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The Story of 'Always'




(from the INSIGHTS album released in 2022)

When we first started writing together, the idea was to be a songwriting team in the vein of Bacharach & Bayer Sager, Goffin & King, Elton John & Bernie Taupin and present songs to artists that we thought would be best suited to the song we had written.

So #1 ANANGA RANGA was written and presented to the brilliant latin band Fourth World, headed up by the percussionist AIRTO MOREIRA and his wife, the singer FLORA PURIM. This song #2 ALWAYS was always one that was earmarked for the exceptional vocal talents of the a cappella group TAKE 6.

The idea of this song was to write a ‘jazz classic’ - a song that could be played with a piano / vocal, a jazz trio or quartet, or augmented with a fuller ensemble arrangement that would include several singers singing the backing vocal harmonies. This was, after all, both of our great loves. The big band sound of Mel Jones & Thad Lewis, the peerless harmonies of Singers Unlimited along with the jazz learned from listening to jazz pianists, playing in London’s jazz venues and listening to the pop-infused jazz chops of Steely Dan, Michael McDonald, Earth Wind & Fire and Stevie Wonder.

It had a special ‘something’ from the off - so much so that it was hard to know which ‘bit’ was a verse, a chorus, or a bridge! When that was sorted, there were instrumental breaks that had to be inserted. In the end it turned out to be an intricate piece of writing, with many disparate elements and sections created to bring together into a whole song work.

The vocal harmonies were one of the first things I demoed via my 14 channel Mackie mixer. A joy to use with a manual written by real people with a sense of humour! The voices of TAKE 6 were always in my head, as were the way they sang harmonies. This helped a lot in creating the type of harmony that dictated the final result. I was determined that one day they would love and record the song!

The unadulterated positivity of the lyric never stops bringing me joy to sing. There is so much doom and gloom in the world that is reinforced by the world itself. But there is a misunderstanding inherent in it. The belief that it can be any different to the way it is. This is erroneous on many levels, and it is something that only a spiritual overview can rectify. External karma (the workings out of problems and issues in the world at large via its actions) is something that moves slowly, repeats itself endlessly and never ends. Taking it on, in or trying to change it in any way, shape or form is a fruitless exercise.

The answer is simple - to focus on individual self-empowerment by taking action (the true meaning of the word ‘karma’) in any and every positive way that one can in one’s own life by fulfilling one’s own dreams and by being of service to others. This is key. And any and all efforts in this direction will minimise the effect that the world’s ‘doom and gloom’ viewpoint can impact on one’s individual life.

The clues are all in the song:

“There’s always a sun that will rise and a sun that will set To light up the world every day”.

No matter what happens in our lives, the sun rises and the sun sets. And its warmth and light are there to remind us how lucky we are to be alive. And what we do with that gift then becomes a choice we have to make as individuals:

“Cos every hopeless heartache that creeps across your mind Is just a cloud that hides the sun, that’s only a moment Only a moment behind...”

The next verse is ‘a call to arms’, to confront our own lack of self-discipline or laziness in taking action for what our inner voice is urging us to do:

“So when you hear a whisper, it’s time to make a start The truth is in that little voiceThat’s buried so deep in your heart”

The composition of the solo / bridge section was something to behold. I was determined to honour the musicians who had inspired me as a child. And there is a musical reference that was written by Michael McDonald and Lester Abrams from a song they wrote which was adapted by me for this part of our song. No one has yet identified it. Let’s see if you know where it is and what it might be!

When ideas pour out smoothly and effortlessly (we call it ‘channeling’), then you can hear it and feel it in the writing. Let’s hope this ‘inspired’ way of writing returns to the writers of the future, as it was much in evidence in the writers of the past, most notably during the Seventies when writing became more lyrically and musically subtle compared to the Sixties, and much less stylised and looser than the output of the Fifties.

The chorus statements (which are ‘answered’ by the fiat ‘Always) are a joy to sing:

‘We are children of the stars - you are perfect where you are. There’s always a chance for us to choose - and laugh if we lose’ ‘Make all your dreams come true - cos the power lies in you’ ‘Let your light shine - with a love that’s so divine’.

This is the supreme gift that we were given by God / The God Force / the Universe / Spirit - whichever name speaks to your heart and soul. The gift of choice.

That no matter what is going on OUTSIDE of us, INSIDE we are connected to our divinity via our inner voice.

And if we listen to it carefully - it speaks in a quiet voice which cannot be heard in a room full of noise - and follow its directives, we can live contentedly in the light, fulfilling our own dreams and desires and being of service to any and all in genuine need who cross our path.

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