The song may be a standard of sorts, but Dr Hook were one of the acts I came to Popular with very little idea about – kind of bluesy? Rootsy? Definitely rockers – the name summoned vague associations of bike grease and whisky… but then I remembered. I was getting them confused with Dr Feelgood. Of course! How silly of me – I should have known that the smoothies behind “…Beautiful Woman” weren’t some kind of gnarly bar band outfit!
And then I saw the video. Oh well.
This song suffers on two counts. Firstly it sounds more than a little out of date by now – this is hardly the first time we’ve encountered these bumping “Rock Your Baby” style rhythms, so diminishing returns have set in. Dr Hook play them well, though, and keep the groove gentle enough that this at least doesn’t feel to me like a crass rush for disco, more a thoughtful accomodation with it. Unfortunately, the tasteful music actually magnifies the other issue with the song – it’s a little too slick, its trot through the perils of being in love with a byoo-tiful woo-man just a bit too oily for post-Seventies tastes. If you’re in a generous mood – and the band’s enthusiasm in the video clip might tip you into one – this makes the record more enjoyable, but it’s still a song I’m more likely to giggle at than really dig.