Food for the Spirit

Smokey Robinson

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Food for the Spirit Review

by Thom Jurek

Food for the Spirit is Smokey Robinson's entry into the contemporary gospel music field. He wrote all nine tracks and enlisted the help of producer and arranger Michael Stokes as well as D'Andre Franklin and Clinton Stokes III. Food for the Spirit is a slick, very contemporary soul-gospel recording. The production is pure crystalline sheen. It is pervasive and large and at times overwhelms Robinson's still gorgeous voice. There is great conviction in most of these songs and Robinson delivers his creations with passion and grace, as on "Let Your Light Shine on Me," "Jesus Told Me to Love You," and "I Praise & Worship You Father," overcoming the glassine pop soup of the arrangements. But elsewhere, the clubbed-out funk of "He Can Fix Anything," the funked-up soul of "Gang Bangin'," and the hip-hop chants on "We Are the Warriors" are so drenched in honey-slick instrumentation and layered vocals that Robinson's message is lost in the proceedings. It's obvious for which fences the production team on this record was swinging, and they just might get there, but the cost is high. In the right hands, Smokey Robinson could have delivered one of the greatest gospel records of all time; this isn't it.

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