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Tuesday, 19 July 2016
"All The Pieces: The Complete Studio Recordings 1971-2003" by AVERAGE WHITE BAND (2014 Edsel 19CD Box Set with 52-Page Booklet and Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...
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"...Pick Up The Pieces..."
A huge 172-tracks across 19
CDs covering 43 years (1971 to 2003) – every one of the official AVERAGE WHITE
BAND studio albums represented in cool-looking 5" card repro artwork. And
as if that's not enough - you get four exclusive sets - a rejiggered 1st album
with a different track, a mock 2nd album with new artwork, a 1980 US-only
Atlantic Records compilation LP called "Volume III" where Side 1 was
4 new songs and Side 2 had 5 oldies and finally a 2CD round-up named "All
The Pieces" that gathers together Alternate Versions, 12" Single
Mixes and other Rarities.
"All The Pieces"
is housed in a squat flip-top box with beautiful AWB artwork and has an
illustrated 52-Page Booklet that features involvement from the Scottish
Rock-Soul boys themselves (Hamish Stuart and Alan Gorrie). There's a lot of
cool music on here that isn't in the least bit average - so let's start picking
up those pieces...
UK released 14 July 2014 (22
July 2014 in the USA) - "All The Pieces: The Complete Studio Albums
1971-2003" by AVERAGE WHITE BAND on Edsel AWBOX01 (Barcode 5014797890954)
is a 19CD Flip-Lid Box Set with a 52-Page Booklet and plays out as follows:
1. Show Your Hand (8 tracks,
42:22 minutes) - debut LP released June 1973 in the UK on MCA Records MUPS 486
(reissued 1974 on MCA Records MCF 2514)
2. How Sweet Can You Get?
(10 tracks, 39:52 minutes)
First released as 'The
Clover Sessions' in January 2004 on CD2 of the “AWB” Deluxe Edition on Columbia
513413 2 (Barcode 5099751341321). Renamed as a 'missing album' in April 2009
for their 2CD reissue of "The Collection Volume 1 - Show Your
Hand..." on Edsel EDSD 2030 (Barcode 740155203030).
3. Average White Band [aka
"AWB" in the USA] (10 tracks 39:58 minutes)
Band" (also known as The White Album because of its distinctive plain
artwork) was released 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)
4. Put It Where You Want It
(8 tracks, 40:35 minutes)
On the back of their
"Pick Up The Pieces" 7” single chart success (taken from their famous
"Average White Band/AWB" album) – 1973's "Show Your Hand"
was reissued April 1975 in the UK and USA on MCA Records MCF 2705 and MCA-475
respectively as "Put It Where You Want It". As well as a different
name and new artwork - the 1973 opening song "The Jugglers" was
replaced by a session outtake - the 'Pick Up The Pieces' sounding "How Can
You Go Home".
