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Talking Book
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Product Description

The two No. 1 hits from this 1972 album perfectly illustrate the contrasting sides of Wonder's complex personality. "Superstition" is a strong rocker, a paranoid bit of wah-wah guitar funk that's as persistent as the best punk music; the opening track, "You Are the Sunshine of My Life," is a pure love song that would sound corny coming from any other voice. A hint of bitterness, perhaps owing to Wonder's then-dissolving marriage, gives Talking Book its edge. But overall it's obsessed with love, and while "Sunshine" is still one of the singer/keyboardist's most beloved songs, the closing "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)" is much deeper and more rewarding. --Steve Knopper

The 2008 reissue of Talking Book which was released shortly after Wonder completed his 1972 tour with the Rolling Stones and peaking at #3 in the US. It is the second release in what is widely regarded as his classic period, a period in which Wonder broke completely with the Motown sound and philosophy. Despite the strong initial disapproval of label execs, Wonder forged ahead and he was rewarded with phenomenal success, forcing Motown to grant him complete artistic freedom over his work and proving to the music industry that R&B artists could find widespread appeal with rock audiences. The CD features his #1 Pop and R&B hit, "Superstition".

Japanese Limited Edition in an LP-STYLE Slipcase.

Customer Reviews:

  • One-half of Stevie's best work!
    While "Songs in the Key of Life" may have won more awards and is considered the apex of Wonder's career, I feel that his first two releases as his own producer/arranger/writer/instrumentalist (this one and the previously released "Music of the Mind") are the true measure of Wonder's genius.

    "Talking Book" is the natural progression begun with "Music". Wonder was beginning to sharpen his skills, not just as a songwriter but as an master composer. "Superstition" and "Big Brother" were just the beginning of Wonder as social commentator. "You've Got it Bad Girl", "I Believe When I Fall in Love", and "Tuesday Heartbreak" are finely crafted jewels in every manner.

    The power of "You and I" is that it is a wedding staple. I can attest to that, having had to play it on several nuptials.

    "Maybe Your Baby" is a masterpiece of creativity. It's raw and revealing, allowing us a glimpse of Wonder's heartfelt emotions....more info

  • Beautiful Music
    After listening to this CD, I now appreciate Stevie Wonder more than ever. This is a funky, beautiful record. There are classics here -"Superstition" and "You are the Sunshine of My Life" but I think the best are "I Believe" and "Blame it on the Sun". I could listen to them over and over. I recommend this record!...more info
  • I believe...
    I first became interested in this music upon hearing the closing track to the film "High Fidelity," which is "I believe (&c)," the last track on this disc as well. I had heard "Superstition" before on the radio, and I liked the sound of that track as well. So I sprung for it, and it has become one of my favorite records (I orginally got it on vinyl, then on CD) of all time. While people tell me that "Innervisions" is the one essential Stevie release, with "Songs in the Key of Life" in second place, I put this one above both. It sounds rawer than either, more unpredictable, yet with a nice studio polish that can be expected from Stevie's work. It's a rock album as much as it is a soul album, and it can also be deeply political ("Big Brother" has new relevancy in the age of the erosion of our civil rights). It's full of feeling, love and creativity. It's really too bad Stevie couldn't keep this quality up after "Key of Life," but the fact that anyone could produce an album this consistently good is amazing. It's in my top-ten list folks, and may be in yours if you give it a chance....more info
  • A Soul Classic of The 1970's
    I believe that with this album Stevie Wonder reached his creative zenith as a musician. Many fans say that his "Songs In The Key Of Life" album from 1976 is his true masterpiece. I have to disagree, as good as that album is "TALKING BOOK" is much more complete as far as the music is concerned. It fills me with joy everytime I listen to it and I feel that the songs are much nicer and they have more of a raw edge to them. My favorite Stevie Wonder song ever is without a doubt "SUPERSTITION", this song is great I still remember when it first came out in 1972, even though I was only seven at the time it left a lasting impression on me. I just love the music and lyrics, I really think is one of the greatest songs ever written not only from the 70's but from any area. The album in is entirety is great from start to fisnish and again in my opinion this LP is really his masterpiece. Although many musicians have recorded "Superstition" and have done a fairly good job with it there is however one musician who even though he has never recorded the song does a superb job when he does it in concert every once in awhile he is the great Jose Feliciano. Out of all the other artists who have sung the song before Jose's live version is truly a masterpiece to listen to I hope he decides to recorded it one day. Stevie Wonder's Talking Book has plenty to talk about with its musical content. Simply GREAT....more info
  • Pure magic
    Stevie Wonder's TalkingBook is quite frankly one of the greatest love album ever made. I say that because there is a sincerity and humanness that is through the album. There's the sweet and lightheartedness of "You are the Sunshine of my Life", followed by the almost anger of "Maybe you're baby". The production on the latter is splendid--which makes you question the originality of a certain Hip-hop producer.

