Classics: Incognito – Always There (Talkin’ Loud)
There was Ronnie Laws, then Willie Bobo releasing this. Then there would also be Side Effect around the same period, although adding vocals to it. With thanks to songwriter Paul B Allen III. Following the path of the latter, British Jazz/Funk combo Incognito would get it to another dimension, 15 years after, back in 1991.
No matter how long ago it has been released, their version still sounds so fresh nowadays. With thanks to Disco diva Jocelyn Brown who, in her distinctive style, would get this song to the next level. But also to Def Mix, David Morales who, keeping its original arrangements alive, brought them a magnetic depth.
“Always there, to please you…” The work of a dream team. Always there? No wonder why!
– Jean-Paul ‘Bluey’ Maunick and Paul ‘Tubbs’ Williams gave birth to Incognito as an offshot from Light Of The World back in 1979. From then, the group has collaborated with la crème de la crème of an ever boiling British groove scene.
Strangely enough, it took them 10 years to deliver the follow-up to their debut-album – ‘Jazz Funk’ – released back in 1981. But their recognition would be instant with the release of ‘Inside Life’. An album which featured the memorable ‘Always There’, ‘Crazy For You’ and ‘Can You Feel Me’. It also marked the start of a long relationship with Gilles Peterson‘s label. The latter eventually bringing Incognito‘s repertoire to new audiences with the help of remixers such as Masters At Work, Roger S and Carl Craig among others. This resulting in the rework of gems such as ‘Jacob’s Ladder’, ‘Givin’ It Up’ and ‘Out Of The Storm’.
How to not remember neither of their brilliant participation to the 1994 ‘Stolen moments: Red Hot + Cool’ album issued on GRP? And more precisely of ‘Trouble Don’t Last Always’??? One of the best British Jazz/Funk compositions of all time which saw them jamming along with Carleen Anderson and Ramsey Lewis…
Meanwhile, the beginning of the Millenium would mark a turning point for Incognito. The band switching from Talkin’ Loud to Döme Records with the release of their 2002 ‘Who Needs Love’ album. Extra gems following from then. From ‘Morning Sun’, as beautifully edited by Danny Krivit. To ‘Step Aside’ with remixing work courtesy of Dimitri from Paris and DJ Mémé. But also ‘We Got Music’ as remixed by Matt Cooper. This in addition to ‘Freedom To Love’ which eventually got a release on Reel People with Atjazz in charge of the remixing duties. Or their cover version of Ned Doheny‘s ‘To Prove My Love’ to name but a few.
Under his own banner, Jean-Paul ‘Bluey’ Maunick delivered his debut-album – ‘Leap Of Faith’ – in March 2013. There, he brilliantly made the demonstration of his skills as a singer. Meanwhile as a producer, he has collaborated with artists such as Paul Weller and George Benson. Not to mention Terry Callier and, more recently, Diplomats Of Soul (‘Brighter Tomorrow’ and ‘Sweet Power Your Embrace’). Then Russian singer Olga Makovetskaya.
– A Kingston, NC native, Jocelyn Brown grew up in a family of 7 brothers and 2 sisters whom she was the eldest. Her aunt, Barbara Roy, was the lead singer of Ecstasy, Passion And Pain. Her mom, two aunts, cousin and grandmother were all accomplished singers.
Singin’ acapella among the family quickly became a way of life. Jocelyn would develop her art upon moving to NYC at the age of 6 while singing further in the churches of Harlem. A few years on, and she ended up leavin’ the Gospel to become a session singer, working with countless luminaries. From Bruce Springsteen to Bette Middler and Bob Dylan. But also R&B/Disco acts such Musique, Chic and Change (‘Angel In My Pocket’). Not to mention Kleeer or Cerrone (‘You Are The One’) among others.
The first time I got to hear her brings me back to 1979. Back then, she was singin’ the lead for Patrick Adams‘ band Inner Life on ‘I’m Caught Up (In a One Night Love Affair’ (Prelude). An experience she would repeat two years after. This with a memorable interpretation of Ashford & Simpson‘s ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ (Salsoul). The year after seeing her teamin’ up with Salsoul Orchestra on ‘Take Some Time Out (For Love’). Then back with Inner Life on ‘Moment Of My Life’ and ‘I Like It Like That’.
Jocelyn Brown released her debut-album back in 1984. Its title cut – ‘Somebody Else’s Guy’ – standing as her most famous song as a solo artist. This with production work courtesy of Allen George & Fred McFarlane. She would eventually deliver its follow-up – ‘One From The Heart’ – 3 years after, collaborating with producer Hubert Eaves III (D-Train). An album which featured another goodie of her by the likes of ‘Ego Maniac’.
By 1985, Brown released ‘Love’s Gonna Get You’ along with producer John Jellybean Benitez. Eventually sounding like an answer to ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’, it most likely inspired artists such as Snap! then Bizarre Inc.. The first sampling one particular line in the song by the likes of “I’ve got the power!” on ‘The Power’. And the latter borrowing another line – “Why waste your time, you know you’re gonna be mine” – on ‘I’m Gonna Get You’.
Meanwhile Polish producer Juliet Sikora would embed (uncredited) vocals of Jocelyn Brown on ‘Larrys Garage’ back in 2015. The latter comin’ from her live performance at the Larry Levan Street Party on King St. in New York, outside the original venue of The Paradise Garage, May 11, 2014.
Facing problems with the development of her own career, Brown would most likely spend her time singin’ for others from then. Teamin’ up back in 1989 with Spanish producer Raúl Orellana on ‘Gipsy Rhythm’. Then a year after with Incognito on a memorable cover version of Ronnie Laws‘ ‘Always There’.
And how couldn’t we remember her brilliant performances on the 1996 Nuyorican Soul album? From her one of a kind rendition of Rotary Connection‘s ‘I Am The Black God Of The Sun’. To the uplifting ‘It’s Alright, I Feel It’. Not to mention, more recently, the firing ‘You Are Everything’ from Louie Vega‘s 2015 ‘Starring XVIII’ album. This in addition to ‘Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys’ with Bollo. And ‘Don’t Quit (Be A Believer)’ with Diephuis which Reelsoul eventually remixed a few months later.