Perhaps it's hard to imagine nowadays, but back in 1965 the "Uptight" single, the song around which this album was built, was a kind of comeback for Stevie Wonder (formerly with 'Little' prefixed to it).
Since the live version of "Fingertips Pt. 2", there had been no more major hits for the child prodigy, but luckily intervention came by in the guise of Sylvia Moy, co-writer and (un-credited) producer for "Uptight", who helped Wonder get back on track, until his popularity as an album artist really took off in the early-70's.
In several ways, Up-Tight
is the perfect example of a 1960's Motown album, containing the classic sonic palette and vibe of the most successful music factory of its era, but also containing its main deficiencies, the main one being that it's too formulaic. Because Berry Gordy set an immensely high standard for the 'hits' his writers had to come up with, he also milked those winners for all they were worth.
is no different, as it's a cash-in on the success of the title track and - to a lesser degree - "Nothing's Too Good for My Baby" (a rip-off if there's ever been one) and "Ain't That Asking for Trouble".
The risk of releasing too much material is of course that you'll rip yourself off, which is the case with "Love a Go Go", which blatantly cops the horn melody from the 1964 hit "Dancing in the Street" by Martha & The Vandellas. "Uptight" still stands proudly among many other tracks from that era though - the time when Motown reached its peak (1966 also brought "Tracks of My Tears" by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" by The Temptations, and "Reach Out, I'll Be There" by The Four Tops).
by Reviewer: Guy Peters
(blogging at Guy's Music Review Site