Going to a Go-Go/Away We a Go-Go

by: Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

Gathering the first two long-players credited to Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, this two-fer compiles the 1965 and 1967 releases Going to a Go-Go and Away We a Go-Go. Admittedly, these are early entries into the voluminous Smokey catalog; artistically, however, both albums reflect the infinite talents of Robinson and company. Additionally, they are a testament to the cohesive, timeless, and fully developed sounds emanating from the inhabitants of Hitsville USA and the originators of the self-proclaimed Sound of Young America. Both LPs included copious hits, including "My Girl Has Gone," "Ooo Baby Baby," "Going to a Go-Go," "(Come 'Round Here) I'm the One You Need," and "Tracks of My Tears." However, equally enduring are the deeper album cuts that become more sharply defined when juxtaposed with the previously mentioned chart-topping and genre-defining works. "In Case You Need Love," "From Head to Toe," and "Let Me Have Some" are but a few of the up-tempo and rhythm-heavy sides that display the same "good-time" atmosphere as the title track, but became overshadowed in its wake. While the soul rattlin' "More, More, More of Your Love," as well as the crossover hit and leadoff track, "Whole Lot of Shakin' in My Heart (Since I Met You)," are featured on Away We a Go-Go, the album contains more than a few moments of pure and achingly sublime Smokey -- following in the tradition of the classic smoldering Motown love song. The dramatic brass arrangements on "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" were obvious influences on the Thom Bell-led Philly soul revolution nearly a decade later. It is the delivery, however, that emotes this version over and beyond Dusty Springfield's more popular rendering. Likewise, the tight string arrangement on "Oh Be My Love" can directly be linked to the similar scores on sexy soul classics such as Brenda & the Tabulations' "The Touch of You" or Barbara Mason's "I'm Ready." The real star of the Motown "classic albums" series is the opulent sound. Although a majority of this material has been previously available on CD, the marked improvement in sound quality makes this rendering indispensable for Motown advocates young and old. ~ Lindsay Planer

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