Smokey & Friends (CD)

The legendary Smokey Robinson’s anticipated release Smokey & Friends is full of stars but not many surprises. Produced by American Idol’s Randy Jackson and featuring some of Robinson’s biggest hits, each track is reimagined with new arrangements and different vocalists. Most of the renditions here are by the book and feature performances by Elton John, Steven Tyler, Mary J. Blige, John Legend, Sheryl Crow and other big names in music. Opening number “Tracks Of My Tears” is enhanced by the nearly unrecognizable but powerful vocals of Elton John while “You Really Got A Hold On Me” showcases a very blues-rock influenced performance from Steven Tyler. Other highlights include Mary J. Blige doing a spirited version of “Being With You” and James Taylor adding some country flair to “Ain’t That Peculiar.”

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