This is the first of four UK-only 2CD sets covering the entire Average White Band catalogue from their UK MCA debut in 1973 right through to their wicked RCA period in 1980/1981. Reissued by Britain's rated and respected EDSEL label (this is Edsel EDSD 2030), it doesn't take a particular genius to work out from the crammed CDs that there's an awful lot of goodies on offer here - gems from a hugely under-appreciated Scottish soul band.
Here's a detailed breakdown...
Disc 1 (56: 45 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 8 are their debut album "Show Your Hands" originally issued in June 1973 on MCA Records MUPS 486 in the UK and on MCA MAPS 6694 in the USA.
[Note: on the back of their second album's success (the "Pick Up The Pieces" "Average White Band" album), "Hands" was then given a different name and reissued in the USA in April 1975 as "Put It Where You Want It" with the opening song "The Jugglers" replaced by "How Can You Go Home"].
Tracks 9 to 16 are bonus tracks, most new to CD. "Reach Out", "The Jugglers" and "Back In '67" are "First Versions" recorded in London in 1971 and 1972. "How Can You Go Home" was issued as a NON-LP 7" single on MCA Records MCA 102 in the UK in January 1974 with 1973's "Twilight Zone" on the B-side (it was in itself reissued as MCA 186 in 1975 with the same tracks).
Disc 2 (79:50 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 10 are their 2nd and most famous album "Average White Band" (also known as The White Album because of its distinctive plain artwork) issued on Atlantic K 50058 in July 1974 in the UK and as "AWB" in the USA on Atlantic SD-7308 in September 1974 (it reached number 1 in the USA, and number 6 in the UK in early 1975)
Tracks 11 to 20 are "The Clovis Sessions" CD on the Deluxe Edition of "Average White Band" from 2003 renamed here as a 'missing' album, "How Sweet Can You Get?"
There's a card wrap on the outside (all four spines make up the famous "AWB" logo), a 20-page booklet on the inside with liner notes by noted soul expert and writer TONY ROUNCE with contributions from key band members - Alan Gorrie, Onnie McIntyre and Hamish Stuart. The mastering was done by ALCHEMY in London and the sound is similar to the superb Rhino remasters of 1993 - warm, ballsy and in your face for all the right reasons. There's also a huge and noticeable difference between the very airy production values of their UK debut and the glossy but beautiful polish on the second album by famed American producer ARIF MARDIN. But the truth is - it all sounds spiffing...
It's worth pointing out that if you already own the Deluxe of AWB from 2003, there is only Disc 1 to be interested in - but the music is still great.
That the Scottish are as funky as f**k should surprise no one (John Martyn, Cado Belle, Love And Money, Hue & Cry - even The Blue Nile funk with the best of them), but they all have one common thread - SOUL - it may be white boy's soul - but it's soul - par excellence.
Retailing at ten pounds in a megastore, I've seen this 2CD set online for as little as a fiver, which is ludicrously great value for money.
The Average White Band were always the business - and even possess what is arguably the coolest name ever given to a rock group in the history of the world.
Don't be a wee timorous beastie and get this into your life...recommended big time.
PS: the other titles in this series are:
1. The Collection Volume Two
Features "Cut The Cake" (1975), "Soul Searching" (1976) and "Benny & Us" (1977), 3 full albums on 2CDs - Edsel EDSD 2031
2. The Collection Volume Three
Features "Person To Person" (1977 2LP Live Set) and "Warmer Communications" (1978), 3 full albums with 2 Bonus Tracks on 2CDs - Edsel EDSD 2032
3. The Collection Volume Four
Features "Feel No Fret" (1979), "Volume 8" (Volume III from 1980 expanded), "Shine" (1980) and "Cupid's In Fashion", 4 Albums Worth Across 2CDs - Edsel EDSD 2033