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4.7 out of 5 stars
AWB
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Nothing more needs to be said about this great album. It is indeed a classic. The idea of adding the live track of Pick Up The Pieces from the Montreux Jazz Festival was a great one that made me purchase the CD - only to find out that the original 22 minute jam session had been cut to 7 or so minutes. WHY? The disk has over 20 minutes of blank space, so it wasn't because there was no room.

It could have fit with room to spare. The full version is one of the greatest jam sessions you'll never hear unless you have the original 2 lp set from that time. It is not available on CD. The fact that some genius made this decision is mind boggling. Because of this I can only give it 4 stars. With the full version it would go beyond the 5 stars allowed to a 10.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2002
Format: Audio CD
The Average White Band will go down as one of the most overlooked and underrated bands of their kind. Their much heralded "White" album remains a true testament to their musical prowess. Who cares if they were a couple of white guys from Scotland? Their playing and passion for R&B and soul music is stamped all over this certified classic. The first five songs are probably the ones fans will recognize the most, yet the other five are equally as good. My personal favorites are Person To Person (funky mid-tempo track), Nothing You Can Do (dreamy soul ballad), and There's Always Someone Waiting (low-down groove with biting lyrics). This particular reissue from Rhino also contains a live version of Pick Up The Pieces that is even better than the studio version. I only wish they could've included the entire length of that jam instead of an edit, but that's only trivial compared to the rest of this outstanding album.
This one's definitely for serious music lovers.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I rembember when I heard "Pick Up the Pieces" for the first time, I really thought it was James Brown. The more I listened it didn't sound quite raw and gritty enough, it was very polished and tight. This album really showcases this bands songwriting deftness especially on "Keeping it to Myself" and "You Got it". I was a bit suprised by the guitar playing on this album, because most all white guitarist during the early 70's played with a distinct rock and roll flavor, but hey! these guys were funky. I was delighted to hear an all white band that played like the brothers but with their own unique sound. They also did an admirable job on "Work to Do" from the Isley Brothers. I became an AWB fan becuause of this album...in my opinion it was their best.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2000
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I bought this album when it first released in the 70's; then bought the cassette in the 80's and purchased the cd a few months ago and let me say this is money well spent. This cd is a classic. It brought back lots of memories and I play it over and over again, just as I did 20 years ago. I highly recommend it. You get a clear sound on the cd and it's not that expensive either.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2007
Format: Audio CD
You wanna talk about some white boys with soul, AWB epitomize the meaning and some. These guys were self-taught musicians who went out of their way to learn some of the best soul tunes of their day and put it all to perfection. I'm the type of guy that loves good music no matter what color you are and as a black man I would say AWB were one the best bands ever in terms of creativity,vocals, and down-right funky soul. Hamish Stuart was one of the best vocalist of any band and Alan Gorrie was great also. The rest of the guys from Robbie,Onnie,Malcom, and Roger really played some of the most intricate funk tunes ever layed down on wax. The horn section was just as good as Tower of Power and Earth, Wind & Fire. See, AWB were different from a lot of bands in terms of the way they were promoted because like Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly, they sold from not just singles but album sales. Although "Pick Up The Pieces" was their one and only number one single they still managed to go no less than gold from 1974-1978 and continued to put out solid material until they disbanded in 1982. For some reason I still don't think AWB get their proper due because black radio still choose to only play "Pick Up The Pieces"and "Love Of Your Own" (from the Soul Searching album) while the other stations may only play "Pieces", what a shame.

Now things may have been different back in the day and I'm sure they were, being I was born a year later in 1975 and wouldn't know but to me they were one of the great bands such as EWF(71-79 only) Ohio Players,Isley Brothers, and the Doobie Brothers being the others that you could play straight through without pressing stop. Maybe I should start my own AWB fan club to get these guys more recognition because although everyone in the music world during that time know these guys are legends many people are missing out on some true soul. My favorites are "I Just Can't Give You Up"(Hamish kills this song with his superb high tenor/falsetto and Robbies excellent drum work),"Work To Do"(Alan puts his all ito this song with his vocals ala Ron Isley). "Just Wanna Love You"(killer base line by Hamish and smooth musianship by the rest of the fellas), and "Got The Love"(one funky jam, what else can I say). Average White Band for life playaaaaaa!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
During the early 1970s, a Buddah Records collection of doo-wop noted of the Skyliners (whose classic "Since I Don't Have You" was part of the anthology) that they "didn't borrow the material from their black brothers, but they did borrow the feeling." Which was another way of saying what critic Dave Marsh said of lead singer Jimmy Beaumont: you didn't have to be black to sing (or play) soul. Fast forward to the middle of the 1970s and along came the Average White Band, a Scottish sextet who proved all over again that you didn't have to be black to sing and play soul---especially since, for the most part, they borrowed no material from their obvious models but sure did get, keep, and learn how to deliver the feeling in ways that belied (then and now) their modest enough band name.

Their buttery horns, modeled to a large extent on the Memphis Horns, were only their most obvious trademark, and with two saxophonists other than Roger Ball and Molly Duncan it might not have factored that way. Their original and ill-fated drummer, Robbie McIntosh (he would die of a heroin overdose within a very short time after this, their second album, began making waves), knitted to bassist/vocalist Alan Gorrie for a rhythm section as tight as the classic Funk Brothers and as exuberant as vintage Stax but sounded entirely like themselves, McIntosh's iron polyrhythm a perfect match to Gorrie's heartpunch bass lines.

