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4.6 out of 5 stars16
4.6 out of 5 stars
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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
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on 10 April 2009
I first heard the white album in my youth and have bought this in various formats, cassette,vinyl,cd and re-mastered cd. Will I be purchasing this version? You bet I will. It is still as good now as it was then. Pick up the pieces was heavily played on the airwaves however I admit to cranking the volume up for, Work To Do: You Got It: Got The Love: Person To Person. Thirty years can wizz by very quickly but at least there is always AWB to take me back to my youth. At this price treat yourself to some soul by Scotlands finest band.
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on 14 May 2009
If your collection lacks either 'Show Your Hand' or the White Album (so often wrongly billed as their first release) then this sensibly priced triple offering is an absolute must. Even staunch AWB followers like myself will discover tracks/versions of which they had no previous knowledge. The previously unreleased 'Look Out Now' is particularly impressive. Enjoy too the CD debut of the desperately under-rated single 'How Can You Go Home' (from the virtual re-hash of 'Show Your Hand', an album renamed 'Put It Where You Want It'). Why this wasn't a smash hit before 'Pick Up The Pieces' (on here too) was even created, I'll never know.
A truly great compilation - miss out on this at your peril!
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on 18 May 2009
Every AWB fan knows the White Album but not so many know the first album.This release shows that the talent was there right from the start.You know you're listening to a great album when the songs stand the test of time and boy these really do.Buy this and get the rest of the bargain releases from one of the great live bands (and still gigging somewhere near you)
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on 6 October 2009
The AWB debut album was not a huge success on its release but it has aged very well. There are also a bunch of bonus track on the here from the debut album sessions that reveal the band startingb to find their fet in the studio. Clearly, however, their original record label, MCA, did not really put their back into the production and marketing of the band so that their proposed second album, which is here in full for the first time, was rejected by the label. When they then moved Atlantic they re-recorded most of those track for the seminal AWB (The White Album). The difference is most obviously shown on the track that continues to define AWB, Pick Up The Pieces. The How Sweet Can You Get version is pretty good but then put on the famous AWB version and it is like a light being switched on.

This is an amazing record of a band realising its potential
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on 8 July 2009
The Average White Bands first three albums on a 2cd package only enhances the bands reputation as being anything other than average.The bands music on this set is still as fresh today as it has always been & confirms there status os one of the best R&B bands to come from these shores.On a par with any American artist(s).Definitely one for your collection.
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on 5 December 2013
AVERAGE THIS BAND IS NOT! However I bought this triple album set for one reason only really since I already have the other two which was to at last get my hands on "SHOW YOUR HAND" being their first and for me their absolute best album from this not so average band! I had been looking for ages to try and find "SHOW YOUR HAND" but it was if it had vanished from the planet! So to say I was absolutely delighted to find it in this terrific compilation has to be an understatement!! I have no reservations in giving this compilation my highest recommendation!!
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on 5 September 2014
Apart from "Pick Up the Pieces" I didn't know any tracks by the AWB. This is a great value item. Three albums on two CDs. Itmust be pointed out that the AWB were excellent musicians. If you want some AWB to add to your collection you cannot really go wrong with this CD. Although these albums are nearly forty years old they don't sound dated at all.
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on 13 January 2011
I saw the AWB on whistle test and on the strength of that I went out and bought "Show Your Hand" on vinyl. It was never off the record player sharing time with "Dark Side Of The Moon" and "Johnny Winter And Live". I now have a large vinyl and cd collection (vinyl is my preferred option) and this album still gets played regularly. In fact everytime I upgrade my hifi system this is one of the first records I play to appreciate the improvements. Just a great album. I also bought the "AWB" record when that came out which is great but I prefer "Show Your Hand".
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on 26 February 2013
How good can this get! Brilliant white/northern soul, and it can only be value for money. Some brilliant tracks, which when listened to will bring back memories of the era in which it was produced. What more can I say. If you are a fan of this genre it would be silly NOT to get it.
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