Average White Band Let's Go Round Again: The Best of the Average White Band Review

Compilation. Released 2009.  

BBC Review

The greatest purveyors of Scottish soul funk in the world!

Chris Jones 2009

Formed in 1971, it's a bizarre sign of those far off times that the very thought of a Scottish soul band being able to cut it in a market that was predominantly black and American should lead them to adopt such a self-effacing name. Truth be told, the stew of horns, popping bass and heartfelt vocals was every inch the equal of their spiritual cousins across the Atlantic. Let's Go Round Again, a digital hoovering up of their choicest cuts from the glory years, is all the proof you need.

Ironically, MCA's near-criminal inability to sell the band's first album (Show Your Hand, whose cheeky Put It Where You Want It opens proceedings) led to the band being snapped up by the USA's premier soul label, Atlantic. Their second effort, AWB, was produced by the legendary Arif Mardin (as were many more) and almost instantly yielded several classics that would become the band's calling cards for years. Chief amongst these is, of course, the mighty Pick Up The Pieces. A DJ's saving grace when all else fails, its snappy horn riff and hi-hat driven funk is as perfect as anything the Meters would ever serve up. The album is also plundered here for You Got it and Person To Person; more soul gold, which was to be the trend over the next few years.

Cut The Cake's title track was an obvious attempt to recreate the perfection of Pick Up The Pieces. A foolhardy wish, but still a stupendously funky attempt. This album along with its follow up Soul Searching remain peerless examples of danceable soul.

Their sound inevitably became more disco-fied as the decade wore on; Queen Of My Soul being an early dance floor classic. As such the band's stock remained high in the States, allowing them to coast into the 80s on classics as tasty as Let's Go Round Again. Still performing (albeit with only two original members) to this day, there's little on this collection that's not grade A funk. It's a timely reminder of how great soul can come from anywhere in the world.

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