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on April 22, 2000
What can one say about Smokey Robinson & The Miracles that hasn't been said at least 1000 times before? Not much, I'm afraid. Except, perhaps, from my point of view, how important those guys - Smokey in particular, of course - and their music is to me and my personal and spiritual well being. This music is just so spiritual, soul-soaking and timeless that it is difficult to describe it in mere words without it coming across as an unbearable drivel. But while there are and have been many good Smokey compilations out there (the classic double "Anthology" and/or 19992's "Greatest Hits" come highly recommended for those whose budgets are too modest for this 4CD set), this is the ULTIMATE Smokey Robinson & The Miracles collection since it not only contains their very best work as a unit, but also after they went their seperate ways. Then why 'only' a 4 star (4 & a half is more accurate, but that's not possible here, unfortunately) review, you might ask. Well, as much as I LOVE almost all of their stuff, some of the very early songs are just a tad 'ordinary'. I mean, they sound a bit like they could've been done by almost any late 50's/early 60's R'n'B outfit; the sophistication and uniqueness which came with and, indeed, brought on success for both Smokey & co and Motown a little later, just wasn't there that early on. So that's my only beef with these discs: the early years in their representation here could've used some slimming down. Otherwise, though, this is pure heaven. "You've Really Got A Hold On Me", "Ooo Baby Baby", "The Tracks Of My Tears", "Save Me", "More Love", "I Second That Emotion", "Abraham, Martin And John" (THE definitive version...sorry Marvin), "The Tears Of A Clown", "Going To A Go-Go", "Cruisin'", "Quiet Storm", "Love Machine" and many, many more - all titles of legendary proportions in the history annals of popular music and plenty enough reason to dish out whatever amount Amazon is asking for this set. But wouldn't it have been cool if we'd have gotten an extra disc containing some of the best stuff Smokey & associates wrote (& produced) for other Motown acts like The Temptations, The Supremes, Stevie, Marvin, Supremes, Mary Wells, Marvelettes and all the others? Phew! But, for the time being, this'll do very well indeed.
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on May 5, 2000
No one will ever have a complete anthology of music where every song is a favorite...the compilation of Smokey and the Miracles is a close as they come.
Whether you enjoy the harmony of the 50s or the seductiveness of the 80s/90s, Smokey Robinson has to be respected for recognizing the trends of the times and appealing to the sounds of that era.
More importantly, his genius as a song writer clearly is reflected in this collection. Listen to the words and how he intertwines the music and the melodies and you can't help but appreciate his talents. Before Wonder, before Gaye, even before Holland, Dozier and Holland, there was Robinson. He was the original and the others but imitators.
You may not find all of your favorite Smokey songs here, but you can be guaranteed you will find others you may have forgotten or are hearing for the first time. And that's what really makes this a worthwhile collection to have. You aren't necessarily getting the songs you hear over and over on the radio. "Tracks of My Tears" is a great song, but "Fork in the Road" is more emotionally interesting and will have you hitting the repeat button more often.
Sit back and groove with the oldies, reminisce with the sounds of your youth or experience the smooth jazz sounds of today...Smokey and the Miracles share it all, and it doesn't get any better.
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on November 14, 2008
This four-disc retrospective showcases one of the most prolific and innovative artists of all time. Smokey Robinson began his musical career in 1958, and he's still going strong in 2008. This box set covers the first thirty-five years of a legendary body of work. One of my favorite features of this box set is that it is ordered chronologically, giving the listener a chance to hear firsthand the evolution of a Motown legend. Liner notes are extensive, and song selection is excellent.

Disc 1 covers the period 1958-63, and while these early songs may not be comparable to Smokey's later work, they give you a clear understanding of where and how he began. One Notable musical gem is "I'll Try Something New", an upbeat love song with gorgeous lyrics.

Disc 2 covers 1963-67. There's less of a doowop influence, more of a Motown feel. Smokey begins to perfect the smoldering soul ballads for which he became famous. The hits on this disc include "Mickey's Monkey", "Ooh Baby Baby", and "Going to A-go-go,."

Disc 3 covers the late 60's. The lyrics, melodies, and musical arrangements have matured. "More Love", "Baby Baby Don't Cry", and "Here I Go Again" stand out as exceptional among the exceptional, and "Oh Be My Love" is a beautiful yet underappreciated musical treasure.

Disc 4 sees Smokey and The Miracles part ways. But before they do, they release "Tears of a Clown." "Put the Blame On Me" is an achingly beautiful commentary on what can happen when you love someone too much, and this song is one of the best illustrations of Smokey's talent to address the most painful circumstances of the heart and say what so many feel and are unable to express. The disc ends with Smokey's solo work, most notably "Cruisin'" and "Being With You."

