For me the musical development of Stevie Wonder can be broken down into certain phases. There is the initial stuff that he did in 1961-1968. There was a brief transition period through a few albums before his post-Motown-Machine era saw him catapult himself into music legendary status with his train track of successful albums from 1972-1981. Then there was the phase from ironically his biggest selling solo hit ‘I Just Called To Say I Love You’ until now. That era has seen him try out a few things on albums but never again hit the creative and commercial heights of his 70’s material.
Despite never hitting those heights, I’ve had patience with the stuff he came out with in the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s. It’s his 60’s stuff that would see me give the brother short shrift. With the exception of a few tracks like My Cherie Amour, most his material of the time I condemned as the pap pop stuff that Motown were producing to meet the demand they created.
Good thing I didn’t write it all off. A typical Stevie pop tune of the 60’s was the tune above that quite a number of other artists appreciated to the point of covering it even the Queen Aretha gave it a bash. It’s not an awful tune, by any stretch of the imagination, but it is pop at it’s poppiest.
The reason why I’m glad I didn’t reject it is because of this live version of the track that highlighted more of the groove that makes the song so catchy. It’s as if when doing it live Stevie can throw in some of the elements that made it more than simple pop and gave it some of that feel that would make you swing like it’s the 60’s or throw down the groove like it’s Soul Train in the 70’s. If only the brother could do that with some of his other 60’s stuff. Enjoy.