Sunday, 7 October 2018

Stevie Wonder - I Was Made To Love Her (1967)

Everybody needs somebody....


Released August 1967

Recorded in Detroit

Another year older, another album from the now seventeen year-old Stevie Wonder. Another one with excellent stereo sound too.


1. I Was Made To Love Her
2. Send Me Some Lovin'
3. I'd Cry
4. Everybody Needs Somebody (I Need You)
5. Respect
6. My Girl
7. Baby Don't You Do It
8. A Fool For You
9. Can I Get A Witness
10. I Pity The Fool
11. Please, Please, Please
12. Every Time I See You I Go Wild                    

The title track was a catchy hit single guaranteed to chart and "Send Me Some Lovin'" had a great bass line and catchy refrain. The same applied to the very typically-Motown upbeat, pulsating "I'd Cry". It is full of that pounding drum sound, sumptuous bass and Stevie's harmonica. "Everybody Needs Somebody (I Need You)" has a great guitar riff at the beginning and a bit of a Northern Soul feel about it when it kicks in.

So far on this album, there hasn't been a cover version, which was unusual for a Motown album of the time, but there were a few to come. The first was Aretha Franklin's "Respect". Sung by a seventeen year-old boy, it didn't quite have the same effect. The brief harmonica solo redeems it slightly. The Temptations' "My Girl" is dealt with more than competently and suits him far more, obviously.

"Baby Don't You Do It" is one of the best tracks on the album - a muscular, thumping, bassy and soulful grinder. It has an intoxicating drum and bass interplay solo part near the end, which is a great bit. "A Fool For You" is a delicious slice of piano-driven gospelly soul. These two have been excellent songs. Marvin Gaye's "Can I Get A Witness" is a convincing cover, slightly slowed-down from Gaye's frantic original. "I Pity The Fool" is a quality bluesy number. The horn-driven blues continues on "Please Please Please". The Four Tops-esque "Every Time I See You I Go Wild" was another excellent cut, covered by Northern Soul artist J. J. Barnes as well. Wonder's version is the superior one, though, largely due to the backing. Sublime rumbling bass and buzzsaw guitar on it. Fantastic sound reproduction too.

This is actually a thoroughly credible album, which was not always the case with sixties Motown albums. Stevie Wonder was starting to set out his stall as a serious artist who released quality albums as well as hit singles.


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