This set is too much for the casual fan who only wants the radio hits, but for anyone who wants to learn more about this legendary artist, the 35th Anniversary Box is essential listening.
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on May 5, 2000
If you are lucky, you remember blue lights in the basement during those parties way back in the sixties. Sometimes, it might have been someone's backyard on a warm summer night. After hearing the latest from the Temptations, the Suprtemes or Little Stevie Wonder, it was time to get close to your best girl (too often, the one you WANTED to be your best girl).
It was time for Smokey, and this is the one place with all those songs. From the sad songs like "My Girl has Gone", the heart wrenching "Tracks of My Tears", and "What's So Good About Goodbye", to those songs filled with the beggars hope, like "More Love" and "Baby, Baby Don't Cry". This was the music for wanna be lovers.
Nobody did it like Smokey. He could sing the young Sistahs into a swoon. A truckload of memories in these discs, certainly worth the price.
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on February 20, 1999
I find it frustrating to read reviews of certain artists albums by critics who are not fans. Peter Kane of Emap Consumer Magazines Limited. truly proves himself to be a bit of a novice when it comes to Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. It would be more of a challange to really examine The Miracles 35th Anniversary Collection by looking beyond You've Really Got A Hold On Me, Ooo Baby Baby, The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage, I Second That Emotion, Tracks Of My Tears, and Going To A Go-Go to praise the merits of the great Smokey Robinson songs that have not been praised since they were first recorded. The original version of Shop Around alone would be worth mentioning in any review of this collection, not to mention all the great unavailable B-sides that we fans have been waiting for for years! Even some of the songs that have appeared on countless number of greatest hits collections and repeated here, are the original 45 (singles) versions that i had not heard for years! The totally different vocal treatment of Come Around Here (I'm The One You Need) has been unavailable since the song was released in the '60s. Songs with Smokey's wife Claudette singing the leads; the longer version of That's what Love is Made of.....great unreleased tracks. This was the collection for any Smokey Robinson fan! There is so much more to be said but I think that is is so rare to find a collection so respectful of the fans. This feat was duplicated in the release of The Tempations boxed set but the ball was dropped with the realese of the jack Five's set. sigh.......
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on October 30, 2000
I feel a bit like Goldilocks. The Ultimate Collection is a bit short. This one just a bit too long. (The Motown Anthology is, in my opinion just right).
I have raved about Smokey elsewhere. His ability to write clever and moving lyrics is unparalleled. In the simplest love songs he could make the greatest turns of a phrase.
Here, however, I found a bit too much unnecessary fluff. Some unreleased songs (like "Father Dear" and Sad Story", neither of which should have been released in my opinion). Some of the live cuts were so understandibly drowned out by the screaming of the crowd.
The Motown Anthology has every great Smokey song (with the exception of "Cruisin'"). That is the ticket.
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on August 15, 2013
This one goes all the way back to the beginning. I had forgotten about some of these songs, and I love when that happens. I would recommend this set to anyone who loves Smokey Robinson and The Miracles.
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on August 3, 1999
Here it is Smokey fans, the baddest four disc set from the "Sinatra of Soul" Smokey Robinson leading the Miracles. Motown's first great group, the Miracles had a smooth harmony that paved the way for other acts to follow like the Tempts and Supremes. Smokey was also an accomplished songwriter and producer for Motown, and his writer and producing talents are on this set with great abundance. Discs 1 and 2 feature the early days of the Miracles' career. Some of the highlights of these first two discs are the original version of "Shop Around", which has a beat that is bluesier than the hit version. Other lost gem from Disc 1 is "I Have To Cry", an unreleased song which was cowritten with Motown's A&R director Mickey Stevenson. Disc 2 features all the hits from 1962 to 1966, and features the unreleased tune "Show Me You Can Dance". Two numbers that were omitted were "Would I Love You", a ballad, and the dance tune "Come On Do The Jerk" which recieved limited airplay because of some suggestive and misinterpreted lyrics. Disc 3 and 4 feature the mature careers of Smokey and the Miracles. Disc 3 covers 1967 to 1970 at the zenith of their popularity. "Your Business, My Pleasure", an unreleased tune from 1967, is the lost gem on this disc. Disc 4 follows the years from 1970 to the present. It features tunes by both Smokey and the Miracles, who split up in 1972 so that Smokey could get off the road. Smokey's early 80's hits are featured in the back end of this disc. Smokey Robinson was one of the driving forces that propelled Motown to the top of American Music on the 1960's. This box set will show you why.
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on June 4, 1999
this is a wonderful, wonderful collection and the most befitting contribution that could be made to one of my favorite artist/performers of all time. To pay tribute to Smokey, I purchased several copies of his book "Smokey Robinson" to give to my friends..Smokey takes me back to times that I like to remember. I want the albumn, that contains the song"Sweet Harmony". This albumn is very important to me.
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on May 11, 2002
As a fan of Smokey Robinson & the Miracles from the beginning, I own almost every album they've recorded. This is a must have for the true Smokey fan; I love just about every song in this collection. I highly recommend this set for your collection, you will be pleased, it's worth 5 stars!
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