Gold

by: Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

It's hard to say that Smokey Robinson's catalog was in desperate need of a new compilation when the double-disc Gold was released in the summer of 2006. He had excellent single-disc, double-disc, and box sets in his catalog, so there seemed to be a collection for every kind of fan -- and at first glance it seems that Gold offers nothing that previous sets do not. Closer inspection reveals that Gold serves a curious niche. Where such previous Smokey double-disc sets like 1995's Anthology and 2002's Ooo Baby Baby: The Anthology focused entirely on music that he made with the Miracles (the 1995 set even included "Love Machine," which the Miracles recorded after his departure), this set has a heavy dose of his solo material -- the last 13 songs of this 40-track compilation are devoted to solo Smokey, including such hits as "Baby That's Backatcha," "Quiet Storm," "Cruisin'," "Ebony Eyes," and "One Heartbeat." This combined with an excellent 27-track overview of his prime work with the Miracles -- all the standard hits along with some superbly chosen relatively lesser-known tunes -- makes this Gold an excellent choice for the listener who wants a comprehensive double-disc overview of Robinson's entire career and not just of his time with the Miracles. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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