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The dictionary defines the popular term “comfort food” as “food prepared in a traditional style having a usually nostalgic or sentimental appeal.” It has been known to have a buffering effect as it soothes the soul and spurs memories of more “comforting” times. If that concept holds up in the kitchen, then it makes perfect sense that it should hold true in the living room with its aural equivalent. While it’s already a known fact that popular songs often connect with listeners in a highly personal way, often recalled alongside life’s more personal moments, only a few distinctive voices in popular music can achieve that same effect with instantaneous familiarity. With his eternally smooth and instantly recognizable falsetto alone – without the strings, bass, guitar or drums – legendary singer/songwriter/producer SMOKEY ROBINSON’s honey-coated voice absolutely is the audio equivalent of comfort food…comfort food for the soul…with soul. In following with the aforementioned definition, the Motown legend’s forthcoming ROBSO Records CD, Time Flies When You’re Having Fun has certainly been “prepared in a traditional style,” while that oh-so-familiar, highly identifiable crooning has an indisputable “nostalgic or sentimental appeal.”

Indeed, the “traditional” element of Time Flies When You’re Having Fun had already been determined while Robinson was recording his last CD, 2006’s pop/jazz standards collection Timeless Love. Just as that particular project had been recorded live in the studio with musicians – the first time he had recorded a full LP that way in years – Smokey knew he wanted to record his newly-written contemporary R&B songs in the very same fashion. In fact, he was so inspired by recording the “old school way” that the recording schedule for both projects actually overlapped. “I was having such a ball making that project (Timeless Love),” he explains. “I hadn’t intended on doing them simultaneously because I knew that Timeless Love was the one I was going to come out with. But things were going so well with that project that I said, ‘I’m gonna start putting in some of the original material I’d written for my new CD (Time Flies When You’re Having Fun) and record it this way too.’ I knew I was going to do these particular songs, but I didn’t realize I was going to wind up recording them live like I did with Timeless Love. So I did and we had a ball.” Though he’s the first to acknowledge and appreciate the technologically advanced way that recording for most releases are done today, like the cleaner sound and creative lee-way afforded by ProTools, Robinson was steadfast in his penchant for live instrumentation for this CD. “I think that you still don’t get that feeling that you used to get in the old days when everybody was in the studio together,” says Robinson, whose early Motown classics were recorded in this fashion. “That way was like doing a concert, because everybody was feeding off of each other. It’s just that live vibe.”

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Celebrating The Legendary Smokey Robinson  was originally published on