Wednesday 23 August 2023

5 Songs About: Stevie Wonder covers

It feels like a while since we prepped one of these 5 Songs About... lists so we thought we'd introduce a brief covers series looking at some inspired cover versions from the catalogues of our heroes.  Who better to kick this off with than the music of the inimitable Stevie Wonder - surely one of the most covered, remixed and sampled artists of all time, we've picked five gems from artists keen to pay appropriate tribute to one of soul music's revered icons...  

1. 'Creepin' by Jessie Fischer featuring Jaime Woods (2018)

With several Stevie Wonder covers under his belt - including renditions of 'I Can't Help' and 'My Cherie Amour' - Jessie Fischer delivers a wonderful take on 'Creepin' from Wonder's 1974 album, 'Fulfillingness' First Finale'.  Housed on Fischer's covers project 'Flipped II', which also includes covers of Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, the track features an excellent vocal contribution from Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, Jaime Woods.

2. 'Uptight' by Dojo Cuts (2009)

The Sydney-based funk & soul collective Dojo Cuts unveiled a definitive classic with their self-titled debut release through Italy's Record Kicks.  To be fair, the group's follow-up 'Take From Me' was every bit the masterpiece this one was but the band's cover of Wonder's 'Uptight' from the debut is what we're focusing on here.  As one of the leading voices from the class of contemporary soul music from any corner of the world, the fantastic Roxie Ray consistently injects so much charisma and personality into her performances that she totally makes this track her own.  And with the rich and raw performances of the brilliant Dojo Cuts backing, this is a cover everyone should own.

3. 'Knocks Me Off My Feet' by Big Beat Big Band (2020)

From the debut project by the New Jersey-based, nineteen-member ensemble known as the Big Beat Big Band, this take on what is likely the definitive Stevie Wonder song is sublime and understated until the collective build to a blissful crescendo in the song's latter half.  From the band's aptly-titled 'Sounds Good, Feels Good' full-length, the project also includes covers of music from the Jackson 5 and Jill Scott, all sung beautifully by vocalist Allison McKenzie and performed flawlessly by the masterful performers.

4. 'All I Do' by Julius Rodriguez featuring Mariah Cameron (2022)

Penned by Stevie Wonder and released on his 'Hotter Than July' album in 1980, this is a song that has seen its fair share of covers from the northern soul classic by Tammi Terrell to the late-90s/early-00s R&B interpretation of vocalist Marc Dorsey.  For this stunning take on the track, we have the prodigal talents of pianist, drummer and composer Julius Rodriguez with a track from his Verve Recordings debut, 'Let Sound Tell All', and featuring a glorious vocal from Mariah Cameron which will certainly rank as high as any rendition of this song you could compare it to.

5. 'If You Really Love Me' by The M19s Band (2020)

Helmed by legendary DJs and broadcasters, Stretch & Bobbito, the album 'No Requests' was created to pay due reverence to their years within the industry and homage to some of their most influential artists and records from deep within their crates.  Serving as another cherished Stevie Wonder recording - originally released in 1971 as a single from 'Where I'm Coming From' - The M19s Band flit through the ten track selection for 'No Requests' performing them with sensational energy, skill and some incredible vocal performances.

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