After debuting with 1973's excellent but neglected Show Your Hand (later reissued as Put It Where You Want It), the Average White Band switched from MCA to Atlantic and hit big with this self-titled gem. Upon first hearing gutsy, Tower of Power-influenced funk like "Person to Person" and the instrumental "Pick Up the Pieces" (a number one R&B hit), many soul fans were shocked to learn that not only were the bandmembers white – they were whites from Scotland. Like Teena Marie five years later, AWB embraced soul and funk with so much conviction that it was clear this was anything but an "average" white band. This album is full of treasures that weren't big hits but should have been – including the addictive "You Got It," the ominous "There's Always Someone Waiting," and a gutsy remake of the Isley Brothers' "Work to Do." [When Rhino reissued AWB on CD in 1995, an edited live version of "Pick Up the Pieces" recorded at the 1977 Montreux Jazz Festival was added. (The full-length version had been included on Rhino's 1994 reissue of Warmer Communications.)[/quote]
Average White Band are widely and rightly regarded as one of the best ever soul and funk bands. Although probably best known for their global hit, the US #1 single ‘Pick Up The Pieces’, this extensive anthology delves back into their musical history, from the early sessions in 1971, right up to the most recent studio album released this millennium. ‘All The Pieces…’ features the band’s entire catalogue of recorded material on a 19CD box set, which includes all of the original studio albums (and ‘spoilers’ ‘Put It Where You Want It’ and ‘Volume VIII’) in mini-vinyl replica wallets, alternate versions and selected mixes, in this 172-track collection…
With a unique sound drawing from early funk and Motown sounds, Average White Band might be one of the most inaccurately named bands in history (especially considering both their percussionists are black). Hailing from Scotland, Average White Band's fast songs sound like the Funky Meters and their slow songs sound like old Motown. While they wear their inspirations on their sleeves, they still managed to develope a very unique sound, laying down some really great funk grooves. This performance at the Montreux Jazz festival in 1977 comes shortly after their best known albums, and contains quite a few of their biggest hits. Admittedly, Average White Band isn't the most poetic of songwriting teams, even in the soul and funk genres.
Long after the Average White Band disappeared from the charts, its impact was being felt. Hip-hop, urban contemporary and new jack swing artists sampled AWB's '70s classics to death in the late 1980s and early to mid-1990s, and such retro acts as the Brand New Heavies wore AWB's influence like a badge of honor. When Soul Tattoo was released in mid-1997, AWB was a quintet.Longtime AWB fans will be glad to hear how well Gorrie's voice has held up, and they'll definitely find Soul Tattoo to be inspired and satisfying.
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.
Formed in 1969, If had already seen a change of line up (on the drum stool) by the time they came to record their début album released in 1970. Conveniently pigeon-holed as Britain's answer to the jazz rock of Chicago and Blood Sweat and Tears, there are in fact noteable differences between If and those bands. The twin saxophones in an otherwise standard rock line up give obvious hints of the band's leanings, but If were perhaps less concerned with catchy hooks and hit singles than their peers from across the pond. That said, there are echoes of David Clayton-Thomas in the fine vocals of J.W. Hodkinson.
Kokomo were renowned as Britain's finest funk band of the mid-'70s, a genuine live experience, which makes their 1975 eponymous debut a bit of a shock: there's no live feel here, only slick studio gloss that brings the album closer to the sunbleached sounds of the American West Coast than the R&B-vamping working bands that populated the pub rock circuit Kokomo frequented. Kokomo yo-yos between percolating funk that flirts with disco – à la the Average White Band – and the smoothest of soft rock, everything sounding mellow and relaxed even when the tempo revs up, as it does on the opener "Kitty Sitting Pretty." Here, the group's female backing singers take center stage, but they're prominent throughout, even when they're fading into the background to support the band's other singers, who can evoke Joe Cocker, Rod Stewart, or Frankie Miller, depending on the tune.