    Beyond the the funkyness of "Maybe your baby" is tn subtle but stinging and almost sarcastic socio-political commentary of "Big Brother". Stevie's harsh critique of the 1984-like system is only pacified by the country-feel of the production. However, Stevie is at his best when it comes to love. Only Stevie could make heartbreak and the triumph of love sound so unbelievable.

    When Stevie sang "Blame it on the Sun" which was co-written by his late wife, Syreeta, it was as if Stevie reached inside the depth of his soul and put his heart in all of its complexities. THe pain is real and it was fresh too. Stevie had just divorced Syretta by the time this record was made and so when that bridge kicks in--it really kicks. The most memorable moment on the album is the last number, the majestic "I Believe when I fall in love."

    "I Believe when I fall in love" is love in all its glory from the uncertainty and its potential to transcend time. "I believe" is Shakesphere's Sonnet 116 in real terms. The arrangement especially his soaring harmonies and the overall production is breathtaking and magical. Stevie isn't talking about idealized love as if love were some unattainable dream but but as if this song is a leaving breathing testimony of love and its power.

    It's very simple. Buy Talking Book, it it was on of those albums that will inspire and nourish the soul. ...more info
  • Best work
    An excellent introduction to the range and depth of Stevie Wonder's prodigious talent. No one (even Mr. Wonder) has been able to improve upon the innovative sound that he created during this period; Talking Book was so stylistically and technically advanced that much of the nearly 30-year-old album sounds like it could have been recorded yesterday. Except that it's much more ambitious than anything on the current scene. It is one of those rare albums that presents a fully realized, wonderfully rich artistic vision, the kind that one can scarcely imagine coming out of today's music industry even IF someone had the requisite talent and insipiration. It's possible to debate whether Songs in the Key of Life shows a broader range, or whether Innervisions is the most consistently solid album - but for beautiful textures, funky grooves, and dozens, even hundreds of repeat listens, this one gets my vote....more info
  • Our last great popular songwriter?
    I used to think of this one as the slightly weak link in Wonder's astonishing early 1970's run of genius, but the more I listen, the more I realize there were no weak links in that period, only personal favorites. This is one of popular music's most melodic and creative songwriters at the start of his peak, showing off his incredible emotional range ("You Are The Sunshine of My Life" to "Superstition" to "Big Brother") and highly inventive arrangements. Plus, Wonder manages to be one of the very few artists whose use of synthesizers in the 1970's, for the most part, doesn't sound dated today. Which is fortunate, because he uses them a lot, and quite effectively - much the same way Duke Ellington used the tone colors in his own orchestra. And yes, I realize I am comparing him to Ellington....more info
  • The Japanese do it again!
    As an American who loves jazz and soul music, I'm constantly amazed to find that the highest quality releases of this music come from Japan. Records that are long out of print in the United States (or exist in a terrible domestic edition--see Sly's "There's A Riot Going On") can be found in lovingly packaged, remastered versions in Japan!! Certainly this says something about the musical tastes of the Japanese, as well as the priorities of American record companies.

