Smokey Robinson / Smokey Robinson & the Miracles

Early Classics

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This budget-priced import, assembled by Motown Records' London office for the European-based Karussell label, is a bit of a strange collection of the group's music. Assembled in no particular order and ranging across five years of their history, it covers some familiar territory and lots of early LP tracks and B-sides that were seldom given much exposure in their own time. One doesn't want to be put in the position (and one doubts that it is even possible to do so) of criticizing a collection that includes the original recordings of "Shop Around," "I Gotta Dance to Keep on Crying," "The Monkey Time," and "Going to a Go-Go," but this disc stretches matters almost to the breaking point. The 1962 vintage single "Way Over There" (in its second version) and its B-side, "If Your Mother Only Knew," along with "Everybody's Got to Pay Some Dues," are juxtaposed with 1965's "Since You Won My Heart," and that is followed by 1963's "Such Is Love, Such Is Life," and this, in turn, is followed by the 1963 album track "The Monkey Time," and bracketing all of these are "The Tracks of My Tears," "You Really Got a Hold on Me," and "Shop Around." Similarly, one jumps from the B-side ballad "Would I Love You" past the jaunty, chorus-laden "Let Me Have Some" to end up at "Going to a Go-Go" (which is mastered so cleanly and well that the drums that open it seem like they're in the room with you). All of its is great music, and apart from an unfortunate tendency to use the stereo versions of singles that existed in perfectly good mono, it is handled well in the mastering -- listening to this collection simply involves a lot of jumping around stylistically and chronologically, but if you can tolerate risking the psychic and musical equivalent of neck strain, this disc is an excellent investment, if only to get fresh remasterings on various LP cuts and B-sides that have yet to be graced by inclusion in the upgrade of the Motown upgrade program.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:56 Spotify
2:58 Spotify
3 2:50 Spotify
4 2:43 Spotify
5 2:53 Spotify
2:18 Spotify
7 2:56 Spotify
8 2:41 Spotify
9 2:22 Spotify
2:17 Spotify
2:43 Spotify
12 2:53 Spotify
13 2:39 Spotify
14 2:30 Spotify
2:26 Spotify
2:45 Spotify
3:09 Spotify
18 2:45 Spotify
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