A strange day here on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. From sunshine and 70-degree temperatures early in the afternoon, to near-freezing temps and possible snow flurries (!) overnight. That makes for a pretty cool morning today. Winter may not officially be here yet, but it feels like it.
When it’s that cold, and you have to get moving, it helps to have a song that puts you in the right frame of mind. This being Smooth Jazz Sunday, I’m going with a song that has become something of a genre standard. Today’s Smooth Jazz Sunday song is “Always There” by Ronnie Laws.
“Always There” was written by the artist and Wayne Jeffery, and was on Laws’ debut album Pressure Sensitive, which was released in 1975. The song and album was produced by Wayne Henderson, a member of the legendary soul-jazz band The Crusaders. Laws comes from a musical family: his older brother Hubert is himself a fusion/smooth jazz artist, as well as a session musician; his sisters Eloise and Debra both have had songs make the R&B chart, as has Ronnie. This song made it to #45 on the R&B chart in 1976. Laws was a member of an early version of Earth, Wind & Fire, and played on the group’s 1972 release Last Days And Time before pursuing a solo career.
Not too long after the song charted, a version with lyrics was done by the vocal group Side Effect that made it to #56 later in 1976. Since then, both the original instrumental version and the vocal version have been covered by other artists; the instrumental by Jeff Lorber, Avenue Blue featuring Jeff Golub, and as recently as 2013 by Dave Koz (with friends Gerald Albright, Mindi Abair and Richard Elliot under the moniker Dave Koz and Friends); and the vocal version was covered by Incognito with Jocelyn Brown (“Somebody Else’s Guy”) in 1992. Feel free to check out the links to those other versions.
I hope you enjoy today’s Smooth Jazz Sunday song, and thanks for reading and listening.