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Forget everything when
Smokey sings

Smokey Robinson - Timeless Love
(New Door)
3 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: July 13, 2006
Smokey Robinson

Review by Andy Argyrakis

The velvety voiced Smokey Robinson needs no introduction as he's truly a national treasure, legend and all around entertainer. Though the Motown man is a regular on the road majoring in countless hits from the past several decades, he's been relatively quiet when it comes to new material. Sure his record label has put together a variety of solo and Miracles compilations, but thus far this decade, the crooner only released a gospel project, which went mostly unnoticed even under religious radars. Perhaps due to that disappointing track record or maybe even more likely because of the current climate amongst his peers, Robinson has resorted to standards on Timeless Love, culling many familiar favorites from the 1920s-1940s.

In the delivery department, Smokey is spot on in each and every occurrence, gracefully covering Cole Porter's I've Got You Under My Skin," kicking up the romance on George and Ira Gershwin's "Our Love Is Here To Stay" and adding additional class to "I Can't Give You Anything But Love (Baby)" (made famous by many including Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald). Not that there was anything wrong the first time around with the Nat King Cole staple "I'm In the Mood For Love," but Robinson adds his robust vocals over the true to form arrangement with glorious results. Even more enlightening is "Time After Time," a delicate ballad merging the Sammy Cahn/Jule Styne lyrics with the completely unrelated song sharing the same name by Cyndi Lauper. Aside from being unexpected, the singer shines with practical perfection, making both polar opposites seem like they were birthed from the same pen and paper.

Despite all of these flourishes, one has to question Robinson's motives in what appears to be cashing in on a fad that's made millions for his contemporaries thus far. Lauper isn't even in the same galaxy when it comes to his level of artistry, but she recently cut a similar project, as has Carly Simon, Barry Manilow, and of course Rod Stewart (not once, but four times in a row!) If this effort sells well, it's wouldn't be surprising to see a second installment, but Smokey's lack of flexing his songwriting muscles over the last several years has been greatly missed. In a market that's already cluttered with similar releases, Timeless Love sure isn't essential, though fans are still likely to hear violins and forget everything when Smokey sings.

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