This four-CD boxed set covers every essential track that Smokey Robinson and the Miracles ever recorded, and then some -- at least a dozen never previously anthologized tracks are included here, among them the original single versions of "Way Over There" (unavailable elsewhere) and "Shop Around" (which had already been released locally in Detriot when Berry Gordy decided one night to get a session together, punch up the rhythm, and lay down a new version, which became the hit). Even better is the remastering, which runs circles around any previous edition of the Miracles' work, and the annotation -- including an essay by Claudette Robinson -- that gives credit to all of the participants, including the backup musicians who were seldom if ever mentioned during Motown's heyday. The Smokey Robinson & the Miracles Anthology is a fine collection, but this set is the definitive history, and irreplaceable for anyone who genuinely loves the group.
The 35th Anniversary Collection Review
by Bruce Eder