Tuesday, 19 August 2014

"The Collection Volume 1 - Show Your Hand/How Sweet Can You Get?/Average White Band" by AVERAGE WHITE BAND (2009 Edsel 2CD Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...





"…Any Way You Want It…You Got It…"

This is the first of four ‘Collection’ 2CD sets (all four spines make an AWB) covering the entire Average White Band catalogue from their MCA debut in 1973 right through to their wicked RCA period in 1980. And it doesn't take a particular genius to work out that this and its three companions are brill - Soul/Rock gems from a hugely under-appreciated Scottish band.

Released April 2009 in the UK as a 2CD set - "The Collection Volume 1 - Show Your Hand/Average White Band/How Sweet Can You Get?" by AVERAGE WHITE BAND on Edsel EDSD 2030 (Barcode 740155203030) is a 2CD set containing 3 albums worth of material and more and plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (56:45 minutes):
1. The Jugglers 
2. The World Has Music
3. Twilight Zone
4. Put It Where You Want It
5. Show Your Hand 
6. Back In ‘67
7. Reach Out 
8. T.L.C.
Tracks 1 to 8 are their debut album "Show Your Hands" originally issued in June 1973 on MCA Records MUPS 486 in the UK and on MCA MAPS 6694 in the USA. 
[Note: on the back of their second album's success (the "Pick Up The Pieces" "Average White Band" album) - “Show Your Hands" was then given a different name and reissued in the USA in April 1975 as "Put It Where You Want It" with the opening song "The Jugglers" replaced by "How Can You Go Home"]

BONUS TRACKS: 
9. Reach Out (First Version)
10. The Jugglers (First Version) 
11. It Didn’t Take A Minute 
12. In The Beginning 
13. Look Out Now
14. Back In ’67 (First Version) 
15. How Can You Go Home - issued as a NON-LP 7" single on MCA Records MCA 102 in the UK in January 1974 with 1973's "Twilight Zone" on the B-side (it was in itself reissued as MCA 186 in 1975 with the same tracks).

Disc 2 (79:50 minutes):
1. Person To Person
2. Keepin’ It To Myself
3. There’s Always Someone Waiting
4. McEwan’s Export 
5. Got The Love
6. Work To Do 
7. Just Want To Love You Tonight
8. Pick Up The Pieces 
9. I Just Can’t Give You Up 
10. How Sweet Can You Get (First Version)
Tracks 1 to 10 are "The Clovis Sessions" CD on the Deluxe Edition of "Average White Band" from 2003 - renamed here as a 'missing' album - "How Sweet Can You Get?"

11. You Got It 
12. Got The Love
13. Pick Up The Pieces 
14. Person To Person
15. Work To Do
16. Nothing You Can Do
17. Just Want To Love You Tonight 
18. Keepin’ It To Myself
19. I Just Can’t Give You Up
20. There’s Always Someone Waiting
Tracks 11 to 20 are their 2nd and most famous album "Average White Band" (also known as The White Album because of its distinctive plain artwork) issued on Atlantic K 50058 in July 1974 in the UK and as "AWB" in the USA on Atlantic SD-7308 in September 1974 (it reached number 1 in the USA, and number 6 in the UK in early 1975)

There's a card wrap on the outside, a 20-page booklet on the inside with liner notes by noted soul expert and writer TONY ROUNCE with contributions from key band members - Alan Gorrie, Onnie McIntyre and Hamish Stuart. The mastering was done by ALCHEMY in London and the sound is similar to the superb Rhino remasters of 1993 - warm, ballsy and in your face for all the right reasons. There's also a huge and noticeable difference between the very airy production values of their UK debut and the glossy but beautiful polish on the second album by famed American producer ARIF MARDIN. But the truth is - it all sounds spiffing...

It's worth pointing out that if you already own the Deluxe of AWB from 2003, there is only Disc 1 to be interested in - but the music is still great. 

That the Scottish are as funky as f**k should surprise no one (John Martyn, Cado Belle, Love And Money, even The Blue Nile funk with the best of them), but they all have one common thread - SOUL - it may be white boy's soul - but it's soul - par excellence. Retailing at ten pounds in a megastore - I've seen this 2CD set online for as little as a fiver, which is ludicrously great value for money. 

The Average White Band were always the business - and even possess what is arguably the coolest name ever given to a rock group in the history of the world. 

Don't be a wee timorous beastie and get this into your life...recommended big time.  

PS: the other titles in this series are:
1. The Collection Volume Two
Features "Cut The Cake" (1975), "Soul Searching" (1976) and "Benny & Us" (1977), 3 full albums on 2CDs - Edsel EDSD 2031
2. The Collection Volume Three 
Features "Person To Person" (1977 2LP Live Set) and "Warmer Communications" (1978), 3 full albums with 2 Bonus Tracks on 2CDs - Edsel EDSD 2032
3. The Collection Volume Four

Features "Feel No Fret" (1979), "Volume 8" (Volume III from 1980 expanded), "Shine" (1980) and "Cupid's In Fashion", 4 Albums Worth Across 2CDs - Edsel EDSD 2033

This review is part of my SOUNDS GOOD Music Book Series. One of those titles is SOUL, FUNK and JAZZ FUSION - Exceptional CD Remasters - an E-Book with over 245 entries and 2100 e-Pages - purchase on Amazon and search any artist or song (click the link below). Huge amounts of info taken directly from the discs (no cut and paste crap). 



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