Smokey Robinson brings in it a release that trots out new standard talents alongside your parents’ favorite Classic Rock and related musicians. I find that the older crowd tends to care for the James Taylor cover on “Ain’t It Peculiar”, while the younger people skip this release because they don’t remember who Smokey Robinson is in relation to what they twerk. Elton John misses the point on “Tracks of my Tears” by killing the tempo. I don’t know if that’s personal choice or the slowing hands of old age numbing the legendary pianist.

While I get the comparisons to last year’s “Wrote A Song for Everyone”, I feel that it does a disservice to John Fogerty’s efforts on that album. “Smokey & Friends” is a jam album of duets where the partners weren’t always up to snuff for the job. Everyone wants to put their spin on the songs, but they always seem to be checking over their shoulders for Smokey’s approval. The cues are off, the choices are too reserved and no one is in danger of making a connection on this album. By the ninth track, I was racing to finish the disc as I was expecting something entirely different.

We have a small section of music fans that visit the site and they are very fickle. That being said, I feel assured that this album will be forgotten by next year. Not because it was terrible, but because it was a trifle of duets with no lasting power. It’s not the worst thing and many albums are guilty of doing it. I believe that a delayed revisit to this concept in a second volume could reap stronger results. Plus, go international and into underground music sets to find different voices to bring out the beauty of these songs. Adult Contemporary isn’t the only place to find music anymore.



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