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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Collection of their biggest hits,
By A Customer
For us Smokey fans, the fact that the original albums are unavailable on CD is a great detriment, leaving only greatest hits collections and the 35th Anniversary Collection boxed set from 1994, now sadly out of press. This collection, albeit small (the number of hits the Miracles had is simply staggering, every single from 1967 to 1972 went top thirty) contains most of the essential songs, although one could probably wish for Got a Job to be on there, and maybe Why Do You Build Me Up to Tear Me Down.
Kevin Reeves' remastering seemes to have aimed at creating warmer sound textures for most of the songs while accentuating key parts. This works remarkably well in songs like Going to A-Go-Go where the drum section that acts as a sort of main theme to compliment Marv Taplin's guitar is accentuated to great effect, and likewise the spoken word sections in Baby, Baby, Don't Cry are much more lively than in the previous master. However, it also means that some of the detail is lost in the more crisp arrangements, with I Second That Emotion losing its distinctive horn section in a muddle of harmonies, for example.
Overall, this is an excellent introduction to those not acquainted with The Miracles.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Motown,
This review is from: Ultimate Collection [CASSETTE] (Audio Cassette)
Smokey Robinson was once described by Bob Dylan as "the greatest living poet". That is certainly nothing of an understatement and Smokey Robinson was one of the most richly talented singer/songwriter/producers at Tamla Motown Records.
Smokey Robinson gave Berry Gordy the initial ammunition for forming Tamla Motown Records and was also partly responsible for bringing the great Diana Ross to his attention, who was a close friend of Smokey's and indeed Smokey ended up having a short-lived affair with Diana, even though he was married to Claudette Robinson at the time. Berry Gordy expressed an interest in one of his songs and before long, a creative bond was forged that would change the face of music between blacks and whites.
Origanal memebers of The Miracles were Smokeys then wife, Claudette, Bobby Rogers, Ronnie White and Peter Moore. Smokey's obsessive themes were always centered around love that clearly inspired his always startling and highly remarkable compostions.
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles delivered Motown it's first hit with the blues-sounding, Shop Around. It encapsulated a neat mixture of R&B/Pop which proved to be a significant cross-over hit. This proved to be a breakthrough recording for both Smokey and the Miracles and indeed Motown Records itself. This was merley the beginning.
You Really Got A Hold On Me, was another magnificent recording in their early career which was lifted in 1963 and featured simplistic yet strongly emotive lyrics. Smokey's exuberant delivery was crystal-clear and possessed a lot of range which could be thrown around into any pitch and could always ride along Motowns somewhat complex musical arrangements.
The Tracks Of My Tears was another definitive Smokey Robinson compostion which really is quite breathtaking with its sweeping, tempo-shifting musical arrangements where the fantastic range of harmonies all gell so divinely with each other.
I Second That Emotion (later covered by Diana Ross and the Supremes with The Temptations) was a mid-beat number where Smokeys cool, sensual voice oozes such genuine emotion. This became another notably big hit to their credit.
Arguably the pinnacle of his career would have to be the superb, The Tears of A Clown. The profound lyrics were masterful and Smokey delivers a rolling vocal performance. The infectious, swinging Motown phenomenon is well under way on here and delivered one of his greatest hits.
The Ultimate Collection features all of these landmark recordings that will satisfy any lover of the Motown genre and for completists, there are a host of some lesser-known obscurities which aren't all top-notch, though Smokey's performances always are and still makes for an interesting listen.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars His Talent, His Voice, and His Songs,
"Smokey Robinson and The Miracles: The Ultimate Collection" is pretty much as described; a collection of the greatest hits of the man who's been called "The King of Motown." A greatly talented singer/songwriter; as a single, and with his group the Miracles, Robinson, a Detroit native, delivered 37 Top 40 Hits for Motown between 1960 and 1987. He delivered Motown's first big #1 hit in 1960 with "Better Shop Around," a million-selling r & b single that's still frequently heard around the world. He wrote "Mary Wells' "My Guy," (1964); the Temptations' "My Girl," and the Marvelettes'"Don't Mess with Bill." In his more than 50-year musical career in fact, he has penned more than 4000 songs. He was Vice President of Motown from 1961-1988, and has been described by such as Bob Dylan, and the Beatles, as a great poet.
But over all, of course, he is best known for his swooping, silky falsetto, as heard on "Ooh Baby Baby," (1965); "The Tracks of My Tears,"(1965); "Going to a Go-Go," (1965), and "I Second That Emotion," (1967). Then, of course, there's "You've Really Got A Hold on Me." His surprise 1970 hit "Tears of a Clown," jump-started his solo career. In his autobiography,Smokey: Inside My Life, the man has discussed frankly the sudden embarrassing addiction to crack cocaine in his 30s that nearly destroyed his career, and his battle back from that addiction. He now stands before us as the winner of many Grammies, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, and a 1988 inductee into the rock and roll hall of fame, somewhat controversially, without The Miracles. He's even got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But most important of all, there's his talent, his voice, and his songs. Most of the big ones are here, as well as many lesser-known cuts that serve to showcase his outstanding talent.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting Motown group,
In Britain, Smokey and the Miracles are remembered primarily for two songs, these being Tracks of my tears (later revived by Linda Ronstadt) and Tears of a clown, but they were more successful in their homeland. Among their American hits to be found on this collection are I second that emotion (later revived by the Supremes and Temptations), Shop around (later revived by Captain and Tennille), Mickey’s monkey and You’ve really got a hold on me. All of those hits came in the early sixties, before Motown’s success spread internationally.
Smokey was a prolific songwriter, but as the sixties progressed, he gave many of his best songs to other Motown acts, so hits for his own group tended to be smaller and fewer. The last significant American hits they had together were If you can wait, which just missed the American top ten in 1968, and Tears of a clown, which was actually released on an album in 1967 but became a transatlantic number one in 1970. So their biggest hit came at a time when they were a fading attraction. It did not revive their career, which ended as a unit with 1972’s We’ve come too far to end it now.
A separate compilation in the same series is available of Smokey’s solo recordings with Motown. Being with you and other solo gems can be found on that compilation. So, this excellent collection of their best songs together includes all the essentials, something that cannot be said of all the compilations in this series.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A unique collection from Smokey Robinson and the Miracles,
Listen to "I'll Try something new" and you will relive the early days of Motown redolent with Latin rhythms. "Ooh baby, baby" whilst having some doowop intonation exempifies early 60s Motown - that is, one had never heard anything like it! The voice of Smokey Robinson can be only compared with the giants of soul such as Sam Cooke.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good collection of Smokey Robinson & the Miracles songs,
I am a big Motown fan and this is a very good collection of all Smokey Robinson & the Miracles songs.
4.0 out of 5 stars Great C.D.,
Bought this just to complete my Motown Collection, very impressed by some of his earlier songs which I wasn't that familiar with before, glad I bought it.
5.0 out of 5 stars replacing records.,
I can not actually find the album I want to replace, on CD so bought this one, love those Smokey tones
4.0 out of 5 stars A mix of old and later for those who enjoyed the period stuff,
Bought as a gift for someone and unexpectedly got a free download of it.
I liked some of Smokey's stuff but found this a nostalgic and engaging listen. I can't imagine any Smokey fan finding much to fault.
A great buy at a bargain price made more so by the download.
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing album,
I have bought this as a gift as i have already got it ,My son .who i bought it for thinks it is great too...
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The Ultimate Collection: Smokey Robinson & The Miracles by Smokey Robinson
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