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Smokey Robinson & The Miracles: 35th Anniversary Collection

Charles Shaar Murray, MOJO, July 1994

AS FAR AS I KNOW, Smokey Robinson and Frank Zappa never met. However, if they had, five'll getcha ten they'd have ended up talking about doo-wop. Zappa's passion for doo-wop – as formative an influence as Edgar Varese or Johnny Guitar Watson – surfaced in the mid-'60s, as soon as the liberating winds of psychedelia blew the Mothers into professional recording studios to record Freak Out; said passion derived from doo-wop's unique capacity to juxtapose – entirely without irony – swooning romanticism, great beauty and utter absurdity. Smokey and his Miracles, on the other hand, were authentic doo-woopers from the first, as demonstrated by the earliest item included here, November 1957's 'Got A Job', an answer record to the Silhouettes' epochal 'Get A Job'. Their harmonies came from the street-corner rather than the church: more than any of their colleagues, their particular strand of the Motown story is the story of the refinement of that tradition.

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