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****Excellent ***Good **Fair *Poor : COMPACT DISCS

January 05, 1988|ROBERT HILBURN | Terry Atkinson

"Golden Hits." Roger Miller. Smash. Attention, trivia fans: This budget package ($10.99 in one retail chain) may just be the shortest CD ever released on a major artist. At just 22 minutes and 34 seconds, "Golden Hits" checks in with a full 16 seconds less music than "50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong," widely regarded as the previous holder of this dubious distinction. One reason for the brevity is that Miller, whose hits ranged from the wanderlust of the Grammy-winning "King of the Road" to the starkness of "One Dyin' and a Buryin' ," wrote short songs. Several of the 11 tunes run less than two minutes. Yet this is also another case of a record company simply reissuing an album on CD in its original vinyl form rather than adding songs to better represent the history and importance of the artist. That's especially unfortunate in this case because Miller--blessed with a marvelous sense of irony, humor and offbeat rhyme--is one of the most influential country songwriters of the post-honky-tonk era. Among the Top-40 hits missing: "Husbands and Wives" and "Walkin' in the Sunshine."***

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