19 November 2010

R-n-R Oldies: Average White Band 1975/1977


The Average White Band (aka AWB) is a Scottish (!) funk and R&B band that enjoyed a series of soul/disco hits from 1974-80. They are best known for the million-selling hit single Pick Up the Pieces. As of 2010 -forty years after their formation- they continue to perform.

AWB was formed in early 1972 at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art (now part of the University of Dundee) in Scotland, and were previously members of a band called Mogul Thrash. The lads' breakthrough was a support slot at Eric Clapton's comeback concert in 1973. 

MCA Records released the Average White Band's debut album, Show Your Hand, a commercial flop. But Bruce McCaskill -Clapton's tour manager- liked the band's music and agreed to manage them. He borrowed money to take them to the US and to promote them. McCaskill had many contacts from his days with Clapton and managed to get Atlantic Records to sign them. 

The band relocated to New York, signed to Atlantic and released the follow-up, AWB, better known as The White Album (cover image above) . This album was the first of many with renowned producer Arif Mardin, and reached #1 in the US Hot 100 chart.

Sadly, AWB drummer Robbie McIntosh died of an accidental heroin overdose at a Los Angeles party on 23 September 1974. Lead singer/musician Alan Gorrie also overdosed, but it was Cher Bono that kept him conscious until medical help arrived.

The following year in 1975, the single Pick Up The Pieces - drawn from the #1 AWB album - reached #1 in the US Billboard Hot 100. The song bumped Linda Ronstadt's You're No Good out of the #1 position... and sold over one million copies. 

They followed up with LPs Cut the Cake (1975) and Soul Searching (1976), both big sellers and yielding further Top 40 singles like the funk anthem -much sampled subsequently by rappers of the 80s and 90s- School Boy Crush

Cut the Cake was dedicated by the surviving band members to McIntosh's memory. The group initially disbanded by 1982, but got back together in various forms and still tours to this day with two original band members remaining. 

Here the highlanders kick-it-out live on Soul Train- what a truly unique and talented band.  This was simply white-hot back in the mid-70s, too... take the T-tops off your Cutlass Supreme and let 'er rip!

Check-it-out, no lip-synch with AWB... it's apparent that they do like to jam live, these guys:




11 comments:

Adrienne said...

One of my all time favorite bands...

Reaganite Republican said...

Me too Ade!!!

Maggie Thornton said...

I love(ed) Pick up the Pieces. Not too familiar with Cut the Cake. These guys had a great sound (not to mention album art).

Reaganite Republican said...

I think they're simply fantastic, and remind me of lots of fun times... Schoolboy crush is a really good one too, linked above

Amusing Bunni said...

AWB are cool! If they named themselves now a days, the loony libs would be screaming "Raaaaaaacist".

Reaganite Republican said...

That's why they explicitly noted "average" white band- no implied threat with such mediocracy.

But as an organized group based on race, white + superior would have = Nazi lol

Teresa said...

I enjoyed listening to the good music, RR. Thanks for posting.

Red said...

Incorporating a woman's butt in their band name wins points.

Reaganite Republican said...

Thank you Teresa, and I agree Red... like AWB, I too am a butt man lol

Rock said...

Wow, "Pick Up The Pieces" was by a bunch of white guys? Did not know that. Thanks for posting!

Rock The Jukebox

Reaganite Republican said...

These are not your average white guys... regardless of the name lol

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