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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.