    This edition of "Talking Book" is housed in a beautiful reproduction of the original record sleeve. It's a work of art; and music this great deserves to be housed in such a package. Apparently, the release is part of the "Motown Paper Sleeve Series," which hit the market in January 2003. All of the records from Stevie's classic period ("Talking Book," "Innervisions," "Fulfillingness' First Finale," "Songs in the Key of Life," "Hotter Than July") have been re-released in these beautiful paper sleeves. I also bought "Innervisions." If you are a Stevie fanatic, I would recommend picking these up now--especially because each release is limited to 5,000 copies. The only downside, of course, is that the liner notes are in Japanese. But Stevie's music speaks for itself--who needs to read the analysis of some critic?

    If you go to Japan, you will find most people have a great awareness and appreciation of all types of music. This release of "Talking Book" only confirms that. American record companies could do themselves a favour and learn from the Japanese....more info

  • This is a Book That Needs To Be Heard
    On Music of My Mind, Stevie spread his wings. On this album he stretches his genius. This is the first real masterpiece of the numerous Stevie has given us. As I always do in my reviews, let's go song by song.
    You Are the Sunshine of My Life: As he did on Music of My Mind, Stevie surprises us here in the first song several ways. First, the first notes heard are actually a progression of minor 3rd chords. This is something that had never been heard in popular music before. The song has become so popular now anyone can hum that very chord progression. Stevie's teaching us as he goes. The next surprise is that the first voice heard is not Stevie's! It is a male voice but it's from someone we don't know! Then, the next voice you hear is....again not Stevie's! It's female now! Why all the surprises? It's Stevie's way of keeping us on our toes. And, a way of making an otherwise regular pop song into something interesting. On the 45 version, Stevie adds horns which makes the song sound a little more upbeat. On the album without the horns, it sounds a lot more solemn. Which leads us to.....
    Maybe Your Baby: This song is about the age old question, "Is she cheating on me?" or "Am I losing her?" Stevie has two songs that deal with this subject, the incredible Lately on Hotter Than July and this one. Lately is more like Beethoven meets Ray Charles. Maybe Your Baby is more like Ray Charles meets Johnny Lee Hooker and Eric Clapton. This is gut bucket, heartwrenching, rockin' side to side, cryin' in your beer music, and it's the best example of how someone feels when they think or know they're being cheated on, or for some reason, is losing their lover. The title itself is a stroke of genius. The "Maybe" in it is what keeps us from completely believing the truth, even though it's right in front of our eyes. The song also features a background vocal that continually repeats the phrase, "Maybe your baby done made some other plans" in a very high-pitched voice. It's enough to drive you crazy. Which is exactly the point! The voice represents the thoughts that rage through our minds when we've been jilted by a lover. That's coupled with a very distorted rock guitar that plays in the background. My suggestion is to grab a beer, think about an old lover and put on this song. I garauntee you you'll play it over and over again.
    You and I: The second of what would become known as the Classic Stevie Wonder Ballad (primarily voice, bass and piano). This song is about the greatness of every relationship that a person has. Whether it's good or bad we take something from it. That something is generally knowlegde. This song is cinematic in it's sound and great in it's delievery. A true classic.
    Tuesday Heartbreak: After two heartwrenching songs, Stevie gives us a little break with this one. It's more upbeat, although it's still singing about the wanting of love. It's a lesser song on the album but still very good.
    You've Got it Bad Girl: This song harps back to Girl Blue on Music Of My Mind. Again it's about a person who doesn't see the lover right in front of them. Beautiful chords, melody and a very jazzy drum line give this song a soul.
    Superstition and Big Borther: This is a book you know. And like any book you have the main subject (in this case, a break up and it's aftermath) but there are always other things going on around the main story. Stevie separates Superstition and the next song, Big Brother by first, having them start the second side of the original album, and by connecting them musically by having Superstition's ending horns melt into Big Brother's opening clavinet. But what can you say about Superstition that hasn't already been said. It's a great song by an amazing artist and musician. Big Brother is quieter musically but just as loud, if not louder thematically.
    Blame it On the Sun: The lyrics to this song were written by Syreeta Wright, Stevie's ex-wife. She is the same ex that this album is basically all about. In this chapter of the book, we're at the "Who's fault is it anyway" point of the breakup. We blame it on everything except ourselve until finally we have to take responsibility. It's a beautiful song with some haunting moog synth work throughout.
    Looking for Another Pure Love: This is smooth jazz before it was ever created. In this chapter we're at the stage where we've finally accepted the fact that it's over and we have to move on. We're looking for another pure love. Not just another love but a pure one. There's a nice guitar solo by Jeff Beck that helps bring the song to another level. All this is fronted by a warm lead vocal by Stevie and nice floating backup vocals too. A great warmup, if you will, for what's to come next.
    I Believe When I Fall In Love This Time It Will Be Forever: Long title, long song. And another great finale to a great album. It starts slow and wanting, revs up to become a slow rocker and finally explodes with love and sincerity into a full blown rocking/gospel shout. It's Stevie the optimist again basically stating that he's been through a lot (Shattered dreams, worthless years. Here am I encased inside a hollow shell), and yet he knows the next time he falls in love that that will be it. It will last forever.
    There is so much going on musically in the last song and throughout the album that I can't fit it into less than 1000 words for this review. Buy this album and listen to it. Don't just put it on and go and paint the house or something. REALLY LISTEN TO IT. Then and only then will you understand the plot of this great book....more info
  • Of Course, Five Stars. A Hundred, If It Was Possible!
    This album, like his others, is very unique. Each song is like a snowflake--no two are alike. He doesn't just sing the songs, he puts his heart into it, as though that particular day he was feeling that exact way. Infused with emotion...that's what this album is. It makes you feel--makes you wanna get up and dance one minute ("Maybe Your Baby"--the best track in my opinion, and "Tuesday Heartbreak") and cry the next ("Blame It On The Sun" "You And I") If you are a true Stevie Wonder fan, if you want to hear him in his absolute prime, then I suggest this album, as well as "Music of My Mind" "Innervisions" "Fufillingness' First Finale" and the best album in the whole world "Songs in The Key Of Life"...more info
  • Stevie's musicianship is par excellence...
    There's not much I can add to all the glowing reviews. It's nearly unanimous that "Talking Book " gets 5 stars as a perfect blend of funk, rock, soft-rock, soul, gospel and smooth jazz. Stevie's musicianship is par excellence. Moreover, he delivers this product of fused genres and diverse readings as an organic whole.

