[From the author: I first wrote this review in 2006 when Smokey Robinson’s “Timeless Love” CD was released. Since then, Smokey – along with Motown’s original Miracles of which he was lead singer – has been honored with a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, and was the 2016 recipient of the prestigious Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
And now, after six decades, Smokey remains relevant on today’s music scene. This is a Black History Month tribute to Smokey Robinson!]
He’s been hinting to us all along! Smokey Robinson’s newly released CD titled “Timeless Love” (New Door Records/Universal Music), a set of musical standards, is a testament to all the subtleties he’s been rendering in his songs throughout the years.
Listen again to the bridge on the 1965 recording “Ooh Baby, Baby” – that part that says…’cause I feel one day I’ll hold you near…” and you’ll know what I’m talking about!
Here’s a recording of soft music that allows Smokey’s vocal instrument to shine forth differently than the hit Motown songs he’s known for like “Shop Around,” “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me,” “Tracks Of My Tears,” “Going To A Go-Go” and so many others. His voice is tailor-made for song standards like “I’m In The Mood For Love,” “Fly Me To The Moon,” “Speak Low,” and “Tea For Two.” This is a welcome break from the fray!
True Smokey fans will remember the 1970 release of “Smokey Robinson & The Miracles Live” recorded at Detroit’s Roostertail/Upper Deck, that featured songs like “Poinciana,” “You and the Night and the Music,” “The Theme From The Valley of the Dolls,” “Walk On By” and others that were drowned out by the backbeat of the times.
This set clearly defines and acknowledges not only Smokey’s influences from singers like Sarah Vaughn to Clyde McPhatter and so many others; but also the great songwriters like the Gershwins, Cole Porter, and Sammy Cahn – a list of which history will surely include him. Smokey is on par with top-notch singing and songwriting abilities.
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Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based contributing writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” and “Book To The Future” (Amazon); two insightful books that speak to our moral conscience in times like these. Email: [email protected]