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Smokey Robinson Breaks New Ground With New Album, Cracker Barrel Partnership

Soul/R&B Legend Smokey Robinson has team with Cracker Barrel Old Country Store for the release of his new album, ‘Now and Then,’ making it the store’s first exclusive R&B release. The 12-song disc, which features classics and new songs by the Motown legend, will go on sale Monday (November 1) and be available only at Cracker Barrel. Robinson’s partnership could also expand Cracker Barrel’s relationship within the African-American community, which has been an issue for a while. According to Reuters, Cracker Barrel settled a discrimination suit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2004, after several complaints that black patrons were seated in areas segregated from white customers and frequently received inferior service. The company agreed to an $8.7 million settlement to resolve all racial discrimination lawsuits brought or supported by the NAACP. “It’s time to change that imagery of Cracker Barrel,” Robinson says of his decision to partner with the restaurant chain. “I’m very happy to be the one breaking that ground with them. It’s progress.” Six of the songs on “Now and Then” are live versions of Robinson’s best-loved classics recorded this year during various performances. The list includes “The Tracks of My Tears,” “Going to a Go-Go,” “I Second That Emotion” and “The Tears of a Clown.” The other six tracks are from the singer-songwriter’s 2009 CD, “Time Flies When You’re Having Fun.” Those include “Time Flies,” “Girlfriend” and a cover of Norah Jones’ “Don’t Know Why.” “Now and Then” will sell for. Cracker Barrel is working in tandem with Time-Life to develop a broadcast component to complement the marketing campaign behind “Now and Then.”

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