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Talking Book

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

Price: £6.11 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Product details

  • Audio CD (29 Oct. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Island
  • ASIN: B009B1ENDO
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 107,275 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
I like Macy Gray and I love the album Talking Book so thought this worth a try. It is pretty good, a fair cover of the whole album and I really like most tracks as they work quite well with Macy's voice. However I am not keen at all on the cover of Superstition. For me that one just doesn't work, it sounds a mess. Apart from that I am glad I bought it.
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Format: Audio CD
When 'Talking book' was released in the early 70s it was a revelation, providing hits but also pushing the boundaries of electronic keyboards and also being funky - in effect it combined pop, soul and progressive music. I can understand Macy Gray wanting to pay tribute to this wonderful album but I find the modern trend of people recreating their own classic albums live a bit weird - let alone an artist revisiting someone else's record in its entirety. I can't say I'm a big fan of Macy's voice, it's OK in small doses but I find it grating over a whole album. However, these songs are so good you'd have to really murder them to produce bad results and this record walks the tricky line between straight recreation and reinterpretation quite well. I thought that the funk tracks such as "Big brother" and "Maybe you baby" worked quite well and similarly the romantic songs like "Blame it on the sun" and "You are the sunshine of my life" were also OK. I was less keen on "Superstition" but at least she tried something different with this over-played classic song. There are no other radical rebuilds here just slight reorganisations so in the end this keeps the spirit and feel of the original but brings it into the present day but I would guess that people who know the original will always prefer that record.
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Format: Audio CD
It's rather unusual for an artist to cover a single album, but that's exactly what Macy Gray is doing here. Paying tribute to Stevie Wonder's classic album here at it's 40 years jubilee.

In a way a strange choice perhaps as Macy's husky vocals are far cry from Wonder's amazing and jubilant voice. But that forces her to make her completely own interpretations, just the way a cover album should be. Even able to put a new spin on the classic hits of "You Are The Sunshine .." and "Superstitious", the last delivered in a slow groove version with the famous riff only making a brief and late appearance.

This is modern soul/funk at its best with sublime playing and perfect backing voices. And ofc the songs are all - even the lesser known - just brilliant masterpieces. What really lifts the album though is Macy's emotional engagement, the pain and self-examination of "Blame It On The Sun" and the infectious joy of "I believe..".

A surprisingly good and uplifting release.
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Format: Audio CD
Great tribute to Stevie Wonder, takes a few listens though
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9b2bd324) out of 5 stars 22 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a5d0ea0) out of 5 stars Wonder-ful tribute album 5 Nov. 2012
By Bodhi Heeren - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
It's rather unusual for an artist to cover a single album, but that's exactly what Macy Gray is doing here. Paying tribute to Stevie Wonder's classic album here at it's 40 years jubilee.

In a way a strange choice perhaps as Macy's husky vocals are far cry from Wonder's amazing and jubilant voice. But that forces her to make her completely own interpretations, just the way a cover album should be. Even able to put a new spin on the classic hits of "You Are The Sunshine .." and "Superstitious", the last delivered in a slow groove version with the famous riff only making a brief and late appearance.

This is modern soul/funk at its best with sublime playing and perfect backing voices. And ofc the songs are all - even the lesser known - just brilliant masterpieces. What really lifts the album though is Macy's emotional engagement, the pain and self-examination of "Blame It On The Sun" and the infectious joy of "I believe..".

A surprisingly good and uplifting release.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a5d0ef4) out of 5 stars A Surprise and a Delight 31 Oct. 2012
By Julius - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Macy's ode to Stevie Wonder is both unique and familiar at the same time. Superstition is definitely my favorite, but her version of Sunshine is endearing. A must have!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b131bb8) out of 5 stars When is she gonna get some respect?! 31 Oct. 2012
By P. Jerome - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Macy does a very good job at interpreting Stevie's songs with a fresh spin! It's a must have if you're a fan of both these artists.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b3ac054) out of 5 stars Something New And Surprising 5 Dec. 2012
By Andre S. Grindle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
When I first heard about Macy Grey talking on this 1972 classic Stevie Wonder album,I met it an equal mixture of skepticism and awe. Seen many tributes to classic artists in the soul/R&B/funk world. But not many,if at all,have taken on a full album as a tribute. May have something to do with the music world's switch back to a more single record oriented ethic. Because I was very familiar with this album as well as Macy Gray,she didn't exactly seem like the first person I'd think of to pull this project off. On the other hand it was clear from the first songs I heard by her that Al Green,Esther Phillips,Sly Stone,Dinah Washington,Billie Holiday and..Stevie Wonder were obvious influences-musically and vocally. So I decided to give it a chance and see what was done.

Though of course more contemporary in production "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life" and "Big Brother" are the closest to the original musically and her band did an excellent job with them. The rock/funk strains of "Maybe Your Baby" are emphasized more strongly here with Macy's wailing,pleading interpretation and cleanly screaming guitars. Both "You and I" and "Blame It On The Sun" receive a very Hi/Al Green style make over,not surprising considering that the chords of the latter seemed highly influenced by Willie Mitchell anyway. "Tuesday Heartbreak" is musically quite faithful to the original,though the production has somewhat less vitality-a somewhat typical trait of the retro soul sound. "Superstition" is the most radical change-a very dark reverb laden New Orleans type R&B with a lot of emphasis on the blues. Not my favorite on the album but a very radical change nonetheless.

"You've Got It Bad Girl" is fascinating to me because she takes a song that in many ways epitomizes 70's Motown and gives it a 60's Funk Brothers era Motown beat to it,adding to a deep understanding of the history of the music rather than just the artists. "Looking For Another Pure Love" emphasizes the bossa nova aspect of the song where as "I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever") of course zeros in on the heavy Sly Stone-like funk of the second part of the song. Produced by Hal Wilner,famous for his tributes and work with both famous members of the Buckley family,for this albums 40'th anniversary this is an extremely effective and penetrating re-imagining. Where one would expect Gray to abstract,she plays it straight. And luckily vice versa. While some of the ideas hold more might than others,the fact that Macy Gray paid tribute in this manner actually says all it needs to say.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a5d13d8) out of 5 stars SMASHEROOOOOO! 31 Oct. 2012
By Dave Morrell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
First heard the new single YOU AND I...a classic from Stevie and NOW with a groove that is a MUST HEAR!!!!....rule #1?...PLAY LOUD!...rule #2?...have FUN with MACY!
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