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Stevie Wonder – Innervisions

After writing my last post, I really wanted to write about Stevie Wonder’s Album Innervisions. Innervisions was the second in a four-album stretch that is unmatched in my opinion. (Talking Book, Innervisions, Fulfillingness’ First Finale and Songs in the Key of Life)

Too High – This is a song about drug abuse. It ends with a great dueling harmonicas solo.
Visions – This is now a classic introspective slow tune. It is about equality and fairness. The simplicity of the music with two guitars and a stand-up bass. This may be Stevie’s best vocal track.
Living for the City – There is nothing that I really need to say about this song. I would point out that this is the first tune that I can remember having a great bass line but no bass. Stevie is playing the bass line with a synthesizer. It is also the first song I can remember that has that interlude with the man in the song getting thrown in jail. The social statement that this song is making can’t be missed.
Golden Lady – This is a very interesting tune. Stevie starts out with a dramatic piano intro which dissolves into a very light bass line with Stevie playing the high hat. This is a nice smooth love song. It is clearly a forerunner to some of the sappy tunes that he would go on to produce in about another decade.
Higher Ground – This is kind of a religious tune. It has a great infectious groove that is played on the synthesizer. It is about doing better and getting to your higher ground. I truly love this tune.
Jesus Children of America – This is definitely a religious tune. Like several other tunes on this album, Stevie discusses drug abuse and false idols that don’t really relieve the pain or enrich the spirit. The mood changes in this tune are fabulous. It is the vocals, the words, that I truly love in this tune. “Tell me, Junkie. If you are able, Are you playing your cards on the table? Are you happy when you stick a needle in your vein?” The tune by the end has a gospel feel without being a gospel tune. This is one of my favorite Stevie Wonder tunes of all time.
All in Love is Fair – Great love song. This is basically Stevie, a bass line, a piano and drums. (Stevie is playing everything except the bass) Stevie’s vocals are so pure.
Don’t You Worry ’bout a Thing – To me, one of the great things about Stevie is that he has never been afraid to be playful. This tune is fun, light and easy to shake your booty to.
He’s Missta Know-It-All – This tune seems a little out of place on this album. It is a nice tune about guys who are too slick. The music is okay. To be honest, I don’t understand why this tune on this album. It just seems a little out of place.

Stevie plays almost all of the instruments and sings all of the vocals.

By |2013-03-31T12:01:06-04:00March 31st, 2013|Music|Comments Off on Stevie Wonder – Innervisions

Teddy Pendergrass

This is Soul Train version of Teddy P’s Love TKO.  I think that Love TKO shows the power and smoothness of Teddy’s voice. Close the Door is another great tune (see below). Teddy was a staple in the late ’70s and early ’80s. If you were throwing a party and needed a slow tune, you could throw on some Isleys, Luther or Teddy.

When I think of Teddy P’s life, I’m kind of sad. He was a hit with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. Then he exploded in his solo career. He had that Philly sound. (Think O’Jays.) He was about to enjoy some of the crossover success that Lionel Richie and Jeffery Osborne (and Michael, of course) enjoyed in the early ’80s. In 1982, he had a near fatal motor vehicle crash, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. He returned to the stage, but it was never the same.

From RS:

Teddy Pendergrass, one of the most successful R&B singers of the 1970s and ’80s, passed away yesterday after a battle with colon cancer. He was 59. Pendergrass was diagnosed with cancer last year and had a difficult time recovering from surgery; he died at Bryn Mawr Hospital outside of his native Philadelphia, ABC News reports. The five-time Grammy-nominated singer had chart-topping hits in three different decades with 1978’s “Close the Door,” 1988’s “Joy” and 1991’s “It Should’ve Been You,” plus well-known songs like “Love TKO,” “Two Hearts” with Stephanie Mills and “Hold Me,” a duet with Whitney Houston that featured on Houston’s 1985 debut album.

Remembering Teddy Pendergrass: photos of the smooth soul singer.

Pendergrass’ rise to international fame was briefly halted after he was involved in a 1982 car crash that left him in the hospital for six months and paralyzed from the waist down, but he didn’t let the accident prevent him from making music. “He had about 10 platinum albums in a row, so he was a very, very successful recording artist and as a performing artist,” Pendergrass’ friend and collaborator Kenny Gamble, of Gamble & Huff, told the AP. “He had a tremendous career ahead of him, and the accident sort of got in the way of many of those plans.” (more… )

JJP has more.

By |2010-01-14T23:09:55-04:00January 14th, 2010|Music|Comments Off on Teddy Pendergrass
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