After writing and singing an endless number of pop hits for Motown, Smokey Robinson charted a more idiosyncratic solo path in the 70s.  He followed his label mate Marvin Gaye towards an increasingly funky, sensual sound, and began layering more elaborate arrangements of strings, percussion, way-wah guitar, and bass. (Whoever played bass on those early 70s solo Smokey records is unbelievable.)  “Baby That’s Backatcha” comes from his 1975 album, A Quiet Storm, which gave it’s name to an entire new genre of lush, romantic R&B. But this song actually departs from the rest of the album’s formula; it’s quick and upbeat, one of the simplest songs on the record. Driven by a flute and an electric keyboard, it’s got a vaguely Latin pulse to it.  I especially like the way the guitar mirrors the keyboard’s riff until the last notes, when there’s a sudden uptick.

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