Smokey Robinson & the Miracles

Four in Blue

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Four in Blue, the final Miracles LP of the '60s, was a mixed bag of songwriters and productions encompassing Ashford & Simpson, Mickey Gentile, Deke Richards, and Richard Morris. It followed just four months on from the forgettable Time Out, and though it featured no hits of any sort (compared to four for Time Out), it did trump its predecessor slightly. Of the four Smokey Robinson originals, "You Send Me (With Your Good Lovin')" and the ballad "A Legend in Its Own Time" are OK, but "Dreams, Dreams" is derivative of past glories and the down-hearted "When Nobody Cares" is only average. Surprisingly, the covers are more intriguing than anything else here; though the production on the group's cover of "Hey Jude" is unobtrusive (at best), Robinson's lead vocal adds a bit to an original that's hard to top, and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" summons the transcendence of the Righteous Brothers' hit. The closer, a woodwind-led run-through of the Supremes' "My World Is Empty Without You," is interesting but strangely passionless.

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