Marilyn Martin was the first to release a version of this song on the soundtrack to "Streets of Fire" in 1984. On that version Stevie sings backup.
This song reflects the craziness of the Los Angeles scene during the time when Stevie and Lindsey were trying to make it there, and when Stevie lost her innocence about the music business. The beginning of the song talks about someone who is tired, worn-out, and miserable, someone who paid "a high price for [her] luxury." While she and Lindsey had little money at this time, she could be referring to the show business types around her, big stars whose fame does not seem to have brought them happiness.
The "man and woman on a star stream, in the middle of a snow dream" sounds like it's describing Lindsey and her, rocketing through the surreal world of stardom, looking for the "high life." But she says in the next line that she wants to "put [the sorcerer] on ice." I think she wants to stay away from becoming that show business type, from those problems. She feels like all the jaded, even frightening world of the fast living rockers she's surrounded by translate into "black ink darkness." She wants to find the "lady from the mountain", stick to the "real Stevie" (she has another song, a demo, called Lady from the Mountain, where she is also the titular lady). She goes on to repeat her inner conflict between giving into the temptation of becoming that show business "sorcerer" and losing herself. Who is the master? Did she win that battle or lose it? Only Stevie knows!
This song is obscure, but one of my favorite Stevie compositions. There's a rare Fleetwood Mac recording of this, that's almost bluegrass in its approach, which makes sense for the "Lady from the Mountain". I think the line "man and woman on a star stream, in the middle of a snow dream" could mean Stevie and Lindsay at the height of their success, and the snow dream could likely be Stevie's much-talked about cocaine problem. Over and over she wonders who is the master -- Fame? Success? the false stage persona? the innocent woman from the Mountain?
I have a completely differrent take on "Sorcerer." Perhaps it's the way I lived the '70s, or perhaps it just reflects a different life experience, but "Sorcerer" is, to me, clearly about cocaine.
If you've ever awakened sometime in the late afternoon after a very long night of indulging in coke, you'd understand the "tired and thirsty" line (especially the thirsty!). People who use cocaine on a regular basis get, in the lingo of the drug culture, "wild eyed." It's something you look for when you suspect someone is using: eyes open too wide, darting around the room. And believe me, when you must do a line and don't have any, that's the very definition of "misery." "Who is the master?" You or the drug? The "high price for your luxury" pretty much seems self explanatory in this context. Stevie admits to spending literally millions on cocaine.
So I believe Stevie's "Sorcerer" is a metaphor for a "Source"
Other cocaine references:
o "Man and woman on a star stream, in the middle of a *snow dream*"
o "Show me the high life/Come over, let me put you on ice.
o "Who found the lady from the mountain" (coca leaves are gown mainly in the mountains of South America")
o "I'm tired, I need you badly. ..." Unless you've been there ...
I realize Stevie says this song was written before her 11-year cocaine binge, but somehow, I think she was exposed to the drug early on. She tells a story about finding a "line" in producer Keith Olsen's house when she was still a "cleaning lady." And of course, her songs have been prophetic more than once. ...
Want to speculate about "Sorcerer"? E-mail me and I'll post your comments.