Formed in Glasgow in the early seventies, they were the natural culmination of several soul-influenced Scottish groups doing the rounds at the time. The original members were Mike Rosen (trumpet and guitar, later replaced by Hamish Stuart), "Onnie" McIntyre on guitar, Alan Gorrie on bass and vocals, Malcolm Duncan on sax, Robbie McIntosh on drums (he died on 23/09/1974 in the US) and Roger Ball on saxes and keyboards. Although their debut album, "Show Your Hand", which came out in 1973 showed real promise, it was only when they signed to Atlantic Records the following year that their potential blossomed. Their first album for their new label, ''AWB'', or "The White Album", as it was also known, was released in 1974. It contained what was to become one of their most famous and best charting tracks, "Pick up the Pieces". The band were on a serious high, but came down to earth with a big bang following the death, by a heroin overdose, (another one of those schmucks), of Robbie McIntosh in September of that year. His replacement was the tremendously talented Steve Ferrone, a former member of Bloodstone. They went on to record a number of charting albums and singles, including an album with Ben.E.King, which did fairly well. The mid to late eighties was a pretty quite time for the AWB, as many of the members pursued individual projects, the most surprising of which was Ferrone working with Duran Duran! Stuart worked with Paul McCartney. Their "Aftershock" album, released in 1989, featured vocalist Alex Ligertwood, well known for his work with Brian Auger and Santana. The band seemed to split for a while but came back with the excellent "Soul Tattoo" album in 1996. This album feature McIntyre, Ball and Gorrie, together with newer members Pete Abbott and Eliot Lewis. The same line-up, with the addition of Fred Vigdor in place of Roger Ball, featured on 1999's excellent "Face to Face" live album. This bands till cook, big time!

Average White Band 
Average White Band - Cut the Cake, the title track of their third album, released in 1975. The AWB is the subject of this week's Dino Quiz (number 196), and a copy of "Pickin' up the Pieces - The best of A verage White Band", is the giveaway prize. Although very US West coast sounding, the AWB were actually from Scotland, where they were formed in the early 70's. They're probably best known for their worldwide hit, "Pick up the Pieces", which reached number one in the US and number 10 in the UK, a lthough they've released many other excellent numbers and albums. They've been well documented elsewhere in these pages, so can read up on them there. 

 

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Biography by Jason Ankeny
Their self-effacing name to the contrary, Average White Band was anything but — one of the few white groups to cross the color line and achieve success and credibility playing funk, with their tight, fiery sound also belying their Scottish heritage, evoking American R&B hotbeds like Detroit, Memphis, and Philadelphia instead. Singer/bassist Alan Gorrie, guitarists Hamish Stuart and Onnie McIntyre, tenor saxophonist Malcolm Duncan, keyboardist/saxophonist Roger Ball, and drummer Robbie McIntosh comprised the original Average White Band lineup. Veterans of numerous Scottish soul and jazz groups, they made their debut in 1973 as the opening act at Eric Clapton's Rainbow Theatre comeback gig, soon issuing their debut LP, Show Your Hand, to little notice. After adopting the abbreviated moniker AWB, a year later the band issued their self-titled sophomore effort, topping the American pop charts with the Arif Mardin-produced instrumental "Pick Up the Pieces." The record's mammoth success was nevertheless tempered by the September 23, 1974 death of McIntosh, who died at a Hollywood party after overdosing on heroin.

Ex-Bloodstone drummer Steve Ferrone replaced McIntosh for AWB's third album, 1975's Cut the Cake, which scored a Top Ten hit with its title track as well as two other chart entries, "If I Ever Lose This Heaven" and "School Boy Crush." (Put It Where You Want It, issued later that same year, was simply a retitled and repackaged Show Your Hand.) With 1976's Soul Searching, the group reclaimed the full Average White Band name, scoring their final Top 40 hit with "Queen of My Soul." Following the live Person to Person, they issued Benny & Us, a collaboration with soul legend Ben E. King. However, after subsequent outings, including 1978's Warmer Communications, 1979's Feel No Fret, and 1980's Shine, failed to recapture the energy of AWB's peak, the group dissolved in 1982, with Ferrone later joining Duran Duran and Stuart recording with Paul McCartney. Gorrie, Ball, and McIntyre reformed Average White Band in 1989, tapping vocalist Alex Ligertwood for their comeback effort Aftershock. Oft-sampled by hip-hop producers throughout the 1990s, the group continued touring prior to releasing Soul Tattoo in 1996. The live album, Face to Face, followed three years later. 

 

Alan Gorrie
Roger Ball
Malcolm Duncan
Steve Ferrone
Alex Ligertwood
Robbie McIntosh
Onnie McIntyre
Hamish Stuart

MFSB
The Sound of Philadelphia
Lenny Pickett
Brian Auger
Mogul Thrash
The Isley Brothers
Dan Hartman
Dream Police
Rufus
Cold Blood
The Memphis Horns
Sly & the Family Stone
Kool & the Gang
Brass Construction
Bohannon
B.T. Express
The J.B.'s
George Clinton
War
Slave
Parliament

If you have any contribution to make to this band or something to add, email me - Japie Marais.

 

 

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Average White Band - 1973 - Show Your Hand - 3.5/5

Average White Band - 1974 - AWB - 4.5/5

Average White Band - 1975 - Cut the Cake - 3.5/5

Average White Band - 1975 - Put It Where You Want It - 4/5

Average White Band - 1976 - Soul Searching - 4/5

Average White Band - 1977 - Benny & Us - 2.5/5

Average White Band - 1977 - Person to Person - 3/5

Average White Band - 1978 - Warmer communications - 4/5

Average White Band - 1979 - Feel No Fret - 2.5/5

Average White BAnd - 1980 - Shine - 2/5

Average White Band - 1982 - Cupid's in Fashion - 1/5

Average White Band - 1989 - Aftershock - 1/5

Average White Band - 1995 - Live on the Test - 2.5/5

Average White Band - 1997 - Soul Tattoo - 2.5/5

Average White Band - 1999 - Face to Face Live - 2.5/5

Rating

 

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