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ABC, "When Smokey Sings"

Ah, 30 years ago, just as the 1986-87 school year was coming to a close, new wave act ABC surprised us, by going soulful, with their homage to Smokey Robinson, "When Smokey Sings."

With the school year ending, there's a mix of optimism (good riddance, sophomore year!) and pessimism (without school in session, your friends disperse). But really, the danceable, infectious, sharply-recorded "When Smokey Sings" made us forget about summer, and just heightened the enjoyment of the present.

And that reminds me. When my friends headed out for San Francisco record stores, vinyl was replaced (hooray!) with CDs. Granted, very few of us had CD players, but nevertheless, for the popular music we grew up with and loved, the CD sounded infinitely better than its vinyl and cassette counterparts.

"When Smokey Sings" was a case in point. We had it on CD (from the album, Alphabet City), cassette, LP, and 7" 45 rpm single. With focus, pulse, snap, bite, momentum, and control, the CD kicked ass, not something you normally associated with ABC. The cassette was like covering your ears, while the bus' air brakes struck fear into passengers' ears. Giving a glimpse of the excellent production, the LP wasn't as bad as other vinyl of the time. But the LP's lumpy transition from bass to mids retarded the rhythm - a mortal sin. As expected, the 45 rpm single was plagued with that awful upper midrange warble.

Ah, about that 7" version. During the solo, the 7" mix includes a very brief sax snippet. You wish for more, so that it would carry you off into....the summer of '87, perhaps.

Interestingly, during that summer of '87, Smokey Robinson himself was on the charts, with "One Heartbeat."

-Lummy The Loch Monster

Edits: 06/10/17

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Topic - ABC, "When Smokey Sings" - Luminator 11:26:14 06/10/17 (4)


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