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Cut the Cake

Average White Band

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Album Review

In the informative liner notes that he wrote for Rhino's early-'90s reissue of Cut the Cake, writer A. Scott Galloway explains that this excellent album was recorded under less-than-ideal circumstances. The Average White Band's original drummer, Robbie McIntosh, died of a heroin overdose in 1974, and the surviving members were still in mourning when they started working on their third album, Cut the Cake (which originally came out on LP in 1975). Steve Ferrone, a black drummer from London, England, was hired as a replacement — ironically, he became the first black member of a Scottish soul/funk band that had a very African-American sound and a largely African-American following. Despite the fact that AWB's members still had McIntosh's death on their minds when they were writing and recording Cut the Cake, this isn't a depressing or consistently melancholy album; far from it. In fact, parts of the album are downright fun, especially up-tempo funk gems like "School Boy Crush," "Groovin' the Night Away" and the hit title song (which made it to number seven on Billboard's R&B singles chart). Cut the Cake is also the album that gave us the ballad "Cloudy" (one of the more melancholy tracks) and AWB's version of "If I Ever Lose This Heaven," a smooth soul classic that was originally recorded by Quincy Jones in 1973. The song wasn't a chart-buster — it peaked at number 25 on Billboard's R&B singles chart — but it did become a favorite among AWB fans and enjoyed a lot of exposure on quiet storm formats. AWB's members certainly don't sound like they're in mourning on Cut the Cake. If anything, they honor McIntosh's memory by showing their resilience and delivering one of their finest, most engaging albums.

Biography

Formed: 1972 in Glasgow, Scotland

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Their self-effacing name to the contrary, Average White Band was anything but — one of the few white groups to cross the color line and achieve success and credibility playing funk, with their tight, fiery sound also belying their Scottish heritage, evoking American R&B hotbeds like Detroit, Memphis, and Philadelphia instead. Singer/bassist Alan Gorrie, guitarists Hamish Stuart and Onnie McIntyre, tenor saxophonist Malcolm Duncan, keyboardist/saxophonist Roger Ball, and drummer Robbie McIntosh...
Full bio
Cut the Cake, Average White Band
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