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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Often overlooked
Stevie Wonder had begun his metamorphosis from the teen star to a major and serious artist back in 1971 with "Music of my Mind", where he stretched beyond the boundaries Motown wanted to impose and began to explore the amazing creativity he had. There followed 3 of the most innovative and influential albums of the 70's - Talking Book, Inner Visions and Songs in the Key of...
Published on 31 May 2008 by Andy Edwards

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Often overlooked, 31 May 2008
By 
Andy Edwards "staxasoul" (Essex UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Stevie Wonder had begun his metamorphosis from the teen star to a major and serious artist back in 1971 with "Music of my Mind", where he stretched beyond the boundaries Motown wanted to impose and began to explore the amazing creativity he had. There followed 3 of the most innovative and influential albums of the 70's - Talking Book, Inner Visions and Songs in the Key of Life, each of which could be considered a classic.

Little surprise then that "Fullfillingness...." (which came between Visions and Songs..) has been largely disregarded when critics choose their favourite Stevie Wonder album. That's a shame though, because there are some excellent tracks on display here.

The albums from this phase of Wonder's career always had plenty of variety of mood, with the uptempo and positive rubbing shoulders with the militant and regretful. FFF is no different, opening with "Smile Please" (no prizes for guessing the mood on this one), and a jaunty "Heaven is 10 Zillion Light Years Away", before the wistful "Too Shy..." brings things down tempo. We're back up again with "Boogie On..." , before the mellow "Creepin'" and the funky and angry "You Haven't Done Nothin'", which has a scorching lyric.

"It Ain't No Use" finds Stevie in regretful mood as he says goodbye to his love (would this be the hymn to the end of his marriage to Syreeta?), before "They Won't Go...", which almost comes to a full stop in places, such is the slow tempo. But Stevie Wonder always came across as a positive individual and this reasserts itself at the end of the set, with "Birds Of Beauty", a funky, Latin tinged number, stressing the virtues of a natural high.

You may have heard some of the tracks here, but Wonder's albums always rewarded listening as a whole and this is no exception - Inner Visions remains my favourite, but this runs it close
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stevie at his best, 15 Feb. 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Fulfillingness' First Finale (Audio CD)
I find it difficult to proclaim anything SW did as 'my favorite' as there is so much to like about most of the stuff he did (particularly during the '70s). However, I must say that this particular album is the one I find myself coming back to time and time again. For me it is the peak of his partnership with Bob Margouleff & Malcolm Cecil, with the depth and intricity of the arranging greater than any of the previous 3 albums they had made together. It was also their final collaberation.
The way he has 2 'mini' Stevies responding to the main vocal line in 'Heaven is 10 Zillion Light Years Away' is absolutely amazing, particularly the way that they continuosly build in volume and intensity until the full gospel choir take over to join Stevie for the chorus. This inovative use in backing vocals continues in 'It Ain't No Use' and 'They Won't Go When I Go'.
In other tunes, he simply has one line of vocals throughout and uses the other instruments to create the interest, particularly (as always) the synthesisers. My favorite use of these artificial sounds is the bass line'Boogie On Reggae Woman', which is constantly in action, playing a very busy part but without interfering. This tune also contains one of Stevie's best harmonica solo - he creates a sound on that thing that just pierces right through your ears - Amazing!
It's very tempting to go through every song in detail, as there's so much to talk about, but my suggestion is that you buy this album and give it several listens, as it might not appeal to you straight away. But once you get it, you can listen to it as many times as you like and you won't ever get bored (and that goes for all of his '70s albums).
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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Subdued but still brilliant, 20 July 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Fulfillingness' First Finale (Audio CD)
Stevie was involved in a serious car crash and he was also between a divorce and a marriage when he was putting together Fullfillingness' First Finale. It's a fascinating album because rather than the joyful, confident but sometimes heavy-handed preaching on Innervisions and Songs In The Key Of Life, here Stevie is trying to overcome his doubt and hurt brought on by recent events. When he sings 'But I can feel it, feel His spirit' on Heaven Is Ten Zillion Light Years Away it almost seems like he's trying to convince himself, and Too Shy To Say and Creepin' are both tentative but very beautiful love songs, not to mention They Won't Go When I Go, a stunning flipside to You And I. There is still joy here, though, in Smile Please (you will), Bird Of Beauty and about the happiest breakup song I've ever heard, It Ain't No Use.
The melodies here are often slightly lacking, most of the choruses being of the 'sha-la-la' variety, but the arrangements are superb throughout, with Boogie On Reggae Woman being about the funkiest, sexiest track Stevie ever cut. Also, a little of Stevie's practical joke humour comes out - he got the Jackson 5, then the biggest vocal group in the world, in on You Haven't Done Nothin' just to sing 'doo doowop' a few times.
In summary, Talking Book and Innervisions are better but I find this one more interesting and come back to it more often than any other Stevie album.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Audio Fidelity Remaster - Not Perfect But Still The Best Version, 27 Feb. 2011
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I won't review the music as that has been done a zillion times, but will confine my review to the quality of this remaster. For Stevie Wonder fans the Audio Fidelity audiophile remasters are essential, to replace some of those poor-sounding 2000 and 2008 remasters. Audio Fidelity (like other reissue labels XRCD, First Impressions Music, MFSL, etc) do not employ any dynamic compression or stupidly bright EQ, so the resulting CD is usually a delight to the ears. Whilst I really despise bright and compressed masters, I do find the Audio Fidelity issue of 'FFF' to be a little dull at the top end of the frequency range, more so than the Audio Fidelity issues of 'Talking Book' and 'Music Of My Mind.' I think they went just a little overboard when aiming for that classic warm, analogue sound.

