was the one that carried all the pills on tour and always have done. Well, in the early days. Later on the roadies did it, and we just kept them in our pockets loose, in case of trouble.”
I think they must have been on drugs.
The Ukulele Version of Dr. Robert is performed by a man with a unique combination of talents who goes by the most saintly of names – Joshua Gabriel.
I first encountered JG in an East Village bar sometime between the first and second Iraq wars. Since that time he has stunned me with his DJing skills (flawless), his songwriting (brutal, disturbing and tender) and his art (brash, incisive and elegant).
Joshua had never played ukulele before this session and approached the instrument in a unique and intuitive manner that left me breathless.
He is of course the real Dr. Robert, and I have been addicted to his work for over a decade.