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Soul Express Album Review


SMOKEY ROBINSON My World: The Definitive Collection (US Motown, 2005)

My World - Fallin' - Cruisin' - Just To See Her - The Tears Of A Clown - You've Really Got A Hold On Me - Going To A Go-Go - Mickey's Monkey - Shop Around - The Tracks Of My Tears - Being With You - Baby That's Backatcha - I Second That Emotion - More Love - Yester Love - Ooh Baby Baby - Baby Come Close - I've Made Love To You A Thousand Times - Quiet Storm (single version) - Let Me Be The Clock - One Heartbeat

This CD has the potential to slip away unnoticed, which will be a real shame as this compilation has two brand new tracks from this great man. The compilation itself is full of classy and essential material, no questions there, but the concept of this set is very pedestrian, uninspiring and is to me a poor excuse of a release when ALL these songs are available on The 35th Anniversary and the Ultimate Collection compilations. Why not have some unreleased tracks or other stuff? So, low marks for Harry Weinger and William Stevenson for this. However what rates this CD as being ESSENTIAL are the two new songs for 2005. Both are sophisticated efforts, and one track has to be the best thing that Smokey has laid down for absolutely years. Although eligible for a bus pass should he reside in the UK, Smokey looks great and sounds as good as he ever did. These songs kick start the CD and are the equivalent of rocket fuel. "My World" suffers, though from being far too short and leaves me wanting more.

The words that come forth from this Man's pen are as wonderful today as they were back in the 60s and 70s, and what Smokey and William "Mickey" Stevenson have created is a CLASSIC Smokey Robinson track that is so HIM, so Smokey, but also very 2005 as well. The interesting, phased background vocals by Timothy Bloom also add a lot of spice to this song. Boy, this is one essential song - even more essential as this can be purchased very cheaply online from the likes of CD Universe or Amazon.

The track that raises the hair on the back of my neck is "Fallin'". I fell in love with this song and have not stopped playing it since. The voice of an angel, a haunting backing vocal from a group called Remedy and a very basic, stripped down Spartan arrangement all add up to sheer class. This is made for a hot summer's day. In fact, the day this arrived was one of the hottest this year, and it made my skin go cold to hear it!!! Just amazing. Smokey shines and shines so bright on this song. I get so frustrated as I sit here listening to such classy material from the man, and all we have are 2 tracks.

Why, oh why can we not have a whole brand new album of material like this? This is what the great man does best, and today we need it more than ever. So how about it? I was not impressed with his recent "Food For The Spirit" album, so this more than makes up for my personal disappointment. Please do not overlook this release. Fans and lovers of quality soul should really lap this up. ESSENTIAL soul for 2005 from a man who is a legend not only in soul music, but in music full stop. More please, Motown, and soon.
- Barry Towler


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