As part of a new series of features uncovering lost, classic and must have records from the crates it seemed only natural to initiate proceedings by dedicating this first column to the unbelievable ‘Upward Bound’ album by Starvue; read on to discover a crate diggers insight into this Holy Grail of heavenly soul.
It was back in December 2008 in a dimly lit and thoroughly filthy basement in the southern reaches of Greece, when looking through a stockpile of old records that I unexpectedly came across an original copy of Starvue’s highly sought after ‘Upward Bound’ LP. As most collectors will relate to digging for vintage vinyl can on many levels be like looking for a needle in a haystack but that’s luckily not the case when it comes to Starvue’s debut, since if you do happen to spot a rare copy, its garishly kitsch cover is certain to catch the eye of even the most unsuspecting record buyer.
Yet despite external aesthetics this album is fully justified as a soul-disco Holy Grail; it was recorded in Chicago back in 1980, produced by Clarence Johnson of Chi-Lites fame and was released on the privately owned Midwest International Records imprint. Starvue members included: Keith Blake, Judy Davis, Andre Morgan, Anthony Hicks, Burton Fowler, Lester Falconer III, Victor Hughes and Larry Horner. The album kicks off with the blissful soul disco stomper ‘Upward Bound’ which gives the listener a good idea of what they’re in for: ‘We can take you higher, we can take you higher’ is the refrain you’ll hear repeated throughout the cut. The following track, ‘Love Affair’, is one of the album’s most played out tracks – featuring a driving bass line, beautifully soulful vocals and a tight rhythm section; ‘Body Fusion’ is the album’s most celebrated track meanwhile, a two step classic very popular in the 80s British Soul scene. The B-side opens up with the self titled ‘Starvue’ an up-tempo blissful dancer, followed by the down tempo groover ‘Put the BS Aside’; ‘Love Struck’ and ‘You and Me’ conclude beautifully an album that literally has no fillers! An original copy of this album is still in huge demand, is notoriously difficult to come by and can be sold for up to 100 US dollars on online auction sites such as eBay. That said the record was re-issued on CD by the ever reliable P-Vine records from Japan back in 2004, so if you simply want to experience the sweet sounds of Starvue it is possible to grab yourself a copy without getting your hands, knees and clothes dusty!