5. Cut The Cake (10 tracks,
42:38 minutes) - June 1975 UK LP on Atlantic K 50146
6. Soul Searching (11
tracks, 46:12 minutes) - July 1976 UK LP on Atlantic K 50272
7. Person To Person (Disc
7a, 5 tracks, 44:15 minutes - Disc 7b, 5 tracks, 45:41 minutes)
Live Double-Album released
January 1977 in the UK on Atlantic K 60127
8. Benny And Us by AVERAGE
WHITE BAND and BEN E. KING - (8 Tracks, 41:47 minutes) – July 1977 UK LP on
Atlantic K 50384
9. Warmer Communications (9
tracks, 43:40 minutes) - June 1978 UK LP on RCA Records XL 13053
10. Feel No Fret (9 tracks,
37:38 minutes) - February 1979 UK LP on RCA Records XL 13063
11. Shine (9 tracks, 38:30
minutes) - May 1980 UK LP on RCA Records XL 13123
12. Volume III (9 tracks,
37:48 minutes) - September 1980 USA-only LP compilation on Atlantic SD 19266 where
the four cuts on Side 1 were newly finished tracks and the 5 songs of Side 2
were their biggest Atlantic Records hits between 1974 and 1977 (including
"Pick Up The Pieces", "Cut The Cake" etc)
13. Cupid's In Fashion (10
tracks, 41:37 minutes) - September 1982 UK LP on RCA Records RCALP 6052
14. Aftershock (9 tracks,
37:51 minutes) - August 1989 UK LP on Polydor 839 466-1
15. Soul Tattoo (13 tracks,
56:35 minutes) - February 1997 CD on Artful ARTFULCD 7
16. Living In Colour (10
tracks, 50:18 minutes) - 2003 CD on The William Morris Agency
17. All The Pieces -
Alternate Versions, Rarities And Mixes (new cover artwork by John Pasche)
4. In The Beginning
[Recorded Between 1971 and 1972]
5. Look Out Now [Recorded
Between 1971 and 1972]
6. White Water Dreams
[Recorded Between 1971 and 1972]
7. Walk Tall (Live)
[Recorded Live in 1976 - First Released in 2005]
8. I'm Gonna Make You Love
Me [First Released in 2005]
9. Wasn't I Your Friend
[First released 2009]
10. Miss Sun [Recorded 1980
- First released 2003]
18. All The Pieces -
Alternate Versions, Rarities And Mixes
(Disc 2, The Mixes, 9
tracks, 53:47 minutes)
1. Back In '67 [First
Version] - recorded between 1971 and 1972 - Alternate Version to the "Show
Your Hand" LP track
2. The Spirit Of Love [Radio
Short Version] - A-Side of the October 1989 UK 7" Single for "The
Spirit Of Love" on Polydor PO 56
3. The Spirit Of Love [Dance
Mix] - A-Side of the October 1989 UK 12" Single for "The Spirit Of
Love" on Polydor PZ 56
4. Let's Go Round Again [The
5. Livin' On Borrowed Time
[DJ Slok Remix]
6. Things [DJ PHILLY P &
Joey M Remix]
7. Stop The Rain [Supreme
8. Let's Go Round Again
[Cosmic Village Mix]
9. Let's Go Round Again
Dedicated to their drummer
and band founder-member Robbie McIntosh who died in 1974 from a spiked drink
just as the 'AWB' album was taking off - the 52-page booklet features JUSTIN M.
KANTOR liner notes on every LP - but oddly leaves out the "All The
Pieces" double set entirely. Each album is in a 5” card repro sleeve with
original artwork front and rear (gatefolds for “Feel No Fret” and the 2CD sets
“Person To Person” and “All The Pieces”) but no inners or inserts (each disc is
numbered). The mastering is by PHIL KINRADE (as it was on the 2009
"Collection" sets) and the material is licensed form Atlantic and
Rhino who reissued the bands catalogue in the 90's. Suffice to say that these
discs 'Funk' in all the right places and as you wade through them - you
remember with huge affection just how good AWB was. This is music that
transcends Soul, Funk or Rock – a musical hybrid of all three that hits the
mark more times than it misses. That the sporadic later albums maintain that
standard is pleasing - 90's and 00's updated variants of their famous 70ts and
All the charted single are
here - "Pick Up The Pieces" (1974), "Cut The Cake" (1975),
"Queen Of My Soul" (1976), ""Walk On By" and
"When Will You Be Mine" (1979) and "Let's Go Round Again"
and "For You For Love" (1980). But in-between the cracks you get
forgotten 7" single gems like their UK debut of Joe Sample's ludicrously
infectious "Put It Where You Want It" (the keyboardist with The
Crusaders) and the stunning "You Got It" which was the B-side of
"Pick Up The Pieces" in July 1974 (what a double-sider that was). Other
huge fan faves include "School Boy Crush" (November 1975), "If I
Ever Lose This Heaven" (August 1975), "A Love Of Your Own"
(December 1976) or the Gorrie/Stuart ballad "Cloudy" originally from
the "Cut The Cate" LP but brought out and lifted up into the
stratosphere for the brill live double "Person To Person". And any
variant of the sublime "Let's Go Round Again" is likely to have me
wiggling my aged booty in an undignified manner...no matter who's laughing...
