The Average White Band
Listen/Download – The Average White Band – TLC – MP3
I hope that everyone is well.
I’m sliding toward the middle of the week, having witnessed a brief surge in energy (accumulated over the weekend) dissipate rapidly. It’s one of those things where you feel like you have a handle on everything with just a little but left to spare, then you turn your back for a minute and the next thing you know you’re flat on your ass looking for a nice soft blanket to wrap yourself in.
The good thing is, we have ourselves some music with which to soothe the savage within us all (on account of that’s how we roll at Funky16Corners).
The tune I bring you today is yet another record that made the return trip with me from Washington, DC.
I can’t remember if I’ve gone into detail on this specific subject before (it’s like that when you get old and crusty), but I certainly have addressed the subject in general terms, that being the undeniable quality of what one might refer to as “obvious”, common, cheap, popular records. One such record, that I always carry with me in the DJ box, which meets all of those criteria, and carries with it a certain amount of other baggage, yet is completely and utterly unfuckwithable, is ‘Pick Up the Pieces’ by the Average White Band.
The record I speak of – which ironically enough is not the record I bring you today, but bear with me because clarification is forthcoming – was a major hit in 1975, right on the cusp of my passage from youthful Top 40 listening into FM rock radio. It is one of the finest bits of late-period funk, and the fact that such a record was created by a bunch of (mostly) pale, freckled Scotsmen upset no less an authority than the Godfather of Soul, who was so aggrieved that he created the A.A.B.B. (Above Average Black Band, essentially the JBs) and whipped out an answer record called ‘Pick Up the Pieces One By One’ (read more here).
Anyway, while I was digging in DC, I came across an AWB album that I had never seen, and picked it up because it contained a cover of the Crusaders’ ‘Put It Where You Want It’. I get the record home, give it a spin and discover that while I dig that cover, my favorite track on the album is the song we bring you today, namely ‘TLC’.
I set to doing some research, and discover that what I had in my hands was in fact a 1975 repackaging of the group’s debut LP from 1973. The AWB was initially signed to MCA, released the album ‘Show Your Hand’*, moved on to Atlantic where they hit with ‘Pick Up the Pieces’, after which the folks at MCA, knowing an opportunity when they saw it, re-released the album under the title ‘Put It Where You Want It’.
That’s the record I found.
That said, today’s selection, ‘TLC’ is a tasty bit of laid back funk, with some snappy drums, sleek horns and a chugging guitar/bass/keys rhythm section. It’s a nice, long jam (clocking in around the eight-minute mark), and while no sane person would expect it to make the impression that ‘Pick Up the Pieces’ did, it is nonetheless very groovy, and further proof that the AWB had plenty of stuff to back up the big hit.
I hope you dig it and I’ll be back on Friday.
*’Show Your Hand’ was released with what some might consider to be an offensive cover, featuring a cartoon of a white-face Golliwog popping out of a jack in the box. When MCA re-released the album the Golliwog was replaced with a shot of a female torso.
PS Where my peeps at? Hardly any comments in the last week. Are we not feeling the selections???