Monday, September 28, 2015

Midnight Star - The Beginning

This month marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of The Beginning, appropriately enough the debut album from Midnight Star. The group got its start when friends began playing together while at Kentucky State University in 1976. This 1980 release came out on Solar Records, home of a number of R&B acts during that decade.

Side one starts with "Keep the Spirits High", an up-tempo dance groove with an inspirational message. The band really jams on this one, with plenty of solos throughout.

The second single from the album was "You're the Star", a mid-tempo tune with a slinky, funky rhythm. Here, a guy invite a lady to hit the dance floor with him which will put her in the spotlight.

"Follow the Path", the B-side to the first single, is next. Belinda Lipscomb takes lead vocals with this devotional song.

The funk is back with the side closer "Set Me On Fire". This one smolders on a steady, lower flame.

"Make It Last", the lead single, kicks off side two. It peaked at number 85 on the US Billboard R&B chart. The album version runs a full seven minutes in length, giving the band room to keep the party going.

"Searching For Love" makes its first recorded appearance on this album. The band would later re-record it for their sixth studio album, 1986's Headlines, and that is the one I was most familiar. Still, I think the song was pretty solidly formed even in this earliest incarnation.

The closing track is "Two In Love" brings us back around to another up-tempo dance tune.

I knew Midnight Star from a number of their albums from the middle of the 80's. However, The Beginning was not one I had been exposed to until last year. The arrangements are rich and layered, and the vocal harmonies are pleasing. For me, the songs have a late 70's R&B vibe to them (which I enjoy).

For more from Midnight Star, click here.

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