RELEASE DATE: AVAILABLE NOW
CD Edition limited to 5000 non-numbered limited edition copies.
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles live is a rare item in any format. Here, for the first time ever, are two of the group’s classic live albums on two CDs.
And what a difference three years makes.
The first disc in this limited edition live collection set takes place in 1969 at Detroit’s Roostertail, as close as Motown would ever come to having its own club. The association goes back to the mid-Sixties, when the company sponsored a series of gigs there called Motown Mondays; Smokey and Company were frequent visitors to the Roostertail, and felt comfortable within its walls. The album, first issued late in the year, features some of their most sophisticated harmonies and a live band that takes no prisoners. (Be awed by the onstage bass line in “I Second That Emotion.”)
The second disc of the set was recorded in a very different type of setting: Washington DC’s Carter Barron Amphitheatre, a 3750-seat outdoor venue in Rock Creek Park. It was also setting the stage for Robinson’s departure from the band he’d co-founded 15 years earlier. At the end of the latter disc’s set, Smokey introduces Billy Griffin as the new lead singer for the Miracles.
Because it was their last time onstage as a unit, Smokey’s then-wife Claudette Robinson – who had left the road in the mid-Sixties - rejoined the group, and her impact is perceptible. Her innocent yet flirty female voice added an intriguing thread that will always set the Miracles off from their colleagues and peers.
Only four songs overlap the two sets; how could they perform a concert without “Going To A Go Go” and “Ooo Baby Baby”? But the concert surprises, such as Burt Bacharach/Hal David’s “Walk On By,” and their hit cover of Dion’s hit “Abraham, Martin And John,” demonstrate the breadth of the band’s musical talent. The Miracles also reach back, singing requests of old chestnuts like “Bad Girl.” Though it’s set in a big hall, ‘1957-1972’ is an emotional – and sometimes hilarious – farewell.
Did You Know? Smokey was leaving to concentrate on his job as Vice President for Motown Records. He only lasted a year behind the desk before becoming a solo artist.