Friday, 6 March 2009

Starvue - Upward Bound - 1980 - Midwest International

This album has always been highly sought after and in the late 80s was changing money for stupid, stupid money. The reason for this was one track, namely "Body Fusion", a track that was set free by Kiss FM on their excellent "Boogie Tunes Vol. 2" compilation. This is a killer slice of midtempo boogie and remains a killer tune to this very day, as you will gather from the sound clip below. The group only made one release on the tiny Midwest International label in 1980 before disappearing into obscurity which is a shame. the group offered much and I fear were a victim of the burgeoning electronic switchover that tripped up many traditional self contained combos. The group consisted of Keith Blake, Judy Davis, Andre Morgan, Anthony Hicks, Burton Fowler, Lester Falconer, Victor Hughes and Larry Horne. The album, too had much more to offer than said "Body Fusion" and on it's CD release in Japan scored big points with me for supplying us with a bonus, previously unreleased track!

The original 7 track LP can be purchased at a fraction of it's Rare Groove heyday asking price, and the CD can still be located if you look hard enough. Whichever format you can lay your hands on you will be very pleased with your purchase. "Body Fusion" was a popular tune amongst reggae fans, as it happens, due to the deep underpinning bassline, and one can see why. It's a monster track, enough said. The spangly guitar rhythm-led "Love Affair" weighs in at a whopping 7:08 and if you are into groups such as Splendor who were about at that time then this will be much to your liking. Vocally we're in Modulations sort of territory. "Put The BS Aside" has a telling title and is much more smooth with strings and horns - a slight late-70s Mizell Brothers edge that gives it a real edge over the other cuts. The real winner, though, appeared on the CD reissue, and that is the SUPERB "Let's Hold On To What We Got". This ballad really is the business, the bluesy Eric Gale-ish guitar, swirling strings and Beau Willaims type vocal make this a much sought after song. The backing music and vocals are very much what we would have expected from the Michael Stokes camp at this time, perhaps even Enchantment or Fatback. Not as easy to come by, but if you see it GRAB IT!

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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