Old/New Albums: Average White Band’s “AWB”

AWBWhy didn’t I fall in love AWB? It is a very fine album of R&B/soul/funk music from 1974. You’ve got great performances by all band members, a huge hit single in “Pick Up The Pieces,” and even a ringing endorsement by the number one authority on all things music, Ahmir Questlove Thompson (who calls Average White Band his favorite band of all time. Big words).

I think that for me, this album just never landed, never really caught my ear. Again, there are some great tunes on here, but nothing seemed particularly mind-blowing. Not that music always has to blow your mind, and oddly enough, I think that’s where the strength is found here.

This album is full of incredibly well-played and catchy tunes. It’s all very good. Songs like “Keepin’ It To Myself” and “Nothing You Can Do” are really well put-together. There are grooves for days on this album, but they never quite reach the stratosphere for me.

I’d say that’s more a reflection on me than the music though. If I was able to dissect this album with the ears of a DJ or had the tools to listen to the instruments individually, I’m sure I’d be blown away with how smooth the entire record sounds.

Ultimately, this is an album more geared towards grooves than hooks. Obviously, “Pick Up The Pieces” falls in the hooks category, but the rest of the album is full of some slow-burning grooves.

Take a song like “Got The Love.” Once I popped on my noise-canceling headphones, this song showed me what it had to offer. The rhythm guitar is so insanely clear and detailed, even when underneath the wah-wah-effect guitar part. Oftentimes in this genre, it can be hard for me to actually pick out rhythm guitar parts when they’re buried in layers of other instruments.

But AWB is full of songs that have just the right amount of everything. If you’re looking for some smooth ‘70s R&B/soul, you’ve found your album.

Top 3 Tunes:

  1. Pick Up The Pieces
  2. Nothing You Can Do
  3. Keepin’ It To Myself

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