Solo Albums, Vol. 1

Solo Albums, Vol. 1

by Smokey Robinson
     
 

Hip-O Select's 2010 release The Solo Albums, Vol. 1 combines Smokey Robinson's first two post-Miracles albums - 1973's Smokey and its 1974 sequel, Pure Smokey -- on one CD. Arriving between Smokey's glorious late-period singles with the Miracles and 1975's trend-setting Quiet Storm, these two LPsSee more details below

Overview

Hip-O Select's 2010 release The Solo Albums, Vol. 1 combines Smokey Robinson's first two post-Miracles albums - 1973's Smokey and its 1974 sequel, Pure Smokey -- on one CD. Arriving between Smokey's glorious late-period singles with the Miracles and 1975's trend-setting Quiet Storm, these two LPs tend to get overlooked in the grand scheme of things -- particularly because they didn't burn up the charts, producing no big hit singles -- but this disc proves they're compelling transitional albums, records where Robinson finds his solo voice while coming to terms with the shifting sounds of the time. Of the two, Smokey is a tentative step forward, carrying clear remnants of his latter-day music with the Miracles, which shouldn't come as a great surprise considering that it's anchored by "Sweet Harmony," a tune he wrote about and for the Miracles but was persuaded by Motown A&R's Suzanne de Passe to keep for himself. From there, Robinson built a full LP, using Willie Hutch as his co-producer and writing a clutch of songs with Marvin Tarplin, his co-author on several Miracles hits. Certainly, the rich, gorgeous harmonies of "Sweet Harmony" consciously evoke the Miracles but the group is heard elsewhere too, in the bright bounce of "Wanna Know My Mind" and in its covers of "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?" and a medley of "Never My Love/Never Can Say Goodbye," both bringing to mind Motown's habit of recycling contemporary hits. These echoes of the past are comforting, particularly because they're surrounded by modernity, thanks in part to Hutch's lush, layered production but also Smokey's willingness to embrace the shifting times, naturally favoring smooth soul to gritty funk, letting it escalate to an almost cinematic scale and, more importantly, not shying away from subjects he'd never tackle during the '60s whether it's his family or the saga of a teenage runaway. It's not a bold break into maturity on the level of What's Going On or Music of My Mind but rather a transitional album, and a fascinating one at that, suggesting the path he would take going forward. Pure Smokey consolidates Smokey Robinson's progressions on Smokey, retaining the adventurous maturity of subject matter -- in particular, Robinson remains fixated on family, paying tribute to the sister who raised him on "It's Her Turn to Live," noting the passing generations on "She's Only a Baby Herself," and expressing "The Love Between Me and My Kids" -- but moving firmly into the present with his music. Apart from the closing "A Tattoo," which was co-produced by Hutch, Pure Smokey is helmed by Smokey himself and he creates a seamless blend of smoothed-out disco and gorgeous soft soul, the former firmly within the commercial realm of 1974 and the latter creating the sound he would coin Quiet Storm on his next LP. Here, Smokey favors lively beats over slow sways -- even the midtempo numbers carry a bounce to their rhythm -- yet these insistent, danceable rhythms convey an element of seduction thanks to Smokey's velvet delivery, a smoothness that's undeniable in his vocals and arrangements. So smooth is Pure Smokey that it's easy to overlook its subtle innovations in subject and music, but that's what makes it a rich, enduring LP: it goes down easy but pays back greater dividends upon close listening.

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Product Details

Release Date:
09/07/2010
Label:
Hip-O Select
UPC:
0602527409856
catalogNumber:
001441502
Rank:
56600

Tracks

  1. Holly  - Smokey Robinson
  2. Never My Love/Never Can Say Goodbye  - Smokey Robinson
  3. A Silent Partner in a Three-Way Love Affair  - Smokey Robinson
  4. Just My Soul Responding  - Smokey Robinson
  5. Sweet Harmony  - Smokey Robinson
  6. Will You Love Me Tomorrow?  - Smokey Robinson
  7. Wanna Know My Mind  - Smokey Robinson
  8. The Family Song  - Smokey Robinson
  9. Baby Come Close  - Smokey Robinson
  10. It's Her Turn To Live  - Smokey Robinson
  11. The Love Between Me and My Kids  - Smokey Robinson
  12. Asleep On My Love  - Smokey Robinson
  13. I Am I Am  - Smokey Robinson
  14. Just Passing Through  - Smokey Robinson
  15. Virgin Man  - Smokey Robinson
  16. She's Only a Baby Herself  - Smokey Robinson
  17. Fulfill Your Need  - Smokey Robinson
  18. A Tattoo  - Smokey Robinson

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Smokey Robinson   Primary Artist
Henry Davis   Bass
Russ Turner   Keyboards
Marvin Tarplin   Guitar
Jeff Osborne   Drums

Technical Credits

Clifton Davis   Composer
Carole King   Composer
Smokey Robinson   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Gerry Goffin   Composer
Gene Page   Arranger
Don Addrisi   Composer
David Blumberg   Arranger
Cleveland   Composer
Bruce Ellison   Engineer
Jim Hilton   Engineer
Willie Hutch   Arranger,Producer
Tom Knox   Engineer
Larry Miles   Engineer
Art Stewart   Engineer
Russ Terrana   Engineer
Russ Turner   Arranger
Harry Weinger   Reissue
Ellen Fitton   Mastering
Peter Doggett   Liner Notes
Dick Addrisi   Composer
Marvin Tarplin   Composer
Janie Bradford   Composer
Ryan Null   Photo Coordination
Michele Horie   Producer,Art Direction
Andrew Skurow   Tape Research
Cal Harris   Engineer
Rose Ella Jones   Composer
Pamela Moffett   Composer
Gregory Ross   Art Direction
Bill Macmeekin   Engineer
Eirik Wangsberg   Engineer

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