Category: average white band

Average White Band tenor saxophonist Malcolm “Molly” Duncan (born in Montrose, Angus, Scotland) – August 24, 1945 – October 8, 2019, RIP

On this day in music history: June 24, 1976 – “Soul Searching”, the fourth album by the Average White Band is released. Produced by Arif Mardin, it is recorded at Atlantic Studios in New York City in Early 1976. Still firmly in the groove figuratively and literally, AWB return to the studio with producer Arif Mardin. Looking to expand on their trademark funky sound, the band utilize various guest musicians to support them in the studio adding more horns courtesy of Randy (trumpet) and Michael Brecker (saxophone), Barry Rogers (trombone), Marvin Stamm (trumpet), Ronnie Cuber (baritone saxophone) (Mike Mainieri & Friends). Keyboardist Ken Bichel (synthesizers) and percussionist Carlos Martin also play on selected tracks. Rascals percussionist and vocalist Eddie Brigati and his brother David sing background vocals on the albums’ first single “Queen Of My Soul” (#21 R&B, #40 Pop). “Soul Searching” also marks the first songwriting collaboration between vocalist and guitarist Hamish Stuart and Ned Doheny. The pair write the soulful ballad “A Love Of Your Own” (#35 R&B), with the band originally recording it as a basic demo in Los Angeles. When they return to New York to cut the final version, changes made in the original demo arrangements prove to be unsatisfactory to everyone’s taste. So the decision is made to use sparer instrumentation on the track. The song goes on to be one of AWB’s best known and loved songs, and is covered numerous times including versions by Millie Jackson, The Ebonys and Howard Hewett. Co-writer Ned Doheny also records the song himself on his second album “Hard Candy” released later in 1976. AWB’s version is also sampled by AZ, Li’l Kim & Mona Lisa, and Yella Featuring B.G. Knocc Out. The deep track “Love Your Life”, issued as the B-side of the third single “Cloudy” also surfaces on a hip hop classic in later years. The songs’ driving horn riff appearing at approximately the three and a half minute mark, is sampled on A Tribe Called Quest’s “Check The Rhime” in 1991. Released exactly one year after “Cut The Cake”, “Searching” is another big hit for the Average White Band, becoming their third consecutive million seller. Though it marks the beginning of the end of the Scottish funk-soul bands commercial fortunes. Following the release of the album “Benny & Us”, a collaboration between AWB and Ben E. King, the shift in musical tastes as the disco era hits full stride in the latter half of the 70’s, the band suddenly find their sound out of popular favor. Still regarded as one of their best albums, “Soul Searching” is remastered and reissued on CD in 1993 as part of Rhino Records’ Atlantic & ATCO Remasters Series. “Soul Searching” peaks at number two on the Billboard R&B album chart, number ten on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: June 24, 1975 – “Cut The Cake”, the third studio album by the Average White Band is released. Produced by Arif Mardin, it is recorded at Atlantic Studios in New York City in Early 1975. Issued as the follow up to their highly successful second album, tensions run high in the studio for the Scottish R&B/Funk quintet. Still mourning the loss their friend and band mate drummer Robbie McIntosh (to an accidental drug overdose), and feeling the pressure to match the success of their breakthrough album, the surviving members battle each other over creative differences. The album is also the first to introduce new drummer Steve Ferrone, the only non-white member in the band, now lending greater irony to their name. Aided and abetted by Mardin’s solid and highly musical touch in the producer’s chair, it spins off three singles including “School Boy Crush” (#22 R&B, #33 Pop), “If I Ever Lose This Heaven” (#25 R&B, #39 Pop) and the title track (#7 R&B, #10 Pop). “School Boy Crush” later becomes a cornerstone break beat in hip hop, as it is sampled countless times over the years. Most notably, the track forms the basis of Eric B. & Rakim’s classic “Microphone Fiend” in 1988. It’s also sampled on Too Short’s “Life Is… Too Short”, Nas’ “Half Time” Big L’s “8 Iz Enuff”. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 1993 as part of Rhino Records’ Atlantic & ATCO Remasters Series. “Cut The Cake” spends one week at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number four on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: June 24, 1976 – “Soul Searching”, the fourth album by the Average White Band is released. Produced by Arif Mardin, it is recorded at Atlantic Studios in New York City in Early 1976. Still firmly in the groove figuratively and literally, AWB return to the studio with producer Arif Mardin. Looking to expand on their trademark funky sound, the band utilize various guest musicians to support them in the studio adding more horns courtesy of Randy (trumpet) and Michael Brecker (saxophone), Barry Rogers (trombone), Marvin Stamm (trumpet), Ronnie Cuber (baritone saxophone) (Mike Mainieri & Friends). Keyboardist Ken Bichel (synthesizers) and percussionist Carlos Martin also play on selected tracks. Rascals percussionist and vocalist Eddie Brigati and his brother David sing background vocals on the albums’ first single “Queen Of My Soul” (#21 R&B, #40 Pop). “Soul Searching” also marks the first songwriting collaboration between vocalist and guitarist Hamish Stuart and Ned Doheny. The pair write the soulful ballad “A Love Of Your Own” (#35 R&B), with the band originally recording it as a basic demo in Los Angeles. When they return to New York to cut the final version, changes made in the original demo arrangement during the tracking process prove to be unsatisfactory to everyone’s taste. So the decision is made to go back to the sparer instrumentation on the demo, and the final recording falls into place. The song goes on to be one of AWB’s best known and loved songs, and is covered numerous times including versions by Millie Jackson, The Ebonys and Howard Hewett. Co-writer Ned Doheny also records the song himself on his second album “Hard Candy” released later in 1976. AWB’s version is also sampled by AZ, Li’l Kim & Mona Lisa, and Yella Featuring B.G. Knocc Out. The deep track “Love Your Life”, issued as the B-side of the third single “Cloudy” also surfaces on a hip hop classic in later years. The songs’ driving horn riff appearing at approximately the three and a half minute mark, is sampled on A Tribe Called Quest’s “Check The Rhime” in 1991. Released exactly one year after “Cut The Cake”, “Searching” is another big hit for the Average White Band, becoming their third consecutive million seller. Though it marks the beginning of the end of the Scottish funk-soul bands commercial fortunes. Following the release of the album “Benny & Us”, a collaboration between AWB and Ben E. King, the shift in musical tastes as the disco era hits full stride in the latter half of the 70’s, the band suddenly find their sound out of popular favor. Still regarded as one of their best albums, “Soul Searching” is remastered and reissued on CD in 1993 as part of Rhino Records’ Atlantic & ATCO Remasters Series. “Soul Searching” peaks at number two on the Billboard R&B album chart, number ten on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: June 24, 1975 – “Cut The Cake”, the third studio album by the Average White Band is released. Produced by Arif Mardin, it is recorded at Atlantic Studios in New York City in Early 1975. Issued as the follow up to their highly successful second album, tensions run high in the studio for the Scottish R&B/Funk quintet. Still mourning the loss their friend and band mate drummer Robbie McIntosh (to an accidental drug overdose), and feeling the pressure to match the success of their breakthrough album, the surviving members battle each other over creative differences. The album is also the first to introduce new drummer Steve Ferrone, the only non-white member in the band, now lending greater irony to their name. Aided and abetted by Mardin’s solid and highly musical touch in the producer’s chair,  It spins off three singles including “School Boy Crush” (#22 R&B, #33 Pop), “If I Ever Lose This Heaven” (#25 R&B, #39 Pop) and the title track (#7 R&B, #10 Pop). “School Boy Crush” later becomes a cornerstone break beat in hip hop, as it is sampled countless times over the years. Most notably, the track forms the basis of Eric B. & Rakim’s classic “Microphone Fiend” in 1988. It’s also sampled on Too Short’s “Life Is… Too Short”, Nas’ “Half Time” Big L’s “8 Iz Enuff”. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 1993 as part of Rhino Records’ Atlantic & ATCO Remasters Series. “Cut The Cake” spends one week at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number four on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Born on this day: April 25, 1950 – Average White Band drummer Steve Ferrone (born Steven Ferrone in Brighton, UK). Happy 68th Birthday, Steve!!

