Apr 05

Smokey Robinson & The Miracles – A Pocket Full Of Miracles (1970/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 00:44:05 minutes | 1,88 GB | Genre: R&B, Soul
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Artwork: Front cover | © Motown Records

A Pocket Full Of Miracles (TS306) is a 1970 album by Motown Records R&B group The Miracles,(AKA “Smokey Robinson & The Miracles”) issued on its Tamla subsidiary label, one of three albums the group released that year. This album charted at #56 on the Billboard pop albums chart, and reached the top ten of the magazine’s R&B albums chart, peaking at #10. It was released on September 30 of that year. Hit singles on the album included “Point It Out” and the topical Ashford & Simpson written-and-produced song “Who’s Gonna Take The Blame”, a sad, dark song about a girl that is turned out as a prostitute (unusually serious lyric content for The Miracles). Also included is the charting flip side “Darling Dear”, B-side of “Point It Out”, which reached # 100 on the Billboard pop chart, and spawned a cover version by The Jackson Five.

The album’s name takes its title from the 1961 Frank Capra comedy film Pocketful of Miracles. However, that is where the similarities end. Its cover depicts four of The Miracles, Smokey Robinson, Bobby Rogers, Pete Moore,and Ronnie White, sitting inside a huge cartoon “pocket”, (thus the name “Pocket Full Of Miracles”). Other original songs in the collection included “Flower Girl”, the powerful potential hit “Backfire” (that was not released as a single), and the melancholy “The Reel Of Time”. Miracles members Marv Tarplin and Claudette Robinson are featured on the songs “You’ve Got The Love I Need” (a ballad with rock overtones) and “Don’t Take It So Hard”, respectively. However, they are not featured on the album’s cover (apparently because the “pocket” would then have too many Miracles). Covers include versions of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge over Troubled Water”, Chuck Jackson and Maxine Brown’s “Something You Got”, included in a medley with The Beatles’ “Something”, and Smokey’s composition for The Temptations, “Get Ready”, which features an arrangement borrowed from the Cream hit “Sunshine of Your Love”. Motown staff songwriters contributing to this project included Ashford & Simpson, William “Mickey” Stevenson, H. Gordy, R Gordy, R. Jones, and Miracles members Smokey Robinson, Pete Moore, and Marv Tarplin.

This album, like several of The Miracles’ post-1969 albums, has never been released in the CD format. It was re-released in edited form a few years later, by the defunct independent label Pickwick International, under license from Motown, with a different cover, and the modified name Pocketful.

A few good sides make this a fair to middling LP and not one of their best overall. Two single releases, “Point It Out” and “Who’s Gonna Take the Blame,” did all right but didn’t blow up the charts; the latter, a Valerie Simpson/Nicholas Ashford composition, is a teary tale of a girl who turned into a prostitute — heavy stuff for the Miracles. The original version of “Darling Dear” is one of the better tunes here, though a later recording by the Jackson Five is the more popular rendition. Other tunes are competent but fall short of being winners or A-sides. ~~AllMusic Review by Andrew Hamilton

1. Flower Girl 03:49
2. Who’s Gonna Take The Blame 03:39
3. Darling Dear 03:17
4. You’ve Got The Love I Need 03:42
5. Get Ready 03:22
6. Bridge Over Troubled Water 04:50
7. Something / Something You Got 04:32
8. Point It Out 02:36
9. Don’t Take It So Hard 04:00
10. Backfire 03:29
11. The Reel Of Time 03:48
12. Wishful Thinking 03:08

The Miracles:
Bill ‘Smokey’ Robinson, vocals
Claudette Rodgers Robinson, vocals
Warren ‘Pete’ Moore, vocals
Robert ‘Bobby’ Rodgers, vocals
Ronald ‘Ronnie’ White, vocals
Marvin ‘Marv’ Tarplin, vocals
The Funk Brothers, instruments

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Apr 05

Smokey Robinson – Being With You (1981/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 32:47 minutes | 1,27 GB | Genre: R&B, Soul
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: AcousticSound | Artwork: Front cover | © UNI/Motown

Smokey Robinson’s most successful post-Miracles solo album, Being With You has sold over 900,000 copies and peaked at number 10 in the US, propelled by the million-selling hit single title track. Seeking a more contemporary, modern sound, Robinson sought out the hot producer of the day, George Tobin (Tiffany, Kim Carnes) to work his magic behind the board.

Back in the late ’70s, Smokey Robinson made a great comeback with his 1979 hit “Cruisin’.” With his broadened lyrical style and more knowing in his voice, the aesthetic powered such album classics as Where There’s Smoke and Warm Thoughts. 1981’s Being With You, in effect, ended the ride, but the hits more than continued. The single “Being With You” is a deft update of Robinson’s ’60s naïveté and is certainly a great pop record. The same can’t be said for most of the tracks here. Handing over the production reigns to George Tobin, some of Robinson’s quirks and musical trademarks are lost to polished and radio-friendly production. The songs aren’t great here, either. The didactic and reggae-tinged “Food for Thought” just comes off silly. For the most part, Robinson doesn’t offer much credible pure romance here. “As You Do,” “Can’t Fight Love,” and “Who’s Sad” all fail to make an impression. That’s not true of the last track. The oddly affecting “I Hear the Children Crying” has him getting emotional, as his final note on the song seals the deal. Despite Robinson’s paean to the “kids,” his songwriting skills are a little off here. While a big hit is here and Robinson’s in fine form, Being With You is a letdown in comparison to the two efforts before this.

