The Miracles

Renaissance

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Motown assigned a number of producers to work with the Miracles on their first LP after Smokey Robinson's departure. The resulting patching of efforts excels, as each producer brought his best to the table. Newcomer Billy Griffin joins Ron White, Bobby Rogers, and Pete Moore for some delicious vocal blends. The Marvin Gaye-produced "I Love You Secretly" is comparable to his successful Original productions "Baby I'm for Real" and "Bells." Willie Hutch contributed two numbers, the understated "Wigs & Lashes" and the exciting "I Didn't Realize the Show Was Over"; Griffin sings the former in a lower register than the latter. The most overlooked song here has to be the Mel Larson and Jerry Marcellino production "If You're Ever in the Neighborhood"; Griffin's light, aching tenor and the Miracles' heart-tugging harmonies make for some smooth listening. Sadly, the single releases didn't help propel Renaissance up the charts. "What Is a Heart Good For," written by Leon Ware and Arthur T-Boy Ross (Diana Ross' brother) stiffed, and the sales of "Don't Let It End (Til You Let It Begin)" were disappointing. Both, however, are excellent; Ron White co-leads on the latter and displays a subtle, quality tenor. Pam Sawyer and Leon Ware's "I Don't Need No Reason" was later recorded by Junior Walker & the All-Stars, of all people. Smokey Robinson is credited as executive producer, whatever that means. Maybe he picked the material; if so, he did a helluva job.

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