But there's also hidden
album nuggets like the stunning Brass-Funk shuffle of "Goin' Home"
from the overlooked "Soul Searching" LP (they released a 'live'
variant of it in March 1977 in the UK on Atlantic K 10192) or the Arif Mardin
produced Philly Soulful "A Star in The Ghetto" with Ben E. King from
their collaboration album "Benny And Us" - an LP that featured Luther
Vandross on Backing Vocals before he brook through himself. Ned Doheny penned
the fabulous groove of "Get It Up For Love" - the opening track on
"Benny And Us" and from his own "Hard Candy" album from
1976 (see separate review). His songwriting knack would turn up big time with
"Whatcha Gonna Do For Me" - a co-write with AWB's Hamish Stuart.
Chaka Khan would name her entire 1981 Warner Brothers LP after the song. It
should have been released as a single and David Foster admits he made a big
mistake on that one (Christine Day does a great version of it on her 2004 CD
album "Cover My Soul"). The entire 'AWB' LP is a stone masterpiece to
me ("Word To Do" and "There's Always Someone Waiting") and
everyone else while the second RCA LP "Feel No Fret" thrills to this
day. I've loved that record with its cool gatefold and inner sleeve and winners
like the irrepressible 'sunlight in my eyes' of "Atlantic Avenue",
the drum shuffling heavy-on-the-bass Side 1 funk of "Feel No Fret"
and the very AWB 'get back home to you' joy of "Fire Burning" that
ends Side 2.
On 1977's "Warmer
Communication" they do a gorgeous cover version of James Taylor's
"Daddy's All Gone" from his overlooked 1976 LP "In The
Pocket" - a lyrical subject matter a travelling band must have identified
with. "Our Time Has Come" from "Shine" is the perfect
fusion of Funk and Soul and again should have been monster. "Miss
Sun" is one of four new tracks on the 1980 US-only LP compilation
"Volume III" and it's so damn good too. The 90's album "Soul
Tattoo" was a return to form (if they ever left) - a new set full of JB's
"Pick Up The Pieces" 70ts production values and songwriting nods to
that sound on "Back To Basics" and "Oh, Maceo". The 1982
set "Cupid's In Fashion" has always been seen as a 4-star blot on a
10-star track jotter but I like the two singles "You're My Number
One" and "I Believe" as well as the 'toss and turn every night'
sexiness of "Easier Said Than Done".
A cheaper alternative is
Edsel's own four-volume "The Collection" series put out April 2009 in
4 card-slip cases that make up an 'AWB' spine. Those four CD reissues contain
the first 13 albums (1973's "Show Your Hand" through to 1982's
"Cupid's In Fashion") as listed above and can be purchased for about
25 quid secondhand in total. But I'd advise go to thirty-five quid and get the
box with Discs 14 to 18 added on and that gorgeous presentation. The casual
buyer should just opt for either the "AWB – Deluxe Edition" or a
simple 2CD 'Best Of' that contains both the classic Atlantic and RCA Records
periods - of which there are loads for under a fiver.
When MCA Records talent
scouts at an Eric Clapton concert in 1973 got a load of the Scottish support
act AVERAGE WHITE BAND - a bunch of hairy white dudes who came on 'funky' like
a band of brothers born to it - they were smitten. And thus the AWB legend was
born. Clearly aimed at the completist and uber-fan - "All The Pieces"
has pride of place on my Soul shelf and I pet it every now and then with affection.
I suggest you get that bat crazy too...and check out their duet with Daryl Hall
at Daryl's House online doing "Pick Up The Pieces" - wow!