As we been working on The Now & Then Show we have been fortunate to listen to many new and classic records. Sometimes we forget some of the masterful works of art that have graced our ears over time. Also, if we know about these classic pieces of art, it is imperative that we “pass the knowledge on”.
Today, I want to discuss Where I’m Coming From by Stevie Wonder. Stevie in my opinion, is a national treasure. His career has spanned six decades and has sold over $100 million albums over this time span. The crazy thing about Where I’m Coming From is that this was the first time we were able to hear Stevie’s inner voice. Motown had a contract with Stevie in which they controlled the content of his records until he reached the age of 21. Stevie, produced and wrote this record and was free to say what he wanted to say.
I’m my opinion, this was the beginning of Stevie’s run of his best works; Music of My Mind (1972), Talking Book (1972), Innervisions (1973), Fullfilingness’ First Finale (1974) and Songs in The Key of Life (1976).
Four of my favorites on this album are the following:
“Think of Me as Your Soldier”, was supposed to be the song that I dedicated to my wife when I got married, but the musician didn’t rehearse it and sang “Ribbon in the Sky” instead. This song is how I personally feel about our relationship.
“If You Really Love Me”, is a classic Stevie song without the use of the synthesizers that we come accustomed hearing from Stevie in his other 70’s works. This song reminds me of my parents for some reason.
“Take Up a Course in Happiness”, has that classic late 60’s soul swing combined with 50’s big band jazz sound. On top of that, the sound becomes more lush as the string arrangements hit the end. I can see Benny Sings taking this approach to composition now.
Lastly, “Never Dreamed You Leave in Summer”, was redone by Common and Lauryn Hill on his third album, “One Day It’ll All Make Sense”. You need to listen to the original though!
I hope you guys enjoy this record as much as I do!