Still, it's the best CD version of this album currently available by far. Also gives slightly increased definition when played back in an HDCD player.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely First-Rate Classic From Stevie!, 12 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Fulfillingness' First Finale (Audio CD)
When people talk about classic Stevie, most people go for "Songs In The Key Of Life" or "Innervisions" - but, to my mind, they have serious competition in this classic from late-74. It is probably overlooked as there was only 2 singles from it (the excellent funky, stinging Nixon rebuke "You Have n't Done Nothin'", and the cool "Boogie On Reggae Woman"), but every track is a classic. More reflective than "Innervisions" or "Songs", and bit more down-tempo, but there are some real beauties. The opener "Smile Please" is an encouraging, jazzy groover, followed by "Heaven Is 10 Zillion Light Years Away" with a great gospel chorus. On the ballad front, "Too Shy To Say" is wonderfully tender and vulnerable, but equally good is the requiem-like "They Won't Go When I Go". There really is nothing bad here, though - I love the catchy "It Ain't No Use", the Minnie Riperton featuring "Creepin", and the joyous finale "Please Don't Go". An excellent addition to any collection, buy it and then Minnie's Perfect Angeland Stevie Wonder Presents Syreeta, both of which are equally stunning and made during the same incredible period for Stevie. Brilliant.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stevie at his best, 15 Feb. 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Fulfillingness' First Finale (Audio CD)
I find it difficult to proclaim anything SW did as 'my favorite' as there is so much to like about most of the stuff he did (particularly during the '70s). However, I must say that this particular album is the one I find myself coming back to time and time again. For me it is the peak of his partnership with Bob Margouleff & Malcolm Cecil, with the depth and intricity of the arranging greater than any of the previous 3 albums they had made together. It was also their final collaberation.
The way he has 2 'mini' Stevies responding to the main vocal line in 'Heaven is 10 Zillion Light Years Away' is absolutely amazing, particularly the way that they continuosly build in volume and intensity until the full gospel choir take over to join Stevie for the chorus. This inovative use in backing vocals continues in 'It Ain't No Use' and 'They Won't Go When I Go'.
In other tunes, he simply has one line of vocals throughout and uses the other instruments to create the interest, particularly (as always) the synthesisers. My favorite use of these artificial sounds is the bass line'Boogie On Reggae Woman', which is constantly in action, playing a very busy part but without interfering. This tune also contains one of Stevie's best harmonica solo - he creates a sound on that thing that just pierces right through your ears - Amazing!
It's very tempting to go through every song in detail, as there's so much to talk about, but my suggestion is that you buy this album and give it several listens, as it might not appeal to you straight away. But once you get it, you can listen to it as many times as you like and you won't ever get board (and that goes for all of his '70s albums).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant briliant album., 7 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Fulfillingness' First Finale (Audio CD)
This is Stevie's 4th of the Classic 5 albums and for me the most underrated of the lot. Personally I would rank it as the 2nd best, the melodies of "Heaven is 10 zillion light years away", "you haven't done nothin" and "Boogie on Reggae Woman" are as accomplished as any that Stevie has done before or since. And yet what is it that makes this album better than the others? For me it is simply a happier and more upbeat album than Innervisions and at the end of the day that is a matter of taste. Beautifully balanced and technically brilliant, if Stevie had not gone on to the amazing achievement of Songs in the Key of Life, well this album would be remembered more for what it is - a truly outstanding piece of work from a musical legend right at the top of his game.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Give it time, it's a bit of a sleeper., 15 Aug. 2008
By 
This review is from: Fulfillingness' First Finale (Audio CD)
This album won't grab you at first. I had it a while before it got under my skin. Just be patient, you will be richly rewarded.

Strongly recommended.

..oh and check the sound quality. This album is nearly 35 years old and it gives plenty of modern recordings a complete pasting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful, wonderful album, 21 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Fulfillingness' First Finale (Audio CD)
I'd forgotten the days of enjoying an album, that is playing it all the way through from the first to the last track. It's not something that we do with MP3s and random play and being able to purchase single tracks.

This album is a joy to listen to from beginning to end, and I find myself humming or whistling some its tracks days after listening to it. This is definitely a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Ever, 20 Nov. 2010
This review is from: Fulfillingness' First Finale (Audio CD)
As a life long Stevie Wonder fan, this has got to be up with Music of my Mind as his best album ever. From the first track, Smile Please through to Please Don't Go, every song reminds me why I love this man. Having bought this 'forgotten' album purely by chance due to 'losing' my original. The burglars around here have very good taste. I'd forgotten what a truly marvellous album this is. If you love SW you must own this cd.
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Fulfillingness' First Finale
Fulfillingness' First Finale by Stevie Wonder (Audio CD - 2000)
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