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4.5 out of 5 stars
Pickin' Up the Pieces: The Best of Average White Band 1974-1980
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
The Average White Band hit in the right place, at the right time (the pre and early-disco mid-70s) with the right on the right label (Ahmet Ertegun's Atlantic Records, which understood a decade before with the Young Rascals how potent rock and soul combined could be). Rhino's generous, well-remastered "Pickin' Up The Pieces" is a first-rate, career spanning collection from one of music's tightest, funkiest bands in either genre.
The album is full of rumbling bass lines courtesy of Hamish Stuart, who with drummer Steve Ferrone lays the bottom on the indescribably funky "Cut The Cake," and "School Boy Crush"(featuring stop-time horn lines only hinted at in the group's #1 hit "Pick Up The Pieces.") Alan Gorrie and Hamish Stuart's soulful harmonies recall the Isley Brothers at their smoothest, swirling around the melodies of "If I Ever Lose This Heaven," "Queen Of My Soul" and the Isleys' own "Work To Do." Then you get the Latin-flavored "Queen of My Soul" and the shimmering Quiet Storm favorite, "A Love Of Your Own" from 1976's "Soul Searching." The group acknowledged its influences directly with Ben E. King's vocals on "Give It Up" from 1977's "Benny And Us."
Things quieted down for AWB as the 80s began; disco polarized the funk audience while its minimalist successors, rap and new wave, had little connection to the group's sophisticated big-band funk. (MOR Production from adult contemporary aces Bill Champlin and David Foster on a mostly unsupportive Arista label didn't help, although rap sampling of earlier hits eventually restored some of AWB's cache'.) Nonetheless, those huge early hits on its first half make "Pickin' Up The Pieces" a recommended collection from a band anything but average. It's worth picking up for 70s rock and soul fans alike, but also check out the 1974 Atlantic debut and 1977's live "Person To Person."
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 27, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I originally bought this CD a few years ago, back in '99. Loved it. I found myself yearning for the good old days again, when they actually made real music. Rarely do you find a greatest hits compilation that actually is packed full of hits. This CD does not disappoint. If the funky "School Boy Crush" doesn't bring back memories, the silky smooth "A Love of Your Own" or the straight jammin' "Queen of My Soul" will. There are so many more hits on this CD, it's a bonafide keeper. At least it was until my brother "borrowed" it (for 5 months). Every time I asked for it, he gave me another excuse about not being able to stop listening to it. Knowing how awesome this CD is, I just didn't have the heart to take it back, so I kicked out the dough for a new copy. Believe me when I say "It's worth it!" Long live '70's soul and funk!
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2005
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
How a group of white boys from Scotland could produce 100% pure American funk, rhythm and blues, and soul is anybody's guess. If you've heard Pick Up The Pieces and you want more, this is definitely the AWB CD to get. There are other AWB samplers out there, but this one has the best blend of tracks you must have (Work To Do, Got The Love, and of course, Pick Up The Pieces), and lesser known gems like Schoolboy Crush, Cloudy, and the stellar A Love Of Your Own which is worth the price of admission by itself. What you'll notice about AWB is their restraint, they don't play a lot of notes, they only play exactly the right amount of notes. The other thing is that whether they're playing loud or soft, slow or fast, they never, never, never lose the groove. Plus, excellent singing.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I was fortunate enough to pick up this disc after experiencing an epiphany while driving. 'A Love of Your Own' came on the radio and I just had such a sense of deja vu about the song, didn't know the words but the melody I definitely remembered & felt such a positive feeling about the song, I rushed to a local record store and got this cd. The thing that I love about AWB and other artists like Hall & Oates and Teena Marie is although they catch a lot of flak for "sounding Black", they are truly doing the music that they love and feel and as a music fan, I can tell the difference between true artists vs those who are co-opting a certain music style in order to move units.

Not being overly familiar with AWB's entire body of work, I found this disc extremely enjoyable to listen to and have the disc in heavy rotation esp when I feel nostalgic about the great bands and music that was born in the late 60's/early 70's.

My personal faves: A Love of Your Own, Cloudy, Pick Up The Pieces, Schoolboy Crush, Person to Person, Work To Do and For You - For Love.

I'd highly recommend giving this collection a try if you're also starving for some good music as I am given the state of the music industry today. I can promise you won't be disappointed!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2000
Format: Audio CD
With this CD, you get to hear one of the most talented bands from the 70s, and all of the hits are here.Along with Tower of Power, this group crossed racial boundaries and just gave us real music.Enjoy the horns & cool vocals!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2007
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
When I first purchased this CD, I was immediately floored by the rhythm chops that AWB is so well known. I am new to the funk/R&B scene myself, and I play guitar. AWB's Pickin' Up the Pieces: The Best of the Average White Band (1974-1980) has more than you could want from AWB and contains their most memorable cuts (Pickin' Up the Pieces, and Cut the Cake, my favorites) that inspire old and new funk players to AWB's rhythms. AWB's horn section as well as their vocals provide lead to the backing rhythm guitar work.

Some of their tunes are more complex than others in terms of guitar rhythms, but that is what makes the CD sparkle, both for the tight and intricate bass and guitar, but the well-versed horns that continually pop out at you from the horn section in rhythm.

There are times when the sax player takes solos, but listen to the backing rhythm and it makes more sense.

Personally, I favor the high-charged funk rhythms instead of the ballads, but the ballads just show another side of AWB's versatility.

If you want to take a trip down memory lane and visit some of the 70's best funk and R&B music that even guitarists like me who grew up in that era can enjoy, give the AWB a listen with your media player on "Pickin Up the Pieces" and "Cut the Cake". Two exceptionally organized, well-arranged, and tight guitar, bass, vocals, and horns.

Your answer will be the same as mine if not more appreciative of AWB.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2002
Format: Audio CD
THIS BY FAR WAS AND STILL IS ONE OF THE MOST SOULFUL ALBUMS
FROM THE 70'S. LOVE OF YOU OWN WAS ONE OF THE BEST SLOW DANCE
SONGS FOR THE BASEMENT SOCIALS.PICK UP THE PIECES IS JUST
PLAIN FUNKY.IF YOU WERE REALLY IN TO SOUL AND FUNK, THEN
THIS IS A MUST CD.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
I bought this for "A Love Of Your Own" & "Queen of My Soul". After I played it, though, there were so many other good songs I couldn't believe it! I knew a lot of other ones from high school, but even the songs I didn't know were good. These guys really have soul. There are a couple of ballads, a couple of covers and even a disco sounding song. Of course you know "Pick Up The Pieces" but that and "Cut the Cake" are the only instrumentals. I'm really glad I got this CD.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
Bset Ofs are usually hit and miss, but this collection from Rhino is a definate hit,actually it's a homerun!!! 18 classic AWB classics all in a row!!! All their hits are here(Pick Up The Pieces,Person To Person,Work To Do,School Boy Crush,Cut The Cake and many more!!!)making this a top notch package!!! The remastered sound is incredible!!! Nice booklet too!!! A+
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2002
Format: Audio CD
...get it for the sequencing. Tracks 1-12 is one of the best funky oldies run ever captured for CD production. Crank it up on track 8 and recall where you were when you first heard it.
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