01 – Being With You
02 – Food For Thought
03 – If You Wanna Make Love (Come ‘Round Here)
04 – Who’s Sad
05 – Can’t Fight Love
06 – You Are Forever
07 – As You Do
08 – I Hear The Children Singing

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Apr 05

Smokey Robinson – Yes Its You Lady (1982/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 00:37:46 minutes | 1,54 GB | Genre: R&B, Soul
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Artwork: Front cover | © Universal Motown
Recorded: November – December, 1981 at Studio Sound Recorders, North Hollywood, California

Yes It’s You Lady is a 1982 album by American singer Smokey Robinson. As 1981’s Being with You it was produced by George Tobin and recorded and mixed at Studio Sound Recorders, North Hollywood, California. It was released on the Motown sub-label Tamla. The album was peaking at #33 in Billboard pop charts, and at #6 on the R&B charts. The two follow-up singles to 1981’s chart success’ “Being with you” were strangely no Robinson compositions: “Tell Me Tomorrow” peaked at #33 Billboard and #3 R&B charts, “Old Fashioned Love” at #60 Billboard and #17 R&B charts. The third and final single, Robinson’s “Yes It’s You Lady” only peaked at #107 Billboard, without entering the R&B charts.

Surprisingly, having scored his biggest solo success with the self-penned, self-produced Being with You, Smokey Robinson turned to an outside producer and outside writers for the followup. Both of the singles from Yes It’s You Lady, which was produced by George Tobin, “Tell Me Tomorrow” (number three R&B, number 33 Pop) and “Old Fashioned Love” (number 17 R&B, number 60 Pop) were mid-tempo rhythm numbers written by Gary Goetzman and Mike Piccirillo. Robinson’s own compositions, notably the title track, which would have made a perfect follow-up to “Being with You,” were de-emphasized. The result was a retreat from the careful career-building Robinson had been engaged in since 1979; the album peaked at only number 33 after three straight Top 20 LPs. It was as though, having established himself as a solo voice, Robinson was now content to be “Cruisin’.” ~~AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann

1 Tell Me Tomorrow 6:25
2 Yes It’s You Lady 4:43
3 Old Fashioned Love 3:12
4 Are You Still Here 2:33
5 The Only Game In Town 4:47
6 International Baby 4:09
7 Merry Go Ride 5:31
8 I’ll Try Something New 3:34
9 Destiny 3:18

Vocals – Smokey Robinson
Backing Vocals – Claudette Robinson, Ivory Davis, Julia Waters Tillman, Maxine Waters Willard, Mike Piccirillo, Yvonne Wilkins, Smokey Robinson
Guitar, Synthesizer, Bells – Mike Piccirillo
Rhythm guitar – Marv Tarplin
Bass – Scott Edwards
Percussion – Howard Lee Wolen
Drums – Ed Greene
Keyboards – Bill Cuomo
Saxophone – Joel Peskin
Trombone – David Stout
Trumpet – Harry Kim
Violin – Bobby Bruce

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Apr 05

Smokey Robinson & The Miracles – Going To A Go-Go (1965/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 00:33:54 minutes | 1,38 GB | Genre: R&B, Soul
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Artwork: Front cover | © UNI/Motown

The only album from the Miracles to break into the US top 10, Going To A Go-Go from 1965 spawned four top 20 hit singles, including The Tracks Of My Tears, included at number 50 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. The tune was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2007 and has also been preserved by the United States Library of Congress as an “culturally, historicall, and aesthetically significance” to the National Recording Registry.

Though its title track ignited a nationwide fad for go-go music, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles’ Going to a Go-Go LP certainly wasn’t just a cash-in effort. It’s one of the best records the group put out, and the first six songs make for the best side of any original Motown LP of the ’60s (granted, all but one are also available on dozens of Miracles compilations). The four biggest hits were among the best in a set of Miracles archetypes: the throwback to the aching ’50s doo wop ballad (“Ooo Baby, Baby”), the flashy up-tempo dance song (“Going to a Go-Go”), the dancing-with-tears-in-my-eyes jerker (“The Tracks of My Tears”), and the mid-tempo orchestral epic (“My Girl Has Gone”). “Choosey Beggar” is one of the sweetest of all Robinson’s lead vocals, with stunning background work by the rest of the Miracles. Even the album tracks shine, with “All That’s Good” and “Let Me Have Some” working as excellent additions to the program. –AllMusic Review by John Bush

1. The Tracks Of My Tears 02:56
2. Going To A Go-Go 02:48
3. Ooo Baby Baby 02:47
4. My Girl Has Gone 02:52
5. In Case You Need Love 02:39
6. Choosey Beggar 02:35
7. Since You Won My Heart 02:18
8. From Head To Toe 02:27
9. All That’s Good 03:15
10. My Baby Changes Like The Weather 02:49
11. Let Me Have Some 03:10
12. A Fork In The Road 03:25

Smokey Robinson, lead vocals
Ronnie White, Bobby Rogers, Warren “Pete” Moore, Claudette Robinson, background vocals
Marv Tarplin, guitars

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