Hang out with those hoodlum friends of mine....
Released September 1976
Recorded in Los Angeles and New York City
Beloved of all the girls I was at school with, 1976’s double album from Stevie Wonder, was, despite accusations of bloatedness (that, to be honest, haunt every double album) his crowning achievement.Firstly, I have to say that the sound on this remaster is SUPERB - clear, sharp and bassy at the same time. Beautiful. Just what this great album deserves.
1. Love's In Need Of Love Today
2. Have A Talk With God
3. Village Ghetto Land
5. Sir Duke
6. I Wish
7. Knocks Me Off My Feet
8. Pastime Paradise
9. Summer Soft
10. Ordinary Pain
11. Isn't She Lovely
12. Joy Inside My Tears
13. Black Man
14. Ngiculela-Es Una Historia-I Am Singing
15. If It's Magic
17. Another Star
19. Ebony Eyes
20. All Day Sucker
21. Easy Goin' Evening (My Mama's Call)
Packed with classics, of course - the funky “I Wish”; the sheer fun of “Sir Duke”; the later to be sampled “Pastime Paradise” and the monumental “As”, with its wonderful funky second half. There are also other wonderful tracks too - the funky instrumental “Contusion”; the “Talking Book” Stevie of “Love’s In Need Of Love Today” the smooth soul of “If It’s Magic” and “Summer Soft”. The funky second half of “Ordinary Pain”. Then "Joy Inside My Tears” and “Black Man”. They are all excellent. All of them. Even the harmonica solo that ends the otherwise schmaltzy “Isn’t She Lovely”.
The extra tracks included on the old bonus 45 single are good too, particularly the dreamy “Saturn” and the funk of “All Day Sucker”.
The “single album would have been better” argument always prevails with double albums. Always has. Personally I am happy to listen to the whole lot.
Although my favourite Stevie Wonder album is “Innervisions”, you simply can’t deny what an achievement this was. It never got any better than this.