With their fourth album, Joy and Pain, Maze and Frankie Beverly once again went gold with little or no support from pop radio. One of the band's most celebrated releases, this classic soared to the top of the R&B charts thanks to such hits as "Southern Girl" and the haunting title song (which, in 1988, rapper Rob Base would use without Beverly's permission). In interviews, Beverly expressed some disappointment over the fact that Capitol promoted Maze as strictly an R&B act and made no effort to promote Joy and Pain to pop audiences. And yet, Beverly wasn't about to become less R&B-oriented in order to cross over -- his contention was that, like Al Green and Marvin Gaye, he could reach pop radio without having to compromise. An essential album, Joy and Pain is the work of a band that made consistently rewarding soul and funk by sticking to its guns.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson