| April 18, 1973|
Do It Baby
18 April 1973
| Hal Davis, Willie Hutch, Freddie Perren, Marvin Gaye, Frank Wilson, Leonard Caston Jr.|
The Miracles albums, Soul music albums
Renaissance (Tamla T-325L) was a critically acclaimed 1973 album by R&B group The Miracles on Motown Records' Tamla label, noted as the first-ever album by the group not to feature original lead singer Smokey Robinson on lead vocals. Instead, his replacement, new lead singer, Billy Griffin did the lead chores on this album.
Once Robinson decided to retire from the group to concentrate on his duties as Vice President of the Motown Record Corporation, Miracles members Claudette Robinson (Smokey's then-wife) and Marv Tarplin decided to leave as well. Tarplin, after staying for a year, decided to leave the Miracles and began touring and working with Smokey. Claudette retired to concentrate on raising the couple's two children, Berry and Tamla. The other Miracles, Bobby Rogers, Pete Moore, and Ronnie White, decided to conduct a nationwide search for a singer to replace Smokey. After auditioning several hopefuls, the group decided on Billy Griffin, a native of Baltimore, Maryland. In the 2006 Miracles DVD release The Definitive Performances (1963-1987), Miracles Pete Moore & Bobby Rogers, commented that the group decided on Billy because, in addition to being a great singer, he also demonstrated "some writing ability". Smokey Robinson served as the album's executive producer, and took pains to add, in the album's liner notes, that Billy was "a determined young man with a fresh new sound, who is sure to become dynamic in the industry". In his answer to "unnamed skeptics" who claimed that The Miracles couldn't make it without him ...his reply was, concerning the new lineup, "All you have to do is listen".
Renaissance included several songs from noted writer-producers....including Marvin Gaye, Willie Hutch, Leon Ware, Fonce Mizell, Freddie Perren, Pam Sawyer, and others. Griffin proved to be a more-than-capable lead singer, and Bobby, Ron and Pete's vocal blends were among their best. The album's first intended single was "What Is a Heart Good For" which was performed by the group on a July 13, 1973, telecast of NBC's The Midnight Special which marked the group's first national television appearance with Billy... and was hosted by Smokey himself. The Miracles also performed the song on a September 28, 1974 telecast of Don Cornelius' "Soul Train". Radio began playing the uptempo single (Tamla 54240), when it was inexplicably withdrawn, and replaced with a ballad "Don't Let It End (Til You Let It Begin)", which, while not a bad song, may have been a poor choice for the group's inaugural single: the weakest song in an otherwise very strong album. As a result, "Don't Let It End" only reached #56 Pop,#26 R&B on the Billboard chart, and without a big hit single to promote it, Renaissance only reached #174 Pop, #33 R&B on the Billboard album chart. An undeserved fate for an album otherwise filled with potential hits that never saw the light of day as singles, including "Nowhere to Go"...a powerful song featuring all of The Miracles on lead vocals, the Willie Hutch written-and-produced "I Didn't Realize the Show Was Over". (Interestingly, Hutch also contributed to Smokey's first Post-Miracles solo album), and Marvin Gaye's "I Love You Secretly"- a song about inter-racial love. Critics at the time gave the album almost universally positive reviews. However, the group's next album, Do It Baby, based on their #13 million-selling hit single of the same name, would fare far better. While The Miracles' Renaissance had never been re-issued on CD, several of its songs did appear on the 2003 Motown compilation CD The Miracles-Love Machine: The 70's Collection. However, it was finally released on CD in June 2012 in a CD package, also featuring the Miracles' 1974 Do It Baby album.
Smokey Robinson - executive producer
- "What is a Heart Good For" (Arthur Ross, Leon Ware)
- "If You're Ever in the Neighborhood" (Don Fenceton, Jerry Marcellino, Mel Larson)
- "I Wanna Be With You" (Willie Hutch)
- "Wigs and Lashes" (Larry Mizell) features Billy Griffin & Ronnie White
- "Don't Let It End (Til You Let It Begin)" (Christine Yarian, Freddie Perren) featuring lead vocals by Billy Griffin and Ronnie White, spoken word segment by Bobby Rogers
- "I Love You Secretly" (Anna Gordy Gaye, Elgie Stover, Marvin Gaye)
- "I Don't Need No Reason" (Leon Ware, Pam Sawyer)
- "Nowhere To Go" (Clay McMurray, Dennis Jackson, Gary Fears) featuring leads by all of The Miracles
- "I Didn't Realize The Show Was Over" (Richard Hutch, Willie Hutch)
1What Is A Heart Good For3:04Renaissance (The Miracles album) Wikipedia
2If You’re Ever In The Neighborhood2:52
3I Wanna Be With You4:36