The Motown Sound was in fine form at the Elks Theater on Saturday night in Cruisin’—The Music of Smokey Robinson. The Lonely Street Band with Ira Hill as a smooth as silk Smokey Robinson, hit all the right notes in an evening of 23 of Smokey’s most famous songs. He was joined by Jacqui Castillo in show stopping versions of “Don’t Mess with Bill” and “Respect”, and a closing duet with Hill, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”.
Rocking the house and recreating the Motown Sound was a six piece band that included Greg Robinson on keyboards, Dylan DeRobertis on bass, Fred Hayes on drums, Alex Mack on guitar, and Brian Hicks on sax and flute. Jennie Rhiner assisted on back up vocals. The audience was clearly happy to see Ira Hill back at the Elks following his December appearance as Sammy Davis Jr. in the Lonely Street production of Christmas with The Rat Pack. In his recreation of Smokey Robinson’s music, he showed remarkable stage presence, dancing and offering light banter as he worked thru Robinson’s oeuvre of mega hits including “Tears of a Clown”, “Shop Around”, “My Girl” and “I Second That Emotion”.
As lead singer, songwriter, and producer for the Miracles, Smokey Robinson virtually invented the Motown Sound. In 1960 he was one of the first acts to sign with Barry Gordy’s Motown Records and produced their first million seller, “Shop Around”. Over the next decade Robinson produced 26 top forty hits, including the 1970 number one Billboard hit “Tears of a Clown”.
He also wrote for other Motown artists including The Supremes, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. In 1987, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2016, he received the Gershwin Prize for his lifetime contribution to popular music.
Lonely Street Productions' nostalgia-based entertainment featuring legendary performers has proven popular with Prescott audiences. Upcoming shows at the Elks Theater include Class of ’70—Greatest Hits from 50 Years Ago on February 2,2020, and Let the Good Times Roll—The Genius of Ray Charles on March 15,2020. Tickets may be purchased at Prescott Elks Theatre