    Suffice to say, for me, "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" is one of my favorites. Like a lot of people, the song reflects how I feel about my wife and kids.

    "Sunshine of My Life" has also been covered by Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Jim Nabors and Perry Como.

    "Superstition" is another great track which hits a nerve into realms unknown. ...more info
  • Quintenssential Stevie ....
    One of the first albums during Stevie's roll during the 70's Talking book is another excellent album from a true musical genius. This album is full of Stevie's trademark great pop songs, insightful lyrics and heart felt ballads.You are the Sunshine of my life is of course the pop song. but definetely in a good way. It's a simple song about love the written porduced and performed well. You and I, the lone ballad on Talking book is extremly simple musically and lyrically. Stevie uses only a synthesisewr and creates a love song that still to this day is timeless. Tuesday heartbreak is a mid-tempo track that features a strong sax solo from a young danid Sanborn. Then there's the ultra funky superstition, what can you say about that ecept damn.... Big brother is Stevie's lone overtly polital cut is a sarcastic take on polititics. Another great cut is lookin for another pure love, a melancholy almost jazzy cut which feature Jeff Beck on the guitar. Another in a long line if essesntial Stevie Wonder albums....more info
  • Absolutely Amazing
    Sometimes it seems like Stevie can just come up wiht this kind of stuff in his sleep. It would have been enough for him to follow his first real masterpiece, Music of My Mind, with a decent album, but instead he decided that he could make this one even better. Every song is great in its own right, but there are quite a few classic Stevie classics here. "Superstition" is definitely one of his most well-known tunes, but he also throws out a lot of great love songs: "You Are the Sunshine of My Life," "You and I," "Blame it on the Sun," and "I Believe (When I Fall in Love it Will Be Forever." The rest of the album is similarly great: "Tuesday Heartbreak" and "Big Brother" are other highlights....more info
  • A step back rather than forward, but worth owning for some truly great songs
    With Music of My Mind from earlier in 1972, Stevie Wonder created one of the best black albums of all time. In doing so he brought forward methods of making music that many have tried to emulate but none have achieved the same degree of success with. The way in which, by playing all the instruments, Wonder managed to create a dense, visceral sound that expressed almost every potential romantic emotion from ecstasy to despair and fear.

