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Smokey Robinson and the Miracles Week No 6: A Love She Can Count On

This is almost a mediocre Miracles track because, unlike the other Smokey songs featured on this blog, it doesn't have sparkling lyrics or amazing vocals. But it isn't of course, it's just very different. It's almost as though the Miracles and the Funk Brothers, it being late and them being in a mellow place, decided to just cut one more side before they went off to bed. The track is so laid back it feels like a blues jam: Jamie Jamerson's exquisite bass sets the laid-back rhythm from the start, Marv Tarplin's repeating guitar riff is languid in the extreme, the piano is a constant bluesy fill in the background, while the brass section just seems to be mucking around in the next room. This overall effect is complimented by Smokey's easy vocal, which is simultaneously relaxed and careful, like a tipsy man walking the centre line on a road around about midnight to prove he's sober, and the slow handclap and the way the Miracles echo his words adds to the overall feeling that we're in an after-hours lock-in pub sing along.

Then there's the telling message:

"I remember what made it come to me

the guy next door has money you see

oh you know he buys his woman everything

he buys her cars and clothes and diamond rings

and although she accepts the things he buys

what she really wants is his love sometimes

so baby I want you to see

that you can always count on me"

Ergo typical pub cod philosophy: money can't buy you happiness, we know how to have a good time.

But unlike any pub I know, they've got Smokey, who just can't resist showing off at the end as the track fades.

Nice turn, Smokey.

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