Rolling Stone - 12/11/03, p.118Ranked #90
in Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums Of All Time" - "...TALKING BOOK was full of introspection and social commentary..."
Rolling Stone - 1/4/73, p.61
"..Ambitious, richly-textured...Even at its dreamiest, the music has a glowing vibrancy...Altogether, an exceptional, exciting album, the work of a now quite matured genius..."
Q - 8/00, p.1235 stars out of 5
- "...Represents an unparalleled hitching of man to machine....music of the highest standard: a burst of creativity few other '70s artists, save Bowie, could match."
Mojo (Publisher) - 7/00, p.129
"...With its groundbreaking Braille cover and smash hits 'You Are The Sunshine Of My Life' and 'Superstition'...[A] pretty essential acquisition."
Personnel: Stevie Wonder (vocals, harmonica, keyboards, synthesizer, ARP synthesizer, Moog synthesizer, drums); Stevie Wonder; Debra Wilson, Gloria Barley (vocals, background vocals); Delores Harvin (vocals); David Sanborn (saxophone, alto saxophone, background vocals); Trevor Lawrence (saxophone, alto saxophone); Trevor Laurence (saxophone); Steve Madaio, Steve Madalo (trumpet); Malcolm Cecil (Moog synthesizer, programming); Robert Margouleff (Moog synthesizer); Scott Edwards (bass instrument); Loris Harvin, Dennis Williams, Gloria Barley (background vocals); Deniece Williams, Jim Gilstrap, Lani Groves, Shirley Brewer (vocals, background vocals); Jeff Beck, Ray Parker, Jr. (guitar, acoustic guitar); Howard "Buzz" Feiten (guitar); Daniel Ben Zebulon (congas, percussion).
Recording information: AIR Recording Studios, London, England; Air Studios, London, England; Crystal Studios, Hollywood, CA; Crystal Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Electric Lady Studios, NY; Record Plant Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Record Plant, Hollywood, CA.
Photographer: Robert Margouleff.
Unknown Contributor Role: Scott Edwards.
Following closely on the heels of MUSIC OF MY MIND (also released in 1972), TALKING BOOK was Stevie Wonder's most consistent, developed, and impressive album to date. Building on its predecessor, TALKING BOOK combined all aspects of Stevie's musical personality--superb compositions, innovative keyboard sounds, exuberant singing, and lush, complex sonic landscapes--into a perfectly focused, polished package. The album's two hit singles, the warm, swaying love song "You Are The Sunshine of My Life" and the clavinet-driven funk workout "Superstition," proved he was onto something, and are still all-time classics in the artist's catalogue.
The surging stomp of "Maybe Your Baby" is a satisfying slab of hard funk, while "Blame It On the Sun" and "Lookin' For Another Pure Love" are ballad-like meditations on love (the latter with an excellent guitar solo from Jeff Beck). "Big Brother" marks Stevie's foray into political commentary; the bitter indictment of the lyrics counterpoint the sunny, clavichord-and-harmonica-fueled melodies. As original, moving, and enjoyable today as it was on its release, TALKING BOOK is one of Stevie's finest moments, ranking just behind his masterpieces INNERVISIONS and SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE.