How many times do you hear a song credited to someone and you have to listen carefully to find where they are? Usually, people who sing are heard handling the lead vocal. Instrumentalists are heard playing their instrument. In some cases, a name serves as a figurehead, such as those albums credited to Quincy Jones. In Jones’ case, especially on his R&B albums, he is given credit for production and arrangements, but rarely ever performs on any of the songs.
Today’s song serves up one of those mysteries. The song “Love Has Come Around” was a popular R&B and dance song back in 1981. It was credited to Donald Byrd & 125th Street, N.Y.C. To this day, I’m not sure who or what was 125th Street, N.Y.C., but Donald Byrd, I am familiar with. A jazz trumpeter who was one of the finer practitioners of what was considered hard bop jazz in the 1950s and 1960s, Byrd switched to jazz funk music in the early 70’s as fusion became popular. By the end of the decade his music, which was considered innovative in the early part of the decade, started to slide toward disco in some cases. This was one of those R&B/dance records that came from his 125th Street N.Y.C. phase.
“Love Has Come Around” is today’s Morning Groove.
As for the mystery in this record, the only way you can tell Byrd is on it is that he might be part of the horn section. There are no trumpet solos on this song; just horn lines straight out of the Earth, Wind & Fire playbook. Byrd was never much of a singer, and though there are vocals on this song, I’d be hard pressed to believe he is singing, unless he is in the chorus sections. Credit (or blame) for making one of the great trumpet players of the era disappear from his own song goes to Isaac Hayes, who was sitting in the producer’s chair for this track. The song sounds great, much like a Hayes song from that era, but you wonder if Byrd had second thoughts about putting his name on a track where he really doesn’t feature.
Despite Byrd’s disappearing act (if he was truly disappeared), I love this song. I play it from time to time to remind me of an era gone by, but mostly to thrill to that beat and those horn lines. It sounds much like a dance/R&B track would sound in 1981, but this song is truly a producer’s record more than an artist’s one. While this may not be up there on a level with his early 70s output, it’s still good to me.
I hope you enjoy “Love Has Come Around,” and as always thanks for reading and listening.