Smokey

Not Rated

I could hardly do anything less than swoon over Smokey Robinson's first solo album. "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" may sound trite and sticky here, "Holly" is a melodramatic "Lucy in the Sky," and "Just My Soul Responding," only more Motown current-affairs "relevance," but these are petty complaints. "Holly" glows in spite of its daytime TV story and "Just My Soul Responding" has the strength and conviction to overcome lines like, "Now I'm on a reservation livin' in a state of degradation." No one but Smokey can make a song based around astrological signs ("The Family Song," about his own family) or yet another my-girl-and-my-best-friend song ("Silent Partner in a Three-Way Love Affair") work so well. The blending of "Never My Love" and "Never Can Say Goodbye" achieves a perfect balance, and "Wanna Know My Mind" is another Robinson gem, frothy but never flimsy. All this, some snap in the production from Willie Hutch and Smokey backing himself (with help from wife Claudette) — and I am swooning.

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