Saturday, 25 May 2024

CyberSoulMan: The King Of Motown

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T. Watts at the KPFZ microphone. Courtesy photo.
 

 


Seems like love should be easier to bear

But it’s such a heavy load

World wide traveler, you ain’t been nowhere

Till you’ve traveled down love’s road

Smokey Robinson (A Fork In The Road, circa 1965)


It was announced last week that Smokey Robinson will be appearing at Konocti Harbor Spa & Resort later this summer. Robinson is one of the ever-shrinking group of legendary Motown artists still performing on a grand scale.


As I’ve stated before Smokey Robinson was my favorite artist during my most sensitive years. You know, the teen ones.


My high school buddies and I used to debate for hours into days, the merits of the group Robinson fronted, The Miracles versus the Temptations.


My buddies were all Temptations freaks. They couldn’t help it. The Temptations were glossy and sharp. From their chemically processed hair to their precision choreographed stage routines, they could truly get down. Everyone in the group could sing lead as well. They really were probably the most rounded of all the Motown ensembles.


However if the Tempts were the consummate showmen, Smokey Robinson was the consummate artist. According to the Songwriters Hall of Fame he has written more than 1,000 songs. (Other sources suggest that the actual number is more than 4,000!)


That was the crowning point of my teenaged debates. The fact that Mr. Robinson was writing for virtually every act at Motown put him in a category that defies normal description.


And he has continued to grow. When I last interviewed the King of Motown in 2004 he’d recently appeared here in Lake County at Robinson Rancheria as well as at Cache Creek.


I’d seen him perform prior to that way back in 1967, 37 years before. He has actually become a better dancer over that time period, than he was when he was a young man. Well into his 60s when he was here last, I observed him do a 90-minute set, then a meet and greet with fans for over an hour after the gig. He’s in great shape.


That is not to say that there have not been some bumps in the road of life for Robinson as well. It’s all detailed in his biography titled “Inside My Life,” co-written with David Ritz.


If you want to be more intimate with Robinson, word is he has just joined Twitter. The global village is yet shrinking. Smokey Robinson is up on the new technology for staying in touch. The King of Motown still walks among us.


Keep prayin’, Keep thinkin’ those kind thoughts!


*****


Upcoming cool event:


Blue Wing Blue Monday Blues

Lake Blues All-Stars, Monday, March 30, 6:30 p.m. at the Blue Wing Saloon & Café. 9520 Main St., Upper Lake. 707- 275-2233


T. Watts is a writer, radio host and music critic. Visit his Web site at www.teewatts.biz.

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