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5.0 out of 5 stars 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...
Published on Jan. 26 2004 by howlinw

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Some of the best, and some stuff I can't stand
Watching BET's Walk Of Fame tribute to Stevie the other day inspired me to write some reviews here. Personally, I like Stevie. He seems like a great person. Musically, for me, he is almost 2 people per album. That is the reason I gave this cd 3 stars. I absolutely love the Stevie stuff that I love, and the stuff I don't like I just cannot stand. I just don't see how...
Published on Oct. 31 2002 by Pharoah S. Wail


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5.0 out of 5 stars I believe..., Jan. 26 2004
By 
"howlinw" (California USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Talking Book (With Orig. Art) (Audio CD)
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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Double Up !!! This Is A Classic, Jan. 23 2004
By 
Brandon Ousley (Chicago, Illinois United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Talking Book (With Orig. Art) (Audio CD)
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Soul Classic of The 1970's, Oct. 2 2003
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This review is from: Talking Book (With Orig. Art) (Audio CD)
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is a Book That Needs To Be Heard, Sept. 4 2003
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This review is from: Talking Book (With Orig. Art) (Audio CD)
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One-half of Stevie's best work!, April 3 2003
By 
Reginald D. Garrard "the G-man" (Camilla, GA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Talking Book (With Orig. Art) (Audio CD)
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.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Some of the best, and some stuff I can't stand, Oct. 31 2002
This review is from: Talking Book (With Orig. Art) (Audio CD)
Watching BET's Walk Of Fame tribute to Stevie the other day inspired me to write some reviews here. Personally, I like Stevie. He seems like a great person. Musically, for me, he is almost 2 people per album. That is the reason I gave this cd 3 stars. I absolutely love the Stevie stuff that I love, and the stuff I don't like I just cannot stand. I just don't see how someone can write and perform a tune as perfect as I Believe (When I Fall In Love With You It Will Be Forever), and on the same album include such dreck as You And I, and You've Got It Bad Girl.
I Believe has great singing, a fantastic synth-bassline and an equally fantastic chorus. With this tune I rate Stevie right up there with Bernie Worrell for his ability to come up with lines and beats that could vamp for 10 straight minutes and be perfect.
Big Brother is my other favorite song on the cd. Socially-conscious Stevie at his best. Everyone knows You Are The Sunshine Of My Life and Superstition so aside from saying that I prefer Superstition there isn't much more to say about those 2 songs.
This is what this album boils down to, for me. These 4 songs. Big Brother and I Believe are Stevie at his best. Superstition is great and Sunshine is nice now and again. The rest of this cd I can do without.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stevie's most accessible album of the 70s, Oct. 23 2002
By 
nyasb (the Southland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Talking Book (With Orig. Art) (Audio CD)
I haven't read the other reviews, but I'll insert my two cents. First of all, I almost see this album as chapter two in a five-album saga (Music of my Mind, Talking Book, Innervisions, Fullfilingness First Finale, and Songs in the Key of Life). This is the lushest and most accessible of these albums. It displays Stevie's versatility (funk - Superstition, Maybe your Baby; ballads - You & I, Blame it on the Sun; folk/protest - Big Brother; "jazzy"/mellow - You've got it bad, Lookin for another Love)... Perhaps my favorite is the shortest (I think) song on the album - Tuesday Heartbreak. It is reminiscent in structure to the songs of the 60s, but the instrumentation (wah wahs) transform it into a funk/shoo-bop hybrid, while Dave Sanborn's soloing seems to prophetically foreshadow the use of the sax in 80's pop. Because this album is polished (not raw, like Music of my Mind) and accessible (except for Big Brother, all the songs are about love, and there are no strident or "expermiental" songs, unlike his other 70s work), I think it should be the introduction to those who want to become familiar with his definitive work (and find out why he's considered a musical genius).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Long Over-due Remastering Worth The Wait, Sept. 20 2002
By 
DEAN M. Dent (SAN LEANDRO, CALIFORNIA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Talking Book (With Orig. Art) (Audio CD)
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Long Over-due Remastering Worth The Wait, Sept. 20 2002
By 
DEAN M. Dent (SAN LEANDRO, CALIFORNIA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Talking Book (With Orig. Art) (Audio CD)
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Soul Record., June 10 2002
By 
namepeace "namepeace" (Nashville, TN United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Talking Book (With Orig. Art) (Audio CD)
"Talking Book," is, quite simply, a flawless album. With songs and arrangements that are at times mournful and edgy, at times joyful and reverent, "Talking Book" will touch and amaze you.
The most popular songs on the album are, of course, the classics "Superstition" and "You Are The Sunshine of My Life." Yet like those two, many of the other songs on the album explore feelings of loss and betrayal with the same eloquence and flair: the funky "Maybe Your Baby" (with a funky hook and haunting background vocals heard in much of Prince's late 80's work), "Tuesday Heartbreak," and "Lookin' for Another Pure Love." My favorite song on the LP, however, is "You Got It Bad Girl," a plaintive ballad with smooth synths and subtle, clever lyrics. The album ends with the soaring, hopeful "I Believe" (featured in "High Fidelity").
There is not one subpar song on this album. I'd bet that most musical artists could record their entire lives and not produce 10 songs that are anywhere close to the 10 on this album. Stevie Wonder has made some great LP's, and scores of great songs, but this album, in my opinion, is his best, and perhaps the greatest album I have ever heard in any genre.
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Talking Book (With Orig. Art)
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