Welcome to the third edition of the Sunday Slow Jams, where I try to create my version of a Quiet Storm broadcast. What you will find here, for those who haven’t seen or read the first two editions, is a playlist of songs that you might find playing on a slow jam program, most commonly heard on R&B stations.
This week’s program features a few members of the Laws family, out of Houston, Texas. Many of the artists in the family came to fame during the 1970s. I picked three of the four notable artists in this family for inclusion in today’s mix. Oldest brother Hubert (who isn’t included) made his name in fusion starting in the late 60s, and became better known during the 70s as a sideman, and his own work, primarily on the flute, though he played saxophone as well. He is well renowned for his versatility, playing classical, jazz and R&B music with equal skill.
As for the three found here, Ronnie Laws may be the best known. He was a member of Earth, Wind & Fire briefly, playing saxophone on the band’s Last Days In Time album, before leaving for a solo career. By 1975, he had recorded one of the lasting standards of R&B/fusion with “Always There,” produced by Crusaders trombonist Wayne Henderson. Later in the decade, his singing voice would become well known, with his biggest R&B hit included here, “Every Generation.”
Two Laws sisters would also make contributions to this playlist. Eloise Laws and Debra Laws were both vocalists. Eloise worked with the legendary songwriting trio of Brian Holland, Eddie Holland and Lamont Dozier on their Invictus label and released an album, but the label folded. She released a few albums, notably Eloise, later in the same year of her first album, and it is from there that “Love Comes Easy” is found. Debra would be signed by Elektra Records and released the duet “Very Special” featuring her brother Ronnie, which was a top ten R&B hit in 1981. Both Eloise and Debra also worked with their brothers on various projects, as well as sang or behind other famous names.
The songs on this week’s Sunday Slow Jam playlist are featured below. If you are unable to play any of the songs, feel free to seek them out.
This week’s Sunday Slow Jam track listing:
- “Seduction” by Boney James
- “Anticipation” by Bar-Kays
- “I Love You Too Much” by Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly
- “I Wanna Know” by Joe
- “Words Into Action” by Jermaine Jackson
- “Love Comes Easy” by Eloise Laws
- “Every Generation” by Ronnie Laws
- “Very Special” by Debra Laws (featuring Ronnie Laws)
- “Check It Out” by Tavares
- “Adore” by Prince
- “Made To Love Ya” by Gerald Levert
- “Forever Mine” by The O’Jays
- “Mo Better” by Raheem DeVaughn
A few notes on the remaining tracks: the Bar-Kays were better known for funk and uptempo R&B, but “Anticipation” remains perhaps their best-loved slow jam. Prince’s Adore is on this list, but it may not be available for long on YouTube; best watch and listen to it there while you still can. I paired the Gerald Levert and O’Jays tracks because of the vocal similarity between O’Jays singer Eddie Levert and his son; though Walt Williams of the O’Jays does most of the heavy lifting on “Forever Mine.” Rounding out the list are newer songs by Raheem DeVaughn and Joe, a movie soundtrack song by Jermaine Jackson (where he does his best Marvin Gaye impression), and a well-loved album cut from Frankie Beverly & Maze.
If you can use Spotify, the playlist can be found here:
I hope you enjoy this week’s Slow Jam set, and as always, thanks for reading and listening.