Talking Book

From Sajun.org
Talking Book
Album cover
LP by Stevie Wonder
Released October 27 1972
Recorded ???
Genre Soul/R&B
Length 42 min 41 sec
Record label Motown
Professional reviews
Rolling Stone 5/5 link
Allmusic.com 5 link
Stevie Wonder Chronology
Music Of My Mind
(1972)
Talking Book
(1972)
Innervisions
(1973)

Talking book is an album by Stevie Wonder. Some fans claim that it is one of the best cross-over records of all time and on its release it shattered the myth that R&B artists were incapable of creating something even the hardest of rock audiences could appreciate.

Wonder toured with the Rolling Stones in 1972, at that time there were large audiences at the concerts. Talking Book was released after the tour and became an immediate hit.

The album marked a unique period for R&B artists and especially Motown artists. The cover of the album depicts Wonder in a more ubiquitous light, with manicured corn rows, Indian jewelry and a velvet afghan.

Sandwiched between the release of Music Of My Mind and Innervisions, Talking Book was part of Wonder's initiation into the unexplored regions of his musical career. Having seized more artistic freedom from Motown, Wonder took over the production reins and played most of the instruments.

Talking Book is sharply defined by Wonder's keyboard work, especially with the synthesizers he incorporated, giving the music a funkier edge (check out "Maybe Your Baby"). Then again, the swinging acoustic guitar and harmonica embellishments on "Big Brother", both courtesy of Wonder, defy categorization.

The album features appearances from guitar heroes Jeff Beck, Ray Parker, Jr. and Buzzy Feton (Howard "Buzz" Feiten).

Wonder received 3 Grammy's for tracks on this album in 1974 - Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" and both Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song for "Superstition". Incidentally, in the same ceremony, Wonder's next album "Innervisions" won Album of the Year and "Talking Book"'s producers Malcolm Cecil & Robert Margouleff won the Best Engineered Recording, Non-Classical award for their work on Innervisions. Cecil and Margouleff produced four classic Wonder Albums in all: Music of My Mind, Talking Book, Innervisions, and Fulfillingness' First Finale.

Track listing

  1. You Are the Sunshine of My Life
  2. Maybe Your Baby
  3. You and I (We Can Conquer the World)
  4. Tuesday Heartbreak
  5. You've Got It Bad Girl
  6. Superstition
  7. Big Brother
  8. Blame It on the Sun
  9. Lookin' for Another Pure Love
  10. I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)

Personnel

(Where name appears twice, the first is the name of the artist as credited on the original album).

  • Austin Godsey - Engineer, Recording
  • Joan Decola - Recording
  • George Marino - Mastering

Produced by Stevie Wonder.