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    Stevie Wonder

    Up-Tight 7 ( 1966 )
    Before The Love a Go Go / Hold Me / Blowin' in the Wind / Nothing's Too Good For My Baby / Teach Me Tonight / Uptight (Everything's Alright) / Ain't That Asking for Trouble / I Want My Baby Back / Pretty Little Angel / Music Talk / Contract on Love / With a Child's Heart

    Only two of 'little' Stevie Wonder's singles had made the Top 40 of Billboard and the still only fifteen year old Wonder was in trouble. The title track here 'Up-Tight' changed all that and Wonder at least co-wrote the song and Berry Gordy (Motown honcho) was pleased once more. The attendant album reached number 33 on the album charts and Stevie Wonder was well on his way to becoming the acclaimed album artist we all know him for being today. The attendant sleeve-notes may well have noted Wonder's debt to Ray Charles but this is where he started to move away from that. Well, 'Up-Tight' is still very typical of a mid-sixties motown LP effort. The artist in question gets a few co-writes and the Motown Family attend to the rest. Stevie was a multi-instrumentalist however and also began to take more of an interest in recording techniques. Although this was far from being his debut album, it's where I sense a sensible jumping on point. A few of the Motown legends involved in the creation of this LP then - Benny Benjamin, Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland, James Jamerson, Eddie Kendricks, Clarence Paul, Levi Stubbs, Mike Valvano and producer/Composer Norman Whitfield.

    Add Bob Dylan. Well, Wonder covers 'Blowin' In The Wind' to try and acheive some crossover success and creates a quite lovely soul-take on this folk-classic. The title track itself needs little introduction, although the classic motown rhythm section give it one anyway, of course. Stevie's maturing vocal chords tear through the track and joining 'Up-Tight' in the upbeat, immense vocal chord stakes are 'Nothing Too Good For My Baby', a close cousin of 'Up-Tight' itself along with 'Love A Go Go' of course, although that has a mellower vocal - still a great track, mind you. Vintage Motown, you've got to love it really, haven't you? 'Music Talk' is an angry grind and features brass and Stevie's harmonica. 'Pretty Little Angel' in amongst of all this sounds like it was recorded years earlier, someone can let me know if it was or not. It's fairly typical to expect some filler on a sixties Motown LP, at any rate. Overall, a decent set that's not great for Motown of the era but it's above average and that'll do for Stevie for now - more exciting things were to come, particularly from his own writing efforts.

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    this page last updated 04/07/10


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