And with one walk and two crushed lemon bars later I’m settling down with HRH to listen to some records and laze out downstairs with our books (Me: the incredible true story of combat and chivalry in the war-torn skies of World War II ‘A Higher Call‘ by Adam Makos, Her: the triumphant tale regarding the harrowing trials and tribulations associated with being a juvenile pussy, ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid‘, by Jeff Kinne). We’re kick-starting Vinyl Sunday (our first in a while) by finishing off listening to a record that we actually started last night while visiting with Uncle Lance and Auntie Amy, ‘Songs In the Key of Life‘ by Stevie Wonder.
While I recognize Stevie Wonder as a musical genius and awe inspiring performer, I admit to not really “getting it”; hence the absence in this blog (until now) of Boogie’s kid wonder. I accept full responsibility. Auntie Amy, however, loves Stevie. He’s easily one of her favorites (if the sheer glow she gives off whenever she talk about him is a anything to go by); herself being a big fan of the funk. So Stevie was and, as it is again today, what’s on the turntable currently.
‘Songs in the Key of Life‘ (1976) was Stevie Wonder’s longest, arguably the most ambitious collection of songs to date, a double LP set that – just as the title promised – touched on nearly every issue under the sun and did it all with ambitious, wide-ranging arrangements and some of the best performances of Wonder’s career. For example, ‘Village Ghetto Land‘ is a a fierce exposé of ghetto neglect all set to a satirical Baroque synthesizer and ‘Sir Duke‘, well, it’s pure silk. Then there’s the lesser known (to me, anyway) songs like ‘Love’s In Need of Love Today‘, ‘Have a Talk With God‘, and ‘Black Man‘ all of which contain tight rhythms and funky arrangements, both original and a perfect blend of R&B and old school) funk that I could help but to sing along to. I admit it openly and without shame. I also admit to immediately thinking “Hey, it’s this a Coolio song?” as soon as ‘Pastime Paradise‘ came on. Hey, I can’t know everything can I? ‘I Wish‘ and ‘Knocks Me Off my Feet‘ were nice surprises as well. Actually, ‘Knocks Me Off my Feet‘ was just about my most favoritest songs I’ve heard by Motown’s golden boy. Maybe there is something to this whole Stevie Wonder thing.
Even HRH is captivated and THAT says a lot.
The album eventually became among the best-selling and most critically acclaimed albums of his career. In 2005, it was ranked #57 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In the same year it was preserved into the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress, which called it:
“…culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
Yup. That about sums it up.
Great addition to HRH‘s record collection as well as a perfect touching stone in her on-going exposure to new music.
Thank you, Aunt Amy!