Smokey & Friends

Smokey Robinson

On this duets album, the R&B legend rerecords some of his classic hits with indebted singers, from Steven Tyler to Sheryl Crow to John Legend. The balance of respectful tributes and reimaginings recalls John Fogerty's similarly structured 2013 collection, Wrote a Song for Everyone. "My Girl," done with Miguel, Aloe Blacc and JC Chasez, stretches out with between-the-sheets smoothness, and James Taylor turns the Smokey-penned Marvin Gaye classic "Ain't That Peculiar" into a light-swinging blues. The most lovable collaboration is "The Tracks of My Tears," with Elton John loosely belting it out at the piano. You can feel the gratitude spanning the decades.

From The Archives Issue 1216: August 28, 2014