Wed. Aug. 04, 2021

Ronnie Laws – O.T.B.A. Law (Outta Be A Law)

Lost but not least! Ronnie Laws – O.T.B.A. Law (Outta Be A Law) (United Artists Records)

Oh yes, I know. When speakin’ of Ronnie Laws chances are great the first track of his comin’ to mind would be the seminal ‘Always There’. This to an extend such as we could almost think of him as a one hit wonder at the end. But thankfully not, with a man havin’ way more on offer, from a quite consistant repertoire, as a matter of fact. With the more or less underrated ‘O.T.B.A. (Outta Be A Law)’ standing as a brilliant illustration. With its rhythmic guitar line eventually finding some space 30 years later on Alton Miller‘s ‘Beautiful’.

From the Ronnie Laws‘ 1980 ‘Every Generation’ album, the groovy ‘O.T.B.A. (Outta Be A Law)’ most certainly deserves the check. And most definitely for those of you into Jazz/Funk vibes. With thanks to its blowin’ bassline and its infectious Moog line courtesy of Barnaby Finch. The whole under the direction of William Henderson.

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Born in Houston, TX, Ronnie Laws is the fifth of an eight-children family. A rhythm & blues, Jazz/Funk saxophonist, he is the younger brother of flautist Hubert Laws and the older brother of Debra Laws.

He formed his own group – The Lightmen – while still at high school. He then moved to Los Angeles where he joined Earth, Wind & Fire, playing sax and flute on their 1972 ‘Last Days And Time’ album. By the same time, he eventually recorded along with Jean Carne and Hugh Masekela before launching his solo career.

Laws released his debut-album – ‘Pressure Sensitive’ – by the Spring of 1975. An album which featured the seminal ‘Always There’ with production work courtesy of Wayne Henderson. Their collaboration gave birth to one of the most famous jams in the history of Jazz/Funk. With countless artists givin’ it a cover version. From Side Effect to Willie Bobo, Wood Brass & Steel and Incognito among others.

From his ‘Every Generation’ album back in 1980 would come its title track as a single. The latter delivered in a 12 inch package in the U.K. along with ‘O.T.B.A. Law (Outta Be A Law)’. A track which Alton Miller partly sampled in ‘Beautiful’ 30 years after or so.

Ronnie Laws also ventured into vocals. An evolution one could notice on albums such as ‘Solid Ground’ which included ‘Stay Awake’ back in 1981 then ‘Mr Nice Guy’ the year after.

In addition to this, he has recorded with countless other artists. Be it his brother (Hubert Laws) on his ‘In The beginning’ album for CTI Records in 1974. But also Alphonse Mouzon, Ramsey Lewis, Arthur Adams and Jeff Lorber. Not to mention Sister Sledge or Howard Hewett.

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