From the first, gliding notes of “You Are the Sunshine of My Life,” Talking Book pulls us into its current of creative momentum. Whether in the breezy rhythms of “Lookin’ for Another Pure Love” or the dirty, sticky stomp of “Superstition,” Stevie Wonder fully inhabits and magnifies every mood. Armed with an arsenal of newfangled keyboard tones, he duels Ray Parker, Jr. on “Maybe Your Baby,” a sublime fusion of hard rock and roiling funk. Wonder’s exuberant hunger to savor all styles only makes the plaintive tenderness of “You and I” more arresting.
Talking Book (1972) is simply one of the greatest albums of all-time. While his later efforts Innervisions (1973) and Songs in the Key of Life (1976) often receive more acclaim, this LP is right there — in fact, all 3 albums are listed within the top 100 spots on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All-Time” List. It represents Wonder taking motown new…