    "Talking Book" has come to be regarded as one of the definitive examples of 1960s and 1970s black activism and consistently makes lists of the best albums ever among more mainstream music magazines. However, overall, it lacks the creativity and fire not only of its predecessor, but also of its follow-up Innervisions. This absence is most apparent on the slower pieces on the first side of the record: neither "You Are The Sunshine of My Life" nor "You and I" has the moving quality of such songs as "Happier than the Morning Sun", "Girl Blue" or even "Golden Lady". The romantic pieces on the second side, especially the touchingly beautiful "Blame It on the Sun", do make up for this to a considerable extent. Nevertheless, no matter how hard he tries Stevie Wonder never had the voice to emulate a song like "Sunset": he would have been better sticking to a slightly more funkier style. The message of "Big Brother" also sounds rather too muted to be as effective as it might have been.

    However, there is reason for "Talking Book"'s exalted reputation when one moves to the more uptempo material. The little-known "Tuesday Heartbreak" stands as a true gem with its remarkably finely put-together electronic funk and a vocal from Wonder whose piercing power might not be expected even from a fan. The combination of piano and synthesiser was never matched by Ferry and Eno. The midtempo "You've Got it Bad Girl" has a pleasingly jazzy feel and is the best pure love song on "Talking Book." It is with the really "tough" material that "Talking Book" proves Wonder capable of so much more than almost every other musician. Second track "Maybe Your Baby", featuring Ray Parker Junior of Ghostbusters fame, has melodies that are amazingly tuneful yet so distorted as to be passionate in a harsh kind of way. Wonder's vocal together with the backgrounds creates a wonderful sense of fury occasionally tempered by quiet that provides little relief. Then there is "Superstition", justly one of the most famous songs of the error because of its superbly intelligent yet simple lyrics and equally sophisticated-yet-simple funk sound. It was said of "Superstition" that the song fitted the unsettled mood of the Nixon era perfectly - a fair comment for a song that possess every requisite quality to be an absolute classic both in pop and funk.

    All in all, despite what the critics say, "Talking Book" is not as strong as "Music of My Mind", but with several songs of the highest quality it is still distinctly worth owning....more info
  • Wonder's pages of the heart
    "Innervisions"may show his genius at full form,& "Songs in the Key of Life"may be his masterpiece,but it's"Talking Book" that balances his musical genius and his emotional core. Not only are we treated to the salacious funk of"Superstition",and the georgeous"You are the Sunshine of my life",but other emotionlly charged songs that stemmed from his break-up with then-wife Syreeta Wright.From the turmoiled fueled "Maybe your Baby"&"You've got it bad,Girl"to the overtly ignored post break-up classic"Blame it on the Sun".But heartbreak gives way to the hopefullness of "You & I"(yet another buried classic ,which could pounce "I just called..."as the ultimate wedding song),"Looking for Another Pure Love",& the georgous album closer,I Believe(when I fall in love it will be forever) giving the indication that bliss is just around the corner. Only 22 at the time of recording,Wonder showed his talent was not only impressive,but most importantly,expressive....more info
  • Look deeper
    Everyone probably knows Superstition and You Are The Sunshine Of My Life. And they are great. But Maybe Your Baby just kills me in two seconds. Too funky. So funky I almost want to cry. If you don't know what I mean, go listen to it, something about beauty in such abundance that you don't know what else to do.

    And speaking of beauty, You And I has to be the greatest love song ever written. Just the piano would have been priceless, but to add his lyrics, sung by his voice, again is just too much.

