Various Artists - Edwin Starr EDM DJ Remix Album 2016 (2016)

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Various Artists - Edwin Starr EDM DJ Remix Album 2016

Edwin Starr came to Motown when the label absorbed another Detroit based label called Ric Tic Records in 1968. By that time, Starr already had several hit records and a singing style that would have made him fit in at Motown’s rival for ears of soul music fans – the Memphis based Stax records. The vocal style that Starr honed on Ric Tic yielded hits such as “Agent Double-O Soul,” “Headline News,” and “SOS (Stop Her on Sight). Starr can croon and sing in that signature smooth style that made Motown famous, but he could also shout and endow a tune with the grittiness that would have been right at home down south.

Various Artists - Edwin Starr EDM DJ Remix Album 2016

Edwin Starr came to Motown when the label absorbed another Detroit based label called Ric Tic Records in 1968. By that time, Starr already had several hit records and a singing style that would have made him fit in at Motown’s rival for ears of soul music fans – the Memphis based Stax records. The vocal style that Starr honed on Ric Tic yielded hits such as “Agent Double-O Soul,” “Headline News,” and “SOS (Stop Her on Sight). Starr can croon and sing in that signature smooth style that made Motown famous, but he could also shout and endow a tune with the grittiness that would have been right at home down south.

The grittier road house/church out quality of Starr’s vocals aided him on his two biggest Motown hits, “25 Miles” and “War.” Those two cuts often turn up in commercials, with “25 Miles” being used by Gatorade in Olympics ads. “25 Miles” and “War” were Starr’s last two major crossover hits, but the singer continued to record and sing until his untimely death in 2003. Starr’s soundtrack for the film Hell Up In Harlem is an underappreciated gem that includes lovely ballads such as “Love Never Dies,” tear jerkers like “Mama Should Be Here Too” and the funky “Easin’ In.” He ended the decade of the 1970s with another hidden gem in the disco jam “Contact,” which reached #13 on the Billboard R&B charts.

Starr’s work as a disco king, his work with the Northern Soul label Ric Tic, and his move to England likely made him attractive to the DJ’s who put together the Edwin Starr EDM DJ Remix Album 2016. The project includes several remixes of the song “I’m Scared of Losing You,” and covers of several Starr tunes from his Motown and post-Motown days, including “War.”

The tracks have all of the virtues and vices of EDM music. Cuts such as “And Move,” are high energy and possess the propulsive groove that will drive people to the dance floor. Then too, they can be a little repetitive. The next track, “Beautiful Savior,” the best of the tracks not featuring Starr’s vocals, is a straight up funk gospel song and hearkens back to Starr’s roots in the church. The number features a strong a strong female lead and choral styled backing vocals.

Four of the eight tracks on the Edwin Starr EDM DJ Remix Album 2016 are EDM versions of the same song “I’m Scared of Losing U,” and they are all aided by Starr’s still vibrant and gritty vocal. All of the versions are unique in their own way and they all have their virtues (Starr’s voice), and their vices (that repetitive churning beat). For my money, the duet with a female vocalist is by far the best, while the DJ Prince’s entry that references the keyboard and bass line in D-Train’s “You’re The One For Me” also pleases.

The project could have benefitted by added variety, including tunes from Starr’s work from the 1970s funk and disco era. However, there is more than enough here to drive the primary audience of the Edwin Starr EDM DJ Remix Album 2016 – EDM fans – onto the floor. Moderately Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 
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