Food for the Spirit

Food for the Spirit

by Smokey Robinson
     
 
Singer/songwriter/producer Smokey Robinson brought the world such smooth-groove romantic classics as "Cruisin'," "Second That Emotion," and "My Girl." Now the R&B legend turns his attention in an inspirational direction with Food for the Spirit. Six years in the making, Spirit is Robinson's first foray into the contemporary Christian genre -- no, this

Overview

Singer/songwriter/producer Smokey Robinson brought the world such smooth-groove romantic classics as "Cruisin'," "Second That Emotion," and "My Girl." Now the R&B legend turns his attention in an inspirational direction with Food for the Spirit. Six years in the making, Spirit is Robinson's first foray into the contemporary Christian genre -- no, this isn't a gospel record, and yes, there is a difference. Robinson wrote all nine of the tracks, with lyrics that answer life's challenges with Christian principles and Scripture. Musically, the songs offer his trademark mellow vibe ("Jesus Told Me to Love You" and "Let Your Light Shine on Me"), though a few cuts lean in a soul direction ("He Can Fix Anything" and "Gang Banging"). "I Praise & Worship You, Father" is the only traditional gospel track on Spirit, its rhythmic harmonies and piano strains giving the collection a powerful dose of church. Longtime fans will hear in Food for the Spirit easy grooves reminiscent of great Robinson tracks, while his pristine vocals retain their "Tears of a Clown" clarity. Lyrically, Smokey is poetic with a pinch of preaching ("I guarantee God can see you gang bangin'... Love thy neighbor as thyself, put those weapons on the shelf"). But it's a pleasure when the sermon is delivered by a musical genius like Robinson, especially when he's still in fine form.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Food for the Spirit is Smokey Robinson's entry into the contemporary gospel music field. He wrote all nine tracks and enlisted the help of producer and arranger Michael Stokes as well as D'Andre Franklin and Clinton Stokes III. Food for the Spirit is a slick, very contemporary soul-gospel recording. The production is pure crystalline sheen. It is pervasive and large and at times overwhelms Robinson's still gorgeous voice. There is great conviction in most of these songs and Robinson delivers his creations with passion and grace, as on "Let Your Light Shine on Me," "Jesus Told Me to Love You," and "I Praise & Worship You Father," overcoming the glassine pop soup of the arrangements. But elsewhere, the clubbed-out funk of "He Can Fix Anything," the funked-up soul of "Gang Bangin'," and the hip-hop chants on "We Are the Warriors" are so drenched in honey-slick instrumentation and layered vocals that Robinson's message is lost in the proceedings. It's obvious for which fences the production team on this record was swinging, and they just might get there, but the cost is high. In the right hands, Smokey Robinson could have delivered one of the greatest gospel records of all time; this isn't it.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/20/2004
Label:
Liquid 8
UPC:
0820041217720
catalogNumber:
12177

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Smokey Robinson   Primary Artist
Louis Price   Background Vocals
Alexandra Brown   Background Vocals
Carmen Carter   Background Vocals
Andrew Gouche   Bass Guitar
Clint Stokes   Piano,Keyboards
Michael Stokes   Piano,Keyboards
Oren Waters   Background Vocals
D'Andre Franklin   Piano,Keyboards
Kelvin Thomas   Keyboards
Rick Whitfield   Guitar

Technical Credits

Smokey Robinson   Composer
Khaliq Glover   Engineer
Clint Stokes   Programming
Michael Stokes   Arranger,Programming,Producer,Engineer,Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements
D'Andre Franklin   Programming,Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements

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