The core of this DVD presents 14 clips (usually from television) of Smokey Robinson & the Miracles in performance, mostly from their 1963-1970 prime, though there are a couple from the post-Robinson lineup of the Miracles in 1976, as well as three 1980s solo Robinson numbers. Unlike the DVD retrospectives of fellow Motown stars the Supremes, the Temptations and Marvin Gaye, however, the disc actually gives equal weight to interviews (with Robinson and fellow Miracles Pete Moore and Bobby Rogers) done especially for the project. These interviews are not all clumped together as part of the main feature, or loaded on as extras; instead, the main feature alternates performance clips with extensive interview segments. This might disappoint some fans looking for musical footage first and foremost. But the formats are effectively integrated, providing a good balance of historical insight and sheer entertainment, and certainly the DVD doesn't stint on content, adding up to about two-and-a-half hours altogether. The nine musical clips of the 1963-1970 Miracles include some of their biggest smashes, among them "Shop Around," "You've Really Got a Hold on Me," "Mickey's Monkey," "Ooo Baby Baby," "The Tracks of My Tears," "Going to a Go-Go," "I Second That Emotion," and "The Tears of a Clown." True, more of these are mimed than most would like, and the Miracles were not quite as visual or as fancy-stepping a group as the Temptations (their dynamic segment in the 1964 concert film The T.A.M.I. Show would have made a nice addition). But they're still pleasing to watch, and some of the performances are live, highlighted by a 1963 film of the group working at the Apollo (where they insert some of Sam Cooke's "Bring It on Home to Me" into "You've Really Got a Hold on Me"). The 1976 clips (with Billy Griffin as lead singer), meanwhile, are most interesting not for the music (versions of "Do It Baby" and "Love Machine"), but for their outrageous pink stage outfits. The interview portions are quite interesting, as Robinson and his pals reflect on the group's origins, Motown, Robinson's songwriting, and the evolution of several of their classic records. Also included is a special audio section allowing you the option of hearing isolated lead and background vocals for the studio tracks of eight of the '60s Miracles recordings, as well as a 24-page booklet of historical liner notes. ~ Richie Unterberger
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