NYCD: The Blog

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT


As I was about to fall asleep on Monday night, something kept going through my head. NO, not the usual bit involving Campbell Brown, ice skates, and snap peas. I was thinking, "I wish another has-been singer would release another sub-par standards record." Well, I got up on Tuesday morning, and lo and behold, SMOKEY ROBINSON'S "Timeless Love" had hit the streets. I've loved Smokey since forever, and while hardly a has-been, the hits stopped coming in the early 90's. Still, I just wasn't ready or even remotely excited about another standards CD. Then, I read a few reviews all giving kudos to Robinson's execution and performance. I had to hear it for myself.

I'll keep it simple. BUY THIS CD!

Smokey Robinson is nearing 70, yet his voice is as smooth and angelic as it was during his heyday with The Miracles. What "Timeless Love" offers up that so many other recent debacles by Michael Bolton, Rod Stewart, and Carly Simon do not, is class. A small ensemble, tasteful production, and brilliant arrangements create a perfect background for this masterful singer.

Whether Robinson is keeping it straight as he does on "Speak Low, " or mixing it up as he does on "I'm In The Mood For Love," cleverly segueing from the original melody into the James Moody's sax-solo- with-lyrics "Moody's Mood For Love," Smokey grabs the listener and never lets go. Two more highlights are his slow-funk version of "Tea For Two," which could have easily been on a classic soul record from the early 70's, and the absolutely gorgeous take on "Our Love Is Here To Stay," where Robinson's perfect melisma could bitch-slap Mariah all the way back to Syosset.

Don't hesitate. It's Smokey. You know you love him, so why miss out on this 4-star release.


9 Comments:

Blogger reno said...

Hello !

Best regards from Belgium !

Leave a travel comment on my blog if you want.

Reno

6:47 AM  
Blogger Michael in New York said...

Hi Reno! Belguim must be pretty boring if youn go trolling around leaving comments on random blogs to try and get people to come to YOUR blog. You should try traveling more!

As for Smokey, I don't believe it, I can't believe it, but as I say in my post in repsonse to Tony's essay, I feel obliged to get it in case I'll be missing out. Would you include Boz Scaggs with Smokey as a pop performer who scored with standards? I thought unlike the hacks you listed that he had a real feel for jazz -- his standards cd blew me away. But you're being nice to say Smokey's hit dried up in the early 90s. I wouldn't count a #91 entry as a hit, much less his '89 piggybacking with Kenny G on a song that didn't hit the top 40. The hits dried up in 87, an unepxected Top Ten hit with two songs, especially "Just To See Her." And frankly that was a last gasp. The hits really dried up in 79 with "Cruisin'." And since that constitutes a 20 year run when you include the Miracles, what's so bad about that? Are you worried Smokey is checking out the blog? The man's a legend, no need to try and stretch out his hitmaking career from the 60s-70s into the '90s.

12:24 PM  
Blogger NYCD Online said...

Actually, I thought the Boz Scaggs standards CD was fantastic. I don't think Boz has recorded a bad note in his career. As for Smokey, if it's bad, it's bad. I've trashed my heroes after one bad song, so I owe Smokey nothing. I just love the fact that there is one more great CD to listen to. Lastly, hunt down "Double Good Everything." This was a crappy Smokey CD from 1991, with an absolutely killer title track.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Michael in New York said...

Glad to hear you agree with me about the Boz CD. "Double Good Everything" sounds like the reason God invented iTunes -- crappy album with one good song? Hello Napster.

And wherefore art thou the Springsteen post?

4:13 PM  
Blogger NYCD Online said...

I was too overwhelmed for a Springsteen post. There is a damn fine post on "Popsurfing," that really says it all. (except I Loved Johnny 99)

5:19 PM  
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2:42 PM  
Blogger Michael in New York said...

Hi Anjaka, Long time no speak. What did YOU think of the Springsteen concert? Or are you too busy posting ads on blogs?

11:35 AM  

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