Smokey Robinson & the Miracles

Time Out for Smokey Robinson & the Miracles

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Largely produced by Smokey Robinson, Time out for Smokey Robinson & the Miracles pushed four songs into the pop Top 40, but its wide variety of styles made for an album that never came together like a few of the Miracles' classics. The high points were brilliant as usual; "Baby, Baby Don't Cry" is one of the Miracles' best throwback ballads, but with a radical production that makes it a late-'60s classic. Also, Robinson finally got around to recording his landmark composition "My Girl," and "Doggone Right" is a solid performance with an intriguing progression. Still, there's a lot of filler, both of the Motown variety (bland copies of Stevie Wonder's "For Once in My Life" and the Supremes' "The Composer") and of the larger pop world ("Abraham, Martin and John," sung sweetly but sounding inane, and the completely unnecessary "Wichita Lineman"). The only non-hit that's a true success is "Once I Got to Know You (Couldn't Help but Love You)," one of only two songs on the LP where Robinson gave up the production reins.

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