Daily Dose: ‘Master Blaster (Jammin)’ by Stevie Wonder

Boy, does Stevie Wonder have some cracking tunes. This is a blindingly obvious statement: the man has 25 Grammy Awards (most ever awarded to a male solo artist) and has sold over 100 million records worldwide, but it’s worth reminding ourselves of the fact sometimes, especially if like me, you come from a background that didn’t result in a lot of exposure to soulful pop music. Or reggae, in this instance – released in 1980 following a slight dip after his 70’s heyday (for the record, ‘Superstition’ came out in 1972 and ‘Living for the City’ in 1973). This song is a pretty obvious tribute to Bob Marley, who Wonder had been performing live with in the US. There’s also some “children of Jah” and Zimbabwe civil war references in there as well, to heavily date the song. It’s from an album called Hotter than July, (29th September, 1980) mentioned in the song as well, which clearly makes no sense whatsoever as a July is not a unit of heat measurement. Also, the album was released in September, further confusing the issue. However, it did mark the start of his campaign for Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday to become a national holiday, which was a fantastic cause and a brilliant legacy for the album. Song’s pretty tasty, as well, with that simple yet excellent bass line being fed into by a sneaky drum fill, all leading to one of the catchier starts to a Wonder song. Plus, always happy to see more songs about jam making, that’s an under filled musical niche.

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