- Audio CD (1 May 2000)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
- Label: Motown
- ASIN: B00004S36A
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Audio Cassette | DVD Audio | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,205 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Talking Book Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
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As the second of five consecutive albums which made up Stevie's classic period, Talking Book found Wonder at the top of his game, combining tight song writing with warm electronic arrangements and effervescent vocal performances.
Released in 1972 and sandwiched between the release of Music of My Mind and Innervisions, Talking Book saw the then 22 year-old Wonder enjoying more artistic freedom from Motown, taking over the production reins and playing most of the instruments himself. As a result, the sound of the album is sharply defined by Wonder's exquisite keyboard work, and his use of the Hohner clavinet model C on Superstition became widely regarded as one of the definitive tracks featuring the instrument.
Despite making the majority of Talking Book himself, the album also benefits from the talents of guest guitarists Jeff Beck, Buzzy Feton and Ray Parker, Jr who featured on Maybe Your Baby and Lookin' For Another Pure Love.
Wonder won three awards for Talking Book at the 1974 Grammys with You Are the Sunshine Of My Life winning Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and Superstition picking up both Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song. --David O'Donnell
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Top Customer Reviews
Taken as a whole, the album showcases SW at the peak of his creative powers, and although I feel "Inner Visions" is the more complete album this runs it very close - stand out tracks are, for me the less well known ones like "Maybe Your Baby" and "I Believe" each of which hints at the turmoil in his private life at the time.
If you are a music fan and interested in influential albums then you should have this album - for Soul fans your collection is not complete without it.
The album kicks off with the hit 'You Are The Sunshine Of My Life', an upbeat love song with an interesting, almost tribal, use of percussion. Next comes the funk, with 'Maybe Your Baby', with baselines looping and melting over each other in a way Steveie Wonder does so well.
The album continues on its journey from chilled out track to track, until an explosion of funk in 'Superstition'. This is probably one of the best tracks the man ever wrote, and is an essential part of understanding his music, the sheer cool that seeps from the speakers almost makes them dance along with you.
The ethnic, earthly influences showing Wonders more spiritual side come across in the upbeat 'Big Brother', before you are taken to emotional depths with the painfully beautiful 'Blame It On The Sun', a heartbroken musical monologue which captures some of his most effective songwriting.
It is hard to fault this album at all, this is a real musical treat, a self assured work of genius from one of the most talented soul performers of all time.
On Talking Book, Stevie played most of the instruments ranging from synths to drums and, quite incredibly, what sounds like acoustic guitar on the album's most overtly political track Big Brother. The remainder of the LP focuses more on the loss and gain of love, probably influenced by his separation from Syreeta Wright who somewhat ironically contributed some of the words.
Sides One and Two of the album begin with the most famous songs from the LP. You Are The Sunshine Of My Life stays just the right side of the middle of the road whilst Superstition carries the funk. There is also however much to be gained from the rest of the album with the sublimely arranged Blame It On The Sun possibly Stevie's greatest ever lost-love song. I can remember Evan Dando of the Lemmonheads raving about it in the early 90s - possibly not the most sober musical analyst but he was right! Further highlights include Looking For Another Pure Love which is augmented by some beautifully fluid guitar-work by Jeff Beck and the 70s jazz-funk of Tuesday Heartbreak featuring an equally excellent guest turn by Dave Sanborne on saxophone.
With all but the two most famous songs absent from most Wonder compilations, Talking Book is an essential Stevie purchase. It is very highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this together with Innervisions, which I prefer, but there's no doubt that this album has some strong tracks and great musicianship.Published 1 month ago by PaulC