Smokey Robinson invites his friends for his new album

Five years after his critically acclaimed album „Time Flies“, the legendary singer and songwriter offers an album with 11 of his hits recorded with a stellar cast of guest singers.

Eight of the 11 tracks were originally recorded in the 60s with his group The Miracles.

Mr. Robinson still has his signature high and at the same time raspy voice but makes a lot of room for his guests on the album.

Among my personal highlights are actually the three tracks from his later years: „Quiet Storm“, originally recorded for his super album of the same name in 1975, is handled here with singer John Legend, who seems to be a perfect fit for this genre-defining ballad.

„Being With You“, which Smokey recorded in 1981, another mid-tempo soul groover, is done nicely here by Mary J. Blige and „Cruisin’“ features Jessie J who also makes an easy match.

Elsewhere, it seems that the re-workings of a lot of his 60s material sound older than the originals themselves. Too much emphasis is put on trying to capture that typical 60s Motown feeling and in comparison, the recordings with The Miracles from way back sound a lot fresher than this new material which still has a thick modern contemporary feel thanks to producer and bassist and American Idol juror Randy Jackson. Other duet partners here are Elton John, Ledisi, James Taylor, and Sheryl Crow.

But still, the album makes me want to go back to Smokey’s impressive original recordings which can not be a bad thing.

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