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Average White Band (also AWB) is a Scottish funk and R&B band that had a series of soul and disco hits between 1974 and 1980. They are best known for their million-selling instrumental track "Pick Up the Pieces", and their albums AWB and Cut the Cake. The band name was initially proposed by Bonnie Bramlett. They have influenced others such as the Brand New Heavies, and been sampled by various musicians including the Beastie BoysTLCThe BeatnutsToo ShortIce CubeEric B. & RakimNas, and A Tribe Called Quest, as well as Arrested Development[1] — making them the fifteenth most sampled act in history.[2] As of 2012, forty years after their formation, they continue to perform.

ContentsEdit

 [hide*1 Career

Career[edit]Edit

AWB was formed in early 1972[3] by Alan Gorrie,[4] and Malcolm "Molly" Duncan, with Onnie McIntyre,[5] Michael Rosen (trumpet), Roger Ball, and Robbie McIntosh[6] joining them in the original line-up. Hamish Stuart [7] quickly replaced Rosen. Duncan and Ball, affectionately known as the Dundee Horns, studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art (now part of the University of Dundee), and were previously members of Mogul Thrash. Gorrie and McIntyre had been members of Forever More. McIntyre and McIntosh were used as session musicians on Chuck Berry's recording of "My Ding-a-Ling".[3]

The band's breakthrough was a support slot at Eric Clapton's comeback concert in 1973. MCA Records released their debut album, Show Your Hand (1973), which sold poorly.[8] Bruce McCaskill, who was 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 Los Angeles and released the follow-up, AWB, better known as The White Album. It reached #1 and was the first of many with renowned producerArif Mardin.[8]

McIntosh died of a heroin overdose at a Los Angeles party on 23 September 1974.[1][8] Gorrie also overdosed, but Cher kept him conscious until medical help arrived.[9] The NME reported in January 1975 that AWB played a benefit show for McIntosh's widow at the Marquee Club in London.[10] McIntosh was replaced by Steve Ferrone (previously of Bloodstone, and, like McIntosh, previously with Brian Auger's Oblivion Express.[1]

In 1975, the single "Pick Up the Pieces" - taken from the #1 AWB album - reached #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song knocked Linda Ronstadt's "You're No Good" out of #1 and sold over one million copies. It was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in March 1975.[11] It also prompted The J.B.'s, the backup band of the "Godfather of Soul", James Brown, to record and release a song in reply, "Pick Up the Pieces, One by One", under the name AABB (Above Average Black Band). It was both a tribute to AWB's knowledge of funk and a tongue-in-cheek play on the Scottish band's name.

AWB followed up with the LPs Cut the Cake (1975) and Soul Searching (1976), both big sellers and yielding further Top 40 singles. Cut the Cake was dedicated by the surviving band members to McIntosh's memory. Their next LP, Benny & Us, was a collaboration with Ben E. King.[8]

After several more albums, AWB's audience and sales dwindled. Their 1980 disco hit "Let's Go Round Again" (UK #12),[12] was covered in the late 1990s by Louise. The group initially disbanded by 1983.

Ferrone went on to work with Duran Duran whilst Hamish Stuart joined Paul McCartney's touring group.[8] In 1985 Gorrie released a solo album, Sleepless Nights.

Gorrie, McIntyre, and Ball reunited in 1989 to record AftershockAlex Ligertwood (ex-Santana and Jeff Beck Group) also appeared on this album replacing lead singer Hamish Stuart, along with Eliot Lewis who co-wrote with Gorrie and joined the band as well. Ligertwood left after the album's recording and drummer Tiger McNeil joined for the reunited band's live shows. McNeil was with the group until 1994. He was then succeeded by Peter Abbott (ex-Blood Sweat and Tears), who in turn was replaced by Fred "Catfish" Alias in September 1998. Drummer Adam Deitch did a two year stint with AWB from 1999 to 2001.

Average White Band has continued recording (1997's Soul Tattoo, 1999's Face to Face) and touring since. Ball worked on Soul Tattoo with the group but was replaced by Fred Vigdor (aka Freddy V.) in 1996.

Brian Dunne took over the drum chair in 2001 and when Eliot Lewis left the band in September 2002 to pursue other musical opportunities (including a stint with Hall and Oates), he was replaced by Klyde Jones.[13]

Their line-up as of 2002 became Alan Gorrie (bass guitar, guitar, lead and backing vocals), Klyde Jones (keyboards, bass guitar, guitar, lead and backing vocals), Onnie McIntyre (guitar, vocals), Freddy V (sax, keyboards, vocals), and Brian Dunne (drums).

Dunne was replaced by Rocky Bryant as drummer as of the 2006 tour. And after Jones left in 2011 to join Hall and Oates, Monte Croft (keyboards, bass, guitar) and former Earth Wind and Fire memberMorris Pleasure (keyboards, bass, guitar) came in to do brief stints before Rob Aries arrived in 2013.

Brent Carter (ex-Tower of Power) has been singing with AWB since 2011.

Gorrie and McIntyre are the only remaining original members of the band.

Members[edit]Edit

Current members
  • Alan Gorrie - bassguitar, vocals (1972-1983, 1989-present)
  • Onnie McIntyre - vocalsrhythm guitar (1972-1983, 1989-present)
  • Fred Vigdor - saxophone, keyboards (1996-present)
  • Rocky Bryant - drums (2006-present)
  • Brent Carter - vocals (2011-present)
  • Rob Aries - keyboards, bass (2013-present)
Former members

Discography[edit]Edit

Studio albums[edit]Edit

Year Album UK US
1973 Show Your Hand - 391
1974 AWB 6 1
1975 Cut the Cake 28 4
1976 Soul Searching 60 9
1977 Benny & Us - 33
1978 Warmer Communications - 28
1979 Feel No Fret 15 32
1980 Shine 14 116
1982 Cupid's in Fashion - -
1989 Aftershock - -
1997 Soul Tattoo - -
2003 Living In Colour - -

Notes

  • 1 Charted in 1975 when re-issued as Put It Where You Want It.

Live albums[edit]Edit

Year Album UK US
1976 Person To Person - 28
1999 Face To Face - -
2006 Soul & The City - -
2009 Times Squared - -

Compilation albums[edit]Edit

Year Album UK US
1980 Volume VIII - 182
1994 Let's Go Round Again 38 -
2005 Greatest & Latest - -

Charted singles[edit]Edit

Year Single UK US R&B AUS
1974 "Pick Up The Pieces" 6 1 5 38
1975 "Cut The Cake" 31 10 7 -
"If I Ever Lose This Heaven" - 39 25 -
"School Boy Crush" - 33 22 -
1976 "Queen Of My Soul" 23 40 21 -
"A Love Of Your Own" - - 35 -
1977 "Cloudy" - - 55 -
"Get It Up" - - 21 -
1978 "Your Love Is A Miracle" - - 33 -
1979 "Walk On By" 46 92 - -
"When Will You Be Mine?" 49 - 33 -
1980 "Let's Go Round Again" 12 53 33 -
"For You For Love" 46 - 60 -
1994 "Let's Go Round Again" (remix) 56 - - -

Other contributions[edit]Edit

Bibliography[edit]Edit

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