Personnel: Marvin Tarplin, Wah-Wah Watson (guitar); Michael Jacobsen (cello, saxophone); Fred Smith (flute, saxophone); Roderick Rancifer, Sonny Burke (keyboards); Scotty Harris (drums); James "Alibe" Sledge (congas, background vocals); Ivory Davis (kettle drum, timpani, background vocals); Patricia Henley (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Michael Lizzio; Smokey Robinson.
Liner Note Author: Peter Doggett.
Recording information: The Roxy, W. Hollywood, CA (05/25/1978).
Photographer: Neil Zlozower.
Vol. 5 of Hip-O Select's ongoing Smokey Robinson solo album reissue series is a straight-up reissue of the 1978 live album Smokin'. Although this opens with "The Tracks of My Tears," this isn't an oldie revue heavy on hits with the Miracles. Instead, this double album is very much of its time, relying heavily on recent hits with everything, even the classic '60s sides, given a bit of a disco makeover. While these new arrangements hardly trump the originals, they make for a better overall experience: perhaps this isn't Smokey at his absolute peak, but it is a reflection of a legend working hard to build upon his legacy without living in the past. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine