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Average White Band Line Up “All the Pieces” for New Box Set

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AWB Box shotFrom their million-selling U.S. No. 1 hit “Pick Up the Pieces” to a slew of soulful albums that have served as the backbone for countless hip-hop greats, Scottish funk outfit Average White Band have been long overdue for a proper catalogue rediscovery – something the fine folks at Edsel are doing with an exhaustive 19-disc box set, All the Pieces: The Complete Studio Recordings 1971-2003.

The AWB – first comprised on record of bassist/guitarist/vocalists Alan Gorrie and Hamish Stuart, “Dundee Horns” Malcolm Duncan and Roger Ball, drummer Robbie McIntosh and guitarist Onnie McIntyre, first rose to prominence as a support act for Eric Clapton in 1973; a failed album on MCA nonetheless attracted the attention of Clapton’s manager, Bruce McCaskill, who got the band a deal with Atlantic Records. Arif Mardin personally produced the band’s biggest hits, including acclaimed sophomore album AWB. A crucial lineup change occurred during the band’s hit period, when an overdose killed McIntosh; he was replaced by acclaimed session drummer Steve Ferrone. The band would disband in the early ’80s, with Stuart joining Paul McCartney’s touring ensemble; Gorrie, McIntyre, Ball and Santana drummer Alex Ligertwood recorded 1988’s Aftershock, and several albums with shifting lineups ensued through the self-released Living in Colour in 2003. Gorrie and McIntyre continue to lead a lineup of AWB in concerts through Europe.

All the Pieces contains all of the band’s studio albums, including both 1973 debut Show Your Hand and revised reissue Put It Where You Want It (1975), hits AWB (1974) and Cut the Cake (1975), double live Person to Person (1976), Benny and Us, a 1977 collaboration with Ben E. King, the half-new album/half-compilation Volume VIII (1980), a bonus disc of pre-Atlantic AWB outtakes released in 2003 and two discs of rare alternate takes and dance remixes. If you’re looking to dive in and, well, pick everything up, now’s the time to do so!

The box is available today in the U.K.; full specs and pre-order links are after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

July 15, 2014 at 11:17

Release Round-Up: Week of July 15

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AWB BoxAverage White Band, All the Pieces: The Complete Studio Recordings 1971-2003 (Edsel)

Nineteen discs of AWB goodness, including two discs of rarities? Now that’s something to blow your horn over. Full specs will be posted later today. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Coltrane SidemanJohn Coltrane and Friends, Sideman: Trane’s Blue Note Sessions (Blue Note)

Three discs of ‘Trane’s time as a sideman, with performances by Miles and Monk, all in glorious mono. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Garcia Live 4The Jerry Garcia Band, Garcia Live Volume 4: March 22, 1978 – Veteran’s Hall (ATO)

The latest volume in this official vintage live series is an unreleased, double-disc show of Garcia and band (including fellow Dead Keith and Donna Jean Godchaux) in Sebastopol, California. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Written by Mike Duquette

July 15, 2014 at 08:08

Mary Wells, Ben E. King, Johnnie Taylor Join Kent’s Celebration of “The Phillip Mitchell Songbook”

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Something New to Do - Phillip Mitchell Songbook“Prince” Phillip Mitchell is in some mighty good company.  The Kentucky-born singer and songwriter, who rose to prominence composing songs for deeply soulful artists including Millie Jackson and Bobby Womack, is the latest to receive a career retrospective from Ace Records’ Songwriters and Producers series.  With the Ace/Kent release of Something New to Do: The Phillip Mitchell Songbook (CDKEND 394), he joins such illustrious talents as Dan Penn, Burt Bacharach, Randy Newman, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and Carole King and Gerry Goffin.  The 21-track overview features songs by both Jackson and Womack along with Ben E. King, Joe Simon, Mary Wells, Candi Staton, Bobby Sheen and many more who benefited from Mitchell’s gift of song.  As Mitchell’s name isn’t as famous as any of the above-named writers or artists, Kent’s new collection of his underrated catalogue is long overdue and well worth exploring.

Mitchell expertly crafted a bevy of songs of love lost and found that, while frequently wrenching, were still wrapped in up-tempo grooves.  His southern soul compositions were recorded by a Who’s Who of artists at most of R&B’s pre-eminent labels: Atlantic, Hi, Stax and Malaco among them.  Before he joined The Spinners, Missouri-born John Edwards wrapped his pipes around Mitchell’s “Cold Hearted Woman” for Aware Records. “I can’t believe it, you’re so evil!  How you can just walk out on me/Never look back to see me grieving…,” Edwards wails over a slinky track that would make Al Green proud.  Though this fine recording sat on a shelf until Kent’s excavation in 1996, Edwards did well for himself as the voice of Michael Zager-produced Spinners hits like “Working My Back to You/Forgive Me Girl” and “Cupid/I’ve Loved You for a Long Time.”  Another shelved recording, Garland Green’s “(You Gotta) Come Through Me,” was cut in 1975 but not released until 1990.  It’s packed with pop crossover appeal, boasting a catchy melody and tight arrangement.  Its sinuous horns could have come from one of Isaac Hayes’ Shaft-era projects, and Green delivers with a typically potent vocal performance.

One of Mitchell’s most important musical associations was with Mel & Tim, the Stax singing-cousins duo.  Mel & Tim recorded no fewer than five Mitchell songs on their Stax LP debut, including the selection here, “Free for All (Winner Take All).”  Ernie Shelby’s “Carry Me” also has a Stax flavor, and it’s no surprise that it was another Mitchell composition recorded by Mel & Tim.  Perhaps the duo’s most famous Mitchell song is “Starting All Over Again,” a 1972 Top 20 Pop/Top 5 R&B hit.  Rather than opt for that hit version, the compilers here have chosen a fine cover by Stax labelmate Johnnie Taylor.

Keep reading after the jump, where you’ll find more including the track listing with discography and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 15, 2013 at 13:07