Dr. Hook

Pleasure & Pain: The History of Dr. Hook

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Ray Sawyer's cracked, anguished overstatement of 1972 hit "Sylvia's Mother" was an archetypal moment of disposable pop. This, along with subsequent wry hit "Cover of the Rolling Stone," established the good doctors as a cool, country-rock/pop vehicle for Shel Silverstein's intelligent, ironic, yet populist songwriting. Unfortunately, the group evolved into purveyors of toothless, inconsequential radio fodder like "Sharing the Night Together" and pseudo-dance production "Sexy Eyes" that completely repudiated their signature country-inflected sound and have not worn well with time. Any way you cut it, three CDs constitutes overkill for a group of this limited stature (the third disc consists of previously unreleased material from the inconsequential period). Incredibly, the bloated set manages to skimp on the more interesting early material, presumably because it had to be licenced from then-record label Sony.

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