The sense of nostalgia that overflows from the 1965 release Going To A Go-Go from Smokey Robinson & The Miracles is one that balances between a grandmother’s vinyl crates and the feel of two-inches of dust over plastic sleeves. The cover is a vibrant display of four visionary artists in their own right, a sound that was common but irreplaceable for the incoming wave of creativity.
“The Tracks Of My Tears” opens with a Doo-wop fashioned rhythm section with an ensemble that rounded out with five vocalists, a credited guitarist, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra that worked in tandem to The Funk Brothers as a collaboration. The overwhelming warmth that comes from the flashy instrumentation is directly impacted by the production of Smokey Robinson himself which had Going To A Go-Go on the charts. This mass effort included “Ooo Baby Baby” which instantly invokes this sudden love-ridden sensuality and dreamy lyricism.
Robinson explains, “Mistakes, I know I’ve made a few. But, I’m only human, you’ve made mistakes too… I’m crying,” as the chorus explains angelically, “Ooo Baby Baby.” With instrumentation that flows along to the blissful strings that are almost somber, but somehow can fulfill this overwhelming sense of passion as well. It is a continuous dichotomy that Smokey Robinson & The Miracles face throughout Going To A Go-Go. At each pass, the record becomes more and more weighted down by these moments of heartbroken realization. Love is the train that takes Going To A Go-Go on this overarching mission to combine the power of music with a shattered reality of storytelling.
With any record that can suddenly spark tears from a listener’s eye, the beauty of Smokey Robinson & The Miracles comes from their dual-wield of both brains and brawn. With some double-trouble of both catchy lyrics and backing vocals to the finely-tuned workings of the framework performances, Going To A Go-Go is a past marvel trapped in a continuous cycle of current replayability.