On this day in music history: February 22, 1975 – “Pick Up The Pieces” by the Average White Band hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also peaking at #5 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written by Roger Ball and Hamish Stuart, it is the biggest hit for the Scottish soul band. Formed in Dundee, Scotland in 1972, the band quickly make a name for themselves, earning a spot as the opening act for Eric Clapton on his 1973 comeback performance at the Rainbow Theatre in London. The performance attracts the attention of MCA Records who put AWB under contract and in the studio to record their full length debut. The album titled “Show Your Hand” sells poorly and the band are dropped from the label. However, Clapton’s road manager Bruce McCaskill believes in their potential, offering to manage them and using his contacts to secure them another record deal. McCaskill helps AWB land a record deal with Atlantic Records, having them move to the United States. They are paired with producer Arif Mardin (The Rascals, Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler), and quickly get to work on their sophomore effort, recording at Atlantic Studios in New York City, and Criteria Studios in Miami, FL. Written by saxophonist Roger Ball and guitarist and vocalist Hamish Stuart, the funky instrumental is an immediate stand out durng the sessions. Issued as the first single from their second album, it initially goes unnoticed in the UK after its July 1974 release. When it is released in the US three months later, radio stations begin giving it airplay after breaking in dance clubs, and slowly builds up momentum. Entering the Hot 100 on December 7, 1974, it climbs to the top of the chart eleven weeks later. The success of “Pick Up The Pieces” also sends their second album “AWB” to number one on this date also, spending one week at the top, and selling over a million copies. “Pick Up The Pieces” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.