Talking Book

( 2 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - John Bush
After releasing two "head" records during 1970-71, Stevie Wonder expanded his compositional palate with 1972's Talking Book to include societal ills as well as tender love songs, and so recorded the first smash album of his career. What had been hinted at on the intriguing project Music of My Mind was here focused into a laser beam of tight songwriting, warm electronic arrangements, and ebullient performances -- altogether the most realistic vision of musical personality ever put to wax, beginning with a disarmingly simple love song, "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" (but of course, it's only the composition that's simple). Stevie's not always singing a tender ballad here -- ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - John Bush
After releasing two "head" records during 1970-71, Stevie Wonder expanded his compositional palate with 1972's Talking Book to include societal ills as well as tender love songs, and so recorded the first smash album of his career. What had been hinted at on the intriguing project Music of My Mind was here focused into a laser beam of tight songwriting, warm electronic arrangements, and ebullient performances -- altogether the most realistic vision of musical personality ever put to wax, beginning with a disarmingly simple love song, "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" (but of course, it's only the composition that's simple). Stevie's not always singing a tender ballad here -- in fact, he flits from contentment to mistrust to promise to heartbreak within the course of the first four songs -- but he never fails to render each song in the most vivid colors. In stark contrast to his early songs, which were clever but often relied on the Motown template of romantic metaphor, with Talking Book it became clear Stevie Wonder was beginning to speak his mind and use personal history for material (just as Marvin Gaye had with the social protest of 1971's What's Going On). The lyrics became less convoluted, while the emotional power gained in intensity. "You and I" and the glorious closer "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)" subtly illustrate that the conception of love can be stronger than the reality, while "Tuesday Heartbreak" speaks simply but powerfully: "I wanna be with you when the nighttime comes / I wanna be with you till the daytime comes." Ironically, the biggest hit from Talking Book wasn't a love song at all; the funk landmark "Superstition" urges empowerment instead of hopelessness, set to a grooving beat that made it one of the biggest hits of his career. It's followed by "Big Brother," the first of his directly critical songs, excoriating politicians who posture to the underclass in order to gain the only thing they really need: votes. With Talking Book, Stevie also found a proper balance between making an album entirely by himself and benefiting from the talents of others. His wife Syreeta and her sister Yvonne Wright contributed three great lyrics, and Ray Parker, Jr. came by to record a guitar solo that brings together the lengthy jam "Maybe Your Baby." Two more guitar heroes, Jeff Beck and Buzzy Feton, appeared on "Lookin' for Another Pure Love," Beck's solo especially giving voice to the excruciating process of moving on from a broken relationship. Like no other Stevie Wonder LP before it, Talking Book is all of a piece, the first unified statement of his career. It's certainly an exercise in indulgence but, imitating life, it veers breathtakingly from love to heartbreak and back with barely a pause.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/21/2000
  • Label: Motown
  • UPC: 601215735420
  • Catalog Number: 157354
  • Sales rank: 34,833

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Stevie Wonder Primary Artist, Synthesizer, Harmonica, Drums, Keyboards, Vocals, Moog Synthesizer, ARP
Deniece Williams Vocals, Background Vocals
Jeff Beck Acoustic Guitar, Guitar
David Sanborn Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Background Vocals
Gloria Barley Vocals, Background Vocals
Daniel Ben Zebulon Percussion, Conga
Shirley Brewer Vocals, Background Vocals
Malcolm Cecil Moog Synthesizer
Scott Edwards Bass
Howard "Buzz" Feiten Guitar
Jim Gilstrap Vocals, Background Vocals
Lani Groves Vocals, Background Vocals
Delores Harvin Vocals
Trevor Lawrence Saxophone, Alto Saxophone
Steve Madaio Trumpet
Robert Margouleff Moog Synthesizer
Ray Parker Jr. Acoustic Guitar, Guitar
Debra Wilson Vocals, Background Vocals
Loris Harvin Background Vocals
Dennis Williams Background Vocals
Trevor Laurence Saxophone
Steve Madalo Trumpet
Gloria Barley Background Vocals
Technical Credits
Malcolm Cecil Programming, Producer, Engineer
Scott Edwards Contributor
Austin Godsey Engineer, Engineering
Robert Margouleff Producer, Engineer
George Marino Mastering
Stevie Wonder Producer, Audio Production
Yvonne Wright Composer
Joan Decola Engineering
Tokiwa Kinoshita Editorial Coordinator
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A masterpiece!

    Stevie Wonder is simply one of the greatest songwriters of all time. There's no going wrong with this album -- it's perfect from start to finish. Highly highly highly highly recommended!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    MIND-BLOWING!!!!!!!!

    This is the type of music that comes from artists who aren't afraid to take chances; who are uninhibited by fear of not being liked; who are true visionaries. It's just that good! Listen to songs like ''Superstition'', ''Big Brother'', ''and I Believe'' and you'll know what I'm talking about!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews