Sunday, February 2, 2014

Average White Band -- "Pick Up the Pieces" (1974)

Surprised to see a 2 or 3 lines that doesn't begin with two or three lines of song lyrics?

As I explained yesterday, this February's "29 Posts in 28 Days" features instrumentals -- songs without lyrics.  You'll have to wait until March for lyrics.

"Pick Up the Pieces" was one of the rare instrumentals that made it all the way to #1 on the Billboard "Hot 100" (displacing Linda Ronstadt's "You're No Good").

(Yep . . . they're white, all right.)
It was recorded by a half-dozen Scottish musicians who called themselves the Average White Band.  (Bonnie Bramlett of Delaney & Bonnie came up with the name.)  They were a great funk band despite being not only white but also from Scotland, which will never be mistaken for Detroit or Philadelphia or New York City or Los Angeles or Memphis when it comes to being a hotbed of soul music. 

But as Soul Train host Don Cornelius said when the Average White Band (known as "AWB" for short) appeared on his show, they played music "like they were raised on cornbread and black-eyed peas."

AWB continues to perform together, more than forty years after the group was formed.  Their music has been sampled on more than a hundred hip-hop songs -- you can't deny that they got rhythm.

AWB's original drummer, Robbie McIntosh, overdosed and died at a Los Angeles party just before the album containing "Pick Up the Pieces" was released in the fall of 1974.  Another AWB member, Alan Gorrie, overdosed at the same party, but Cher kept him conscious until help arrived.  

Presumably Cher didn't have to plunge a hypodermic of adrenaline into Gorrie's heart, as John Travolta did when Uma Thurman overdosed in the Pulp Fiction.

Here's "Pick Up the Pieces":

Here's "Pick Up the Pieces, One by One," a tongue-in-cheek reply song by James Brown's backup band, who called themselves "AABB," or "Above-Average Black Band":

Click below to buy "Pick Up the Pieces" from Amazon:

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