    Along with a few of his other albums (you know which ones) and Prince's "Sign O The Times" and "Lovesexy", this is the best record ever made. And notice that these are all one-man albums. When pure genius is let loose, the rest is up to us to appreciate it......more info

  • The World According to Arp...
    ...and Moog, and Fender Rhodes, and Yamaha. Through the masterful fingertips of Stevland Morris. "Talking Book" is nothing less than extraordinary, this remastering should not be missed......more info
  • from the heart
    this album was recorded in the early 1970's easily Stevie's most creative period. All of the albums from this point in time are just superb, starting with Music Of My Mind, this one and Inner Visions, every one gets five stars, no boudt a doubt it. Every song a winner....more info
  • Weird album title great album......
    One of Stevie's first albums during his extremely prolific and polpular run in the 70's FFF is frequently one of Stevie's overlooked albums and personally one of my favorites. This album is chock full of wonderful Stevie Wonder material It starts out with the melodic smile please. Smack dab in the middle is stevies frist experiment with reggae aptly entitled influenced Bogie on reggae woman. Then there's the ballad creepin remade by Luther Vandross. The angry but still funky you haven't done nothin is another classic. Hey, that's the Jackson 5 on background vocals. They wont go when i'll go is yet another introspective Stevie Wonder original. And the album ends on a high with the emptional please don't go. A must for Stevie fans....more info
  • Double Up !!! This Is A Classic
    Released after the 1972 underrated album, Music Of My Mind, Talking Book was a new chapter in Stevie's career. Synthesizers, keyboards, clavinet, and the vocoders played a major part in this album. So, why is Talking Book so important? The songs are important, of course. "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life" is the greatest ballad of all-time. If you ask me, this is the best song on here. "Tuesday Heartbreak" is a little bit disappointing, but it will entertain you. It's a little up-tempo, but Stevie is at his best here. "Maybe Your Baby" is a personal favorite of mine. The opening starts with a synthesizer tune, then it comes all together with a somewhat guitar solo by Ray Parker Jr. "You And I" is another favorite of mine. It has a nice synth-piano tune to it. "Looking For Another Pure Love" is all about relationships. It's very relaxing. "Blame It On The Sun" is very disappointing, when you hear it, it'll sound like crap. It should've been on a soundtrack. Overall, it sounds beautiful. "Superstition" is the funkiest one on here. It's maybe one of my favorite songs by Stevie. "You Got It Bad Girl" is my personal favorites on here. It's like he's taking you on a musical adventure. "Big Brother" should've been left out on here. It's not an enjoyable one. "I Believe" is a jam. On the ending, Stevie cranks it up into a funky tune. Well, Talking Book is two things: love and happiness. The remastered version is great, but I can still hear some tape hiss on some of the songs. There are no extras here and that's disappointing. This is the Stevie Wonder album you have to get....more info
  • A Stevie Wonder classic!!!
    This album is a Stevie Wonder classic!!! Superstition and You Are The Sunshine Of My Life are worth the price of admission!!! But the other tracks are just as great!!! This CD,with it's remastered sound is a real treat!!! Two thumbs up!!! A+...more info
  • Long Over-due Remastering Worth The Wait
    At Last!Stevie Wonder's four "70's Power Albums" get a serious digital makeover.For years the CDs sounds as if they're from a fourth generation master,let alone the original album packaging being chopped up for its smaller predecessor.After hearing At The Close Of A Century and it remastered sound on many tracks,the treatment for Talking Book was around the corner.Not only does it sounds as if I'm in Electric Lady studios(among others) but the packaging includes the original notes,lyrics as well as the translation of the braile message originally inside the gatefold.As for the songs,the clavinets sounds more squashy(Maybe Your Baby)and sinister(Superstition),while the synths on Blame It On The Sun(my favorite song of all time)makes the sadness prevelent in the songs lyrics even more deeper.The jazz inflections in You've Got It Bad Girl and Lookin' For Another Pure Love sound sharper now making you wish Stevie play this type of music more often.You & I ,already remastered for the recent boxed set finally does away with the left channel glitch after the "Don't Worry What Happens To Me"line.Kudos to Harry Weinger for his research as well as Kevin Reeves for his remastering job.Now Talking Book speaks in a more beautiful sound....more info