But the real secret weapon just might have been rhythm guitarist Onnie McIntyre---his seamless guitar work kept the rhythm section and the horns married, letting each have their head when needed but tugging and chugging them back to the whole without pushing or shoving. It's McIntyre who kicks off and pretty much binds "Pick Up the Pieces," the jaunty, funky intrumental hit and the album's third cut, his ringing kickoff chord and slinky riffing anticipating Chic's Nile Rodgers.

Gorrie and guitarist Hamish Stuart offered a pair of distinctive voices that joined together neatly and didn't sacrifice feeling for nuance, something evident right out of the chute with "You Got It" and with their affectionate cover of the Isley Brothers' chestnut "Work to Do." (Listen carefully and "You Got It" becomes the inadvertent model for Pablo Cruise's "Love Will Find a Way," though the latter obviously nailed the surface without bothering to cut to the heart, which was one of the reasons why anything resembling or reaching to disco earned as much derision as dance cred.) But if you want the best singing on the album, advance straight to "Keepin' It To Myself," in which these Scotsmen betray a Curtis Mayfield influence without lapsing into mere copyism.

These were soul singers, and this was a soul band, at a time when genuine soul music was being pulled apart in a tug-of-war between disco and funkafide dissipation (read: Parliament-Funkadelic at their worst extremes), and if the Average White Band (name aside, they cracked the black music charts, often hitting the top 20 therein, with astonishing and revealing regularity) didn't quite salvage classic soul music, they made a boatload of impeccable music trying. This is only their best-remembered album. They still had quite a few jewels left to deliver, even if they were forced to replace McIntosh too soon. And if you ever saw them in concert (or heard, especially, their surprisingly unboring 15-to-20-minute extensions of "Pick Up the Pieces"), you got a grand idea that these guys lived for the stage no matter how much care they took with their recordings. The only thing average about the Average White Band at their peak was their name.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Hello. Me again, this is the second album, but their first on the Atlantic Record label. This is also the first with the infamous "AWB" logo (with the naked woman's backside forming the W). If you like this album, you will probably like "Cut the Cake", and possibly "Soul Searching".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
O.K. I have to be honest, unlike TOWER OF POWER, the other blue eyed funk and soul powerhouse of the era, AWB may not have been able to boast a string of "one after another" genre defining albums, the truth is that based on the strength of this and CUT THE CAKE alone, their title of "a quintessential '70s funk powerhouse" is locked in: PICK UP THE PIECES, being a major instrumental '70s instrumental rock, pop, funk and soul k.o. (Along with Frankenstein, Valdez in The Country and Chameleon, its one of those tunes that generations of upstart bands began convincing themselves they had to jam on to show people how hip they were !)

Beyond PICK UP THE PIECES though, this album boasts a number of great pieces as well as a style unique to the AWB...
A unique pick-up on JB's 2 guitar/bass/drum style of syncopation - - with horns replaced by one single wailing sax... and a sound that's both in your face funk... but also represents pre-disco boogie music. In fact, I suspect that towards the 80's they were one of the sounds ringing in the heads of so many of those fusion funk crossover bands that were popping up, but like THE HEADHUNTERS, the genius of the AWB was that only the AWB could REALLY play AWB... hence I have to admit, there was a time I used to go running for the toilet everytime I heard a band I was playing in were going to hit on PIECES - - especially if the sax player sucked. (Today, I've even heard HS marching bands playing it... talk about a memorable hooky line!)

Among memorable moments of the album is a cover (since then covered even more) of the Isley's WORK TO DO, the funky back beats of PERSON TO PERSON and THERE'S ALWAYS SOMEONE WAITING (with its memorable lyrics) and a number of tunes that show their mastery of sweet soul music too. The version I have also has a mega-bumping big band (Player's Association?) augmented live version of PICK UP THE PIECES circa 1977...

All in all... this, if any, is what you call a MUST HAVE funk album ! And hopefully, if you're into AWB I needn't hip you to the J.B.s...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 1999
Format: Audio CD
It's hard to find a stronger one-two punch on any pop recording than AWB's 'You Got It' and 'Got the Love.' These two funk-pop tunes still sound fresh decades later, worthy of the repeat button in the car. Ironically, AWB is probably best known for its instrumental smash 'Pick Up the Pieces,' but the great mix of two lead vocalists (including Hamish Stuart's falsetto) really distinguished them to many 70s fans of all races. This 'white album' put them over the top but I believe rabid fans will confirm it was their second (the first LP didn't do any business in the States, at least). It's rated 4 stars here because of a couple of weak songs but it's still an essential buy, along with 'Soul Searching,' arguably their absolute finest work.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Firstly AWB is not the first Average White Band album, that was "Show Your Hand" (1973 MCA Records) now I think, sadly, deleted. If you can get hold of a copy BUY IT. AWB also contains the last recordings of original drummer Robbie McIntosh and is worth purchasing for that alone. This is a great album, reflecting the early, more raw, less "produced" sounds of a great band.
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