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Soul Express Album Review


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STARPOINT:
All Night Long

Dutch Vinyl Masterpiece, 2005
Bring Your Sweet Lovin’ Back – Get Your Body Up – All Night Long – Show Me – I Like It – I Can Give You Love – Miracle Love – It’s You

Here I am, February 2006 and I would say that although there appears to be a fantastic start to the new year apropos new material, my record deck and CD player seems to be stuck in the 1979 – 1982 period at the moment. It also helps when companies as good as Vinyl Masterpiece do the decent thing and release in-demanders from quality groups such as Starpoint. I have always loved Starpoint, whether it is for the delicious vocals of the late, great Renee Diggs, the production of Lionel Job, or the classy tight musicianship of the Phillips brothers. "All Night Long" is a seminal 1982 effort that was released on Chocolate City and did really well on the rare groove / boogie circuits in the late 80s and early 90s.

The inclusion of "All Night Long" on the US Mercury compilation "Love’s Train" back in 1995 was welcome, as was the release of "Bring Your Sweet Lovin’ Back" on BBE’s excellent " Strange Games & Things" compilation. This is all well and good, but you can’t beat the proper album. As with the superb Rick Smith set, this has been lovingly remastered from vinyl and in the main you would not even know. The quality is second to none, and the artwork especially so. No cutting of corners here, I promise you. What also appeals to me is that you can buy this fantastic album on crackle-free CD for a fraction of the price of the original vinyl, and in my books that’s a jolly good thing. I have already mentioned a few songs, but some may not be overly – if at all – familiar with them. This needs to be rectified right NOW. If you have a special place in your heart for happy, carefree midtempo soul music from the early 80s then this is a must for you.

What better cut than of "Bring Your Sweet Lovin’ Back" to open up this album? The happy beat, the sexy, sensuous vocals, powerful in places and worthy of a round of applause from the likes of Randy Muller, the song caresses the ears, fills the heart of gets the feet moving. I am in no doubt that this is a classic serving of 80s soul and is as fresh today as it was back in 1982. This song renders the CD as essential alone in isolation, but the fact that the album boasts more such pleasures should be enough for anyone of sound musical taste to get this into their collection ASAP.

The more mechanical groove and funky licker, "Get Your Body Up" is unrepentantly party time soul and does little to take prisoners. This is rather in line with what the Dazz Band were doing at the time. Track three really is the scene-stealer. If you are looking for a track that sums up the most elegent, sophisticated of tracks from this halcyon period, then I suggest "All Night Long" is definitely it. From the offset the memorable bassline and drum, warm Rhodes and strings set the tone for nearly 6 minutes of pure soul heaven. My God, I wish they made music like this today. Never mind – on with the review!

If you like the funky groove laid down on the Temptations "Standing On The Top" by Rick James, then you should also appreciate the excellent funkers, "Show Me" and "I Like It". Check out that funky guitar and freaky keyboards. Oh yes, I like this!!! The next downtempo offering on from "All Night Long" is called "I Can Give You Love" and features male vocal this time around – very good it is too, as is the closing string-filled duet number "It’s You". There isn’t really a duff track on here, and the uptempo "Miracle Love" is also good. This is an essential purchase and I cannot recommend it enough. Do not let this slip away! -Barry Towler


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