The Ultimate Collection [1998]

The Ultimate Collection [1998]

by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
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The Ultimate Collection [1998]

Motown Records is a bit like the Walt Disney Studios, in the sense that both organizations made a good deal more money in recent decades marketing their histories and reputations than they have in creating very much that's new -- indeed, Motown hasn't been an active label, in the sense of recording any new artists, in more than a decade. Apart from its Anthology series in the mid-'70s, however, the label seldom came up with anything that could hold a permanent place in a collection, or was reasonably comprehensive. Then came the Ultimate Collection series, which was timed to coincide with the first technological upgrade in CD mastering to 20-bit digital audio. This disc has 25 songs that encompass all of the Top Ten hits by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles released between 1960 and 1969 (as well as their 1970 number one hit, "Tears of a Clown"), but also some of their finest B-sides ("Choosey Beggar," "Who's Lovin' You") and an album track or two of significance, and it also sounded significantly better than any prior hits collection on the group, including the upgraded Anthology two-CD set issued just three years earlier. What's more, while it in no way supplants the four-CD 35th Anniversary Collection, it offers one track that didn't make it onto that set, the second version of "Way Over There," which -- though it never charted -- is a brilliant piece of writing, singing, and production. After all, "Way Over There" was the very first actual "Motown" single; in fact, it was one of the most ambitious and beautiful records that Berry Gordy ever produced personally -- and it did sell a reported 50,000 copies, which was significant enough in helping to keep the fledgling company afloat. That's as much of a "history lesson" as this CD provides, though people will always happily hear history lessons like that. Mostly, it's a gorgeous flood of sound washing over you for 70 minutes, though not quite like you've ever heard these songs -- including the gently ringing rhythm guitar on "Tracks of My Tears," the in-your-face drums that open "My Girl Has Gone," and the strings of the Detroit Symphony on "Way Over There," but most of all the silky lead and backing vocals, which have never sounded closer or smoother. The standard is now 24-bit, and someday there may even be a DVD audio or SACD of hits by the Miracles, but for a collection featuring some of their most enjoyable and best-sounding music, no one is going to be cheated by buying this disc.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/10/1998
Label: Motown
UPC: 0731453085725
catalogNumber: 530857

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Smokey Robinson & the Miracles   Primary Artist,Track Performer
Smokey Robinson   Primary Artist
Marcus Belgrave   Trumpet
Jack Brokensha   Vibes
Larry Nozero   Saxophone
Dennis Coffey   Guitar
Johnny Griffith   Keyboards
Herbie Williams   Trumpet
Richard "Pistol" Allen   Drums
Jack Ashford   Percussion,Vibes
Lanny Austin   Saxophone
Bob Babbitt   Bass
George Bohannon   Trombone
Thomas "Beans" Bowles   Saxophone
Eddie "Bongo" Brown   Percussion
Angelo Carlisi   Saxophone
Russell Conway   Trumpet
Henry Cosby   Saxophone
Bob Cousar   Trombone
Lefty Edwards   Saxophone
Eli Fontaine   Saxophone
Danya Hartwick   Flute,Piccolo
Billy Horner   Trumpet
Ivy Jo Hunter   Keyboards
Clarence Isabell   Bass
James Jamerson   Bass
Uriel Jones   Drums
Patrick Lanier   Trombone
Kasuku Mafia   Saxophone
Joe Messina   Guitar
Eugene BeeBee Moore   Saxophone
Bernie Peacock   Saxophone
Carl Raetz   Trombone
Melvin "Wah Wah" Ragin   Guitar
Paul Riser   Trombone
Ernie Rodgers   Saxophone
Don Slaughter   Trumpet
Gordon Staples   Conductor
Andrew "Mike" Terry   Saxophone
Johnny Trudell   Trumpet
Danny Turner   Saxophone
Earl Van Dyke   Keyboards
Don White   Trombone
Jimmy Wilkins   Trombone
Eddie Willis   Guitar
Eddie Jones   Trumpet
Marvin Tarplin   Guitar
Bill Johnson   Trombone
Richard Wylie   Keyboards
Robert White   Guitar
John Wilson   Trumpet
Eugene Rodgers   Saxophone
Benny Benjamin   Drums
Ted Buckner   Alto Saxophone
Detroit Symphony Orchestra   Strings
Joe Williams   Bass
Floyd Jones   Trumpet
Andrew Smith   Drums
Maurice Davis   Trumpet

Technical Credits

Smokey Robinson   Composer,Producer
George Jackson   Contributor
Hidle Brown Barnum   Arranger
Johnny Bristol   Producer
Cleveland   Producer
Henry Cosby   Producer
Lamont Dozier   Producer
John Esposito   Contributor
Berry Gordy   Producer
Fred Hammond   Contributor
Brian Holland   Producer
David Irvin   Art Direction
Bill Levenson   Contributor
Warren "Pete" Moore   Composer,Producer
Kevin Reeves   Contributor
Paul Riser   Arranger
David Van De Pitte   Arranger
David Ritz   Contributor
Adam White   Contributor
Marvin Tarplin   Composer
Michael Wilding   Contributor
Dana Smart   Contributor
Catherine Ladis   Contributor
Jerry Rappaport   Contributor
David Harley   Contributor
Bas Hartong   Contributor
Alan Warner   Contributor
Stu Hackel   Liner Notes
Robert Rogers   Composer
Paul Foley   Contributor
David H. Jones   Composer
Pat Warner   Contributor
Bill Baran   Contributor
Michelle Piza   Creative Services Coordinator
Karen Kwak   Contributor

Customer Reviews

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The Ultimate Collection [1998] 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I grew up listening to Motown.... Marvin, the 4 Tops, the Temps, Martha, Barbara Lewis (I was never a big Supremes guy). A lot of people don't realize that Smokey wrote hit after hit for all the aforementioned performers (and for Berry Gordy's pockets). These tracks prove that he was equally gifted in front of the mike. Listen to the heart-wrenching beginning of 'Oooh, baby baby', "I did you wrong, my heart went out to play...." Later in the song his vocal gymnastics sound effortless (until you try to sing along). Smokey never breaks a sweat. All the GET UP AND DANCE hits are here, 'Goin to a gogo', 'shop around', 'second that emotion', 'Mickey's monkey'.... In my opinion, tho, where Smokey and the Miracles really shine is on such cuts as 'mirage', 'more love','I may not be the one you want, 'Yesterlove'.... They're all here, and you won't be able to get the volume high enough. I don't think you can get a better profile of this great group on a single disc. Now if I could just find a Temptations hit compilation that includes '(Loneliness made me realize) Its you that I need'....