Lyricists: Warren "Pete" Moore; Billy Griffin.
Personnel: Carolyn Willis, Julia Tillman, Maxine Willard Waters (vocals); Donald Griffin, Greg Poree, Jay Graydon, Billy Griffin (guitar); John Barnes (keyboards, synthesizer); Ed Greene, James Gadson (drums); Eddie "Bongo" Brown (congas, bongos); Paulinho Da Costa (percussion).
Liner Note Author: David Nathan.
Recording information: Crystal Sound Recorders, Hollywood, CA.
Photographer: Alan Bergman.
Concept albums became the thing to do in the '70s, and the Miracles joined the fray with City of Angels. Their most successful album without Smokey Robinson, it was also their most controversial. One of the tracks, "Ain't Nobody Straight in L.A.," created quite a stir when released (as the follow-up to "Love Machine") with lyrics stating that nobody was straight in Los Angeles. This didn't go over well with the brothers, to say nothing of the closing rap/conversation wherein the guys ride out to a gay bar for a night of entertainment. Of course, "Love Machine" shot up the charts like a missile all the way to number one. It became the biggest hit for the Miracles ever -- even with Smokey. The title track, "City of Angels," and "Smog" are probably the two slowest songs ever recorded by an R&B group. "Smog" in particular makes a waltz seem speedy. "Waldo Roderick DeHammersmith" had an unusual title, but this sucker rocks from the first seconds to the end; the song was about a street hustler named Waldo, who went by the nickname of Butch. At the end the Miracles warn you about the guy, chirping "Butch will get you, shoo doo, shoo waa, Butch will get you, shoo doo, shoo waa." "My Name Is Michael" was written with Michael Jackson in mind; the song is a midtempo romper about a guy (Michael) who has it all, fame and money. ~ Andrew Hamilton