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Today: Stevie Wonder released “Talking Book” in 1972 – 40 years ago

 The artist breaks through and takes control, though not in that order. Suddenly he’s writing better ballads than he used to choose, and not at any sacrifice of his endearing natural bathos (if you have doubts about “Sunshine of My Life,” try “Blame It on the Sun”). “Maybe Your Baby” and “Big Brother” continue his wild multi-voice experiments but come in out of left field. And “Superstition” translates his way of knowledge into hard-headed, hard-rocking political analysis.
~Robert Christgau

From Wikipedia:

Released October 28, 1972
Recorded 1972
Genre Soul, funk
Length 43:31
Label Tamla
Producer Stevie Wonder, Robert Margouleff,Malcolm Cecil

Talking Book is the fifteenth album by Stevie Wonder, released on October 28, 1972. A signal recording of his “classic period”, in this one he “hit his stride.” The album’s first track, “You Are the Sunshine of My Life”, earned Wonder his first Grammy Award, for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

Superstition live on Sesame Street:

Sandwiched between the release of Music of My Mind and InnervisionsTalking Book saw Wonder enjoying more artistic freedom from Motown. Guest appearances include Jeff BeckRay Parker, Jr.David Sanborn, and Buzz Feiten. The sound of the album is sharply defined by Wonder’s keyboard work, especially with the synthesizers he incorporated, giving a funky edge to tracks like “Maybe Your Baby”. His use of the Hohner clavinet model C on “Superstition” is widely regarded as one of the definitive tracks featuring the instrument. His swinging clavinet and harmonica embellishments on “Big Brother”, though, defy categorization.

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