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Eloise Laws

Eloise Laws holds the distinction of being the least famous Laws sibling. Household-name stardom hasn't happened for the chic, sexy, warbler. Yet after nearly 30 years in the business, she's still doing what she loves -- singing and performing. Laws was born in 1949, in Houston, TX. Brother Hubert (the renowned flutist), is older, while sax-playing brother Ronnie and singing sister Debra are both younger. Eloise Laws has experienced everything in music except a hit record. Hubert's many jazz albums and CDs sell worldwide; he's considered a virtuoso on the flute. Ronnie has had many best-selling works, and Debra scored with "Very Special," a popular selection on quiet storm formats. Laws began recording for Holland-Dozier-Holland's Music Merchant label and had a couple of releases in 1972-1973: "Tighten Him Up" and "Love Factory" -- neither charted. When the famous songwriting team folded Music Merchant, they signed Laws to their Invictus label. They released a few singles and her first LP, Ain't It Good Feeling Good (which Japan's P-Vine Records has reissued on CD). "Put a Little Love Into It (When You Do It)," a sultry single, sparked but created no fires. Due to mismanagement, Invictus folded and Laws jumped to ABC Records and recorded the obscure, self-titled Eloise, released in 1977. Limited promotion caused the album to sink without a trace; even a single penned by Linda Creed, "1,000 Laughs," failed to ignite her career. Her Liberty record album, again self-titled, Eloise Laws, is even more obscure than the ABC release. When Marilyn McCoo left the 5th Dimension, their manager, Marc Gordon, chose Laws to replace her. He saw her sing at the Playboy Club in Lake Geneva and instantly pegged her for the group. Gordon had auditioned more than 200 wannabes. Reluctantly she accepted, mainly because of problems with her manager, and the migraines associated with keeping an eight-piece touring group together. Joining the 5th was a way out; now all she had to worry about was singing. The stint lasted three weeks. Laws did one performance with the 5th -- the Johnny Carson show -- and quit the next day, to the dismay of all involved. Laws felt she just didn't mesh with the members. After the 5th fiasco, Laws kept busy vocalizing on Hubert's and Ronnie's albums, and sets by Lee Oskar and Ahmad Jamal. She did duets with Harry Belafonte ("So Close") on his Play Me release. AEMI records in Japan released Aurex Jazz Festival -- Fusion Super Jam in 1998. On this album, Laws is the vocalist of a star-studded ensemble, including brother Hubert, Dave Liebman (sax), Leon "Ndugu" Chancellor (drums), Larry Coryell (guitar), Richard Tee (keyboards), Eric Gale (guitar), and Tony Dumas (bass). Laws also appeared in the touring play, It Ain't Nothing but the Blues, as a vocalist. A quote attributed to Laws best describes her career: "Star? I don't wanna be a star -- a star falls." In fall 2000, she resurfaced with the release The Key. Andrew Hamilton

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