Originally known as “Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show”, this band had a truly eclectic career. Their output can be divided in three main groups: 1) Comedy numbers, 2) Disco songs and 3) Ballads. All of these genres are impinged with a country sensibility, and this is one of their many compilations. It was released in 1992, and the 20 songs on offer map out these three genres more than adequately, stopping in each one for long enough without ever going too far.
The comedy numbers are mostly penned by Shel Silverstein, and they are absolutely hysterical. Located mainly at the beginning of the disc, they include “The Millionaire”, “Everybody’s Making It Big But Me” and the popular “Cover Of The Rolling Stone”. What many people don’t realize is that in addition to composing these comedy numbers Silverstein did also come up with many of the band’s ballads, such as the excellent “More Like The Movies” and “A Couple More Years”.
The disco songs included on this compilation are “Walk Right In”, “You Make My Pants Wanna Get Up And Dance” and “Sexy Eyes”. They are entertaining and to-the-point, but I would say that both the ballads and the comedy songs are more endurable.
The section of the album which is devoted to ballads is heralded by “Sharing The Night Together”, “A Little Bit More” and “If Not You”. These are arguably Dr. Hook’s most popular compositions, but there are also a couple of numbers like “Years From Now” and “Sweetest Of All” that are as good as these hits. In particular, I find “Years From Now” a song that transcends the other, better-known hits. The keyboards are very elegant, and the sentiment conveyed on the song (that of love which becomes true devotion) is delineated excellently.
Of course, also included are the huge hits “Sylvia’s Mother”, “Only Sixteen” and “When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman” (in an extended version). And they all sound as good as ever.
An album which is as variegated as this one can but keep you engaged for quite a while, and the sequencing helps a lot. Some hits like “I Got Stoned And I Missed It” and “Baby Makes Her Blue Jeans Talk” are obviated, but seeing the strong reactions the different phases of the band always elicit it is safe to say the compilers did a representative job. All in all, a good way of getting acquainted with a key 70s artist. As a group, Dr. Hook was as irreverent as it was heartfelt, and as jovial as it was moving. And that comes across when you listen to this compilation.
Would I recommend purchase of this compilation: Yes
Do I feel like digging deeper into their catalog after listening to it: Yes