Stevie Wonder, McCoy Tyner & More: My Albums of the Week #35

I would consider myself an “albums guy” and my taste in music is very varied. In this new feature, I list the albums that I listened to most intensely during the week. The list will include albums old and new, and the number of albums listened to every week will most likely vary on a week-to-week basis.

STEVIE WONDER
In a Square Circle
Tamla, 1985 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

TRACKLIST (favorite tracks underlined): 1 – Part-Time Lover // 2 – I Love You Too Much // 3 – Whereabouts // 4 – Stranger on the Shore of Love // 5 – Never in Your Sun // 6 – Spiritual Walkers // 7 – Land of La La // 8 – Go Home // 9 – Overjoyed // 10 – It’s Wrong (Apartheid)

I find the criticism towards this album very unfounded. Any album featuring “Overjoyed” in its ranks is worth the respect. I also don’t find its production particularly outdated, as many have pointed out. On the contrary, while this may not be Stevie Wonder’s masterpiece, it does show that for several decades, he could make popular music without compromising his identity and personal style, with lots of melody and groove.

 

NUBIYAN TWIST
Freedom Fables
Strut, 2021 ⭐⭐⭐

TRACKLIST (favorite tracks underlined): 1 – Morning Light // 2 – Tittle Tattle // 3 – Ma Wonka // 4 – Buckle Up // 5 – Keeper // 6 – If I Know // 7 – Flow // 8 – 24-7 // 9 – Wipe Away Tears

Nubiyan Twist have established a pretty original sound and blend of multi-cultural influences over their lifespan. There are some really exciting Afrobeat numbers on this release too. However, I find the LP presents more content than substance. The compositional quality is lower than their previous efforts.

 

McCOY TYNER
Asante
Blue Note, 1974 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

TRACKLIST (favorite tracks underlined): 1 – Malika // 2 – Asante // 3 – Goin’ Home // 4 – Fulfillment

One of the finer known blends of post-bop and spiritual jazz. Interesting to note that McCoy Tyner had apparently reached a lull in his career before this album came out. Perhaps Asante showcases the process of soul-searching it took to make the music come to life, and is an important ingredient to its vitality and beauty.

 

ROGÉR FAKHR
Fine Anyway
Habibi Funk, 2021 ⭐⭐⭐

TRACKLIST (favorite tracks underlined): 1 – Lady Rain // 2 – Insomnia Blue // 3 – Fine Anyway // 4 – Express Line // 5 – My Baby, She Is as Down as I Am // 6 – Everything You Want // 7 – Waiting for it Everyday // 8 – Dancer on the Ceiling // 9 – Sad Sad Song // 10 – Little Women By My Side // 11 – Every Body’s Going Home // 12 – Sitting in the Sun // 13 – Had to Come Back Wet // 14 – The Wizzard // 15 – (Such A) Trip Thru Time // 16 – Keep Going // 17 – Gone Away Again // 18 – Sometimes You Feel

It’s pretty exciting to hear folk-rock from Lebanon from the ’70s being reissued and preserved. I just don’t think the songwriting itself is that impressive. About half the songs are good, the other songs are filler. Some tunes deal with pretty interesting topics, like depression and alcoholism.

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