Stevie Wonder – Fulfillingness’ First Finale (Gold CD)

We receive a number of different reissues at NeuFutur. Many of them deal with the ephemera (pictures, lost tracks, live performers) from a particular era in the musician’s life. However, Audio Fidelity’s release of this slept-on Wonder classic has no additional tracks or other aural (or visual) goo-gahs. Rather, what the company has done here has provided listeners with the most clear and crisp recording of a Wonder album that I have ever heard.

While listeners will be able to hear the difference from the a vinyl copy or the 2000 remaster of the title even on a pair of iPod headphones, the differences become much more clear when listeners play this disc on their home system. Where fans may kick the disc over to a groovier track like “Boogie On Reggae Woman”, I found myself comparing versions of “Too Shy To Say”. With the track relying more on the interplay between the music and silence, the clarification of the Audio Fidelity version becomes much clearer. Listeners would do well also to listen to “Fullfillingness’” final track, “Please Don’t Go”. While a “Too Shy To Say” or “It Ain’t No Use” are great in that they showcase the musical side of Wonder, I contend that the much more vocal-heavy “Too Shy To Say” has had its landscape changed the most by Audio Fidelity’s version. On previous editions of the track, it always felt as if there were some aural artifacts holding back Wonder’s voice. On the 2011 version, I can hear myself standing in the recording booth with Wonder – no limitation of the recording process is present.

The small cost increase of this 24Kt-gold remaster over other versions of this album is nothing compared to the difference in each cut over all extant versions. If you would like to hear “Fulfillingness’ First Finale” as Mr. Wonder intended it, go to your local well-stocked music store and pick up this disc today.

Top Tracks: Heaven Is 10 Zillion Light Years Away, Boogie On Reggae Woman

Rating: 9.5/10

Stevie Wonder – Fulfillingness’ First Finale (CD) / 2011 Audio Fidelity / 10 Tracks / http://www.audiofidelity.net

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University.

I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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