Smokey Robinson & the Miracles

The Miracles on Stage

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Short (only seven songs) and amateurish, the recording quality (good for 1963) of The Miracles on Stage is very effective. Rock & rollin' "Mighty Good Lovin'" starts the concert on a high note, with Smokey & the Miracles minus Pete Moore -- who was in the service -- wailing their hearts out. "A Love She Can Count On," a minor hit, has a blues beat and heart-winning lyrics; Smokey emotes near the fade with a rare falsetto wail for emphasis. One of the best tracks here, "Happy Landing," is done at a faster tempo than the studio recording and once again, the sensible words are like pearls of wisdom to young America. One of his most poignant but overlooked ballads, "I've Been Good to You," is a highlight; he samples a bit of Barbara George's "You'll Lose a Good Thing" on the vamp and heats up the crowd. They sizzle on "What's So Good About Goodbye," an early hit with a hesitating beat and ironic story line, along with Smokey's passionate lead, and Bobby Rodgers, Ron White, and Claudette Robinson's close harmonies make for a heavenly combination. The show-stopping "You Really Got a Hold on Me" sounds better than the studio recording. The underrated "Way Over There" is the finale -- it's the ultimate call and response song, and the crowd goes wild as the Miracles' work their vocals and visual gyrations.