Ooo Baby Baby: The Anthology

by: Smokey Robinson & the Miracles

There isn't much of a crucial difference between this and the previous Smokey Robinson & the Miracles collection entitled Anthology, originally issued in 1973 and then on CD with minor variations in 1995. More to the point, perhaps, about 85 percent of the songs on the two-CD set Ooo Baby Baby: The Anthology were also on the more plainly titled Anthology, so the differences are kind of cosmetic. Ooo Baby Baby: The Anthology has all 28 of their Top 40 hits, so someone looking for the essentials, garnished by a good amount of other material that isn't as familiar, will undoubtedly be satisfied. Ooo Baby Baby: The Anthology does have a small but significant edge in the inclusion of the exquisite mid-'60s mid-tempo ballad "Would I Love You," a great 1964 B-side that somehow escaped inclusion on the CD iteration of Anthology. As far as other minor differences that will probably escape detection by the great majority of listeners, there are first-ever stereo mixes of "Whatever Makes You Happy," "I Can Take a Hint," and "Baby Don't You Go"; the first CD appearance of both "I Can Take a Hint" (from the 1963 LP The Fabulous Miracles) and a live "I've Been Good to You" (also from a 1963 LP); and new, extended stereo mixes of "You've Really Got a Hold on Me," "Would I Love You," and "I'll Try Something New." However you slice it, it's great soul music, not much less solid than single-disc Miracles collections, though owners of the previous releases titled Anthology will not find enough extras here to merit investment. ~ Richie Unterberger

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