Posts Tagged ‘summer


Average White Band “Soul Searching”

It’s hard to figure out why I like this record so much, because for one thing, it’s AWB, after all, a band I never liked. But this turned out to be my summer record this year—that happens sometimes—a single record becomes the soundtrack for an entire season. It’s usually summer, when you’re lazier, slower moving, and the right thing just settles into your heat-compromised brain. My notes on this record are as follows, starting with July 8, 2008: “Overture” is my favorite. It’s not bad. Good. Too hot to really think soundtrack. Lot’s of band-in-the-studio pics. Good basketball music. I’m obsessed with it. Best: “Overture,” “I’m the One” (15-60-75), “Sunny Days”—great soul song. (End of notes.)

I’m not totally convinced that they sound much like 15-60-75 (The Numbers Band) but that one song always makes me think of them. The odd thing about liking this record so much is I am well aware of being at aesthetic odds with a lot of musical choices they make: in chord changes and progressions, in instrumentation, and in production. I like some songs way more than others. And still, I really like the record as a whole. It works really well as a record, from beginning to end. It goes from nostalgic to corny to boring to exciting and emotional, but it all works together.

“A Love of Your Own” is a really nice song. “Goin’ Home” has some really excellent repetition—to the extent that I had to check, the first couple of times I heard it, to see if the record was skipping. “I’m the One” and “Sunny Days” are my favorites. The song “Soul Searching” sounds like the title song for a 70s TV show about three guys (a hot headed handsome Italian-American, a freckly, goofy Irish-American with a huge afro, and a calm, articulate African-American) who travel the California coast in a flower-power dune buggy searching for the perfect wave, but finding trouble everywhere they go. They end up solving a lot of people’s life crisis’s, while teaching them not to be racist, to be open-minded and spiritual, and to generally chill out and laugh at things while still being serious inside. They break a few ladies’ hearts, as well.

I can only think that I must have heard this record while I was in high school. After all there was an intramural basketball team called AWB (for “Average White Basketball Team”). (It pains me to admit that I was on a team called “Utopia.”) All I knew was that it was baffling to me that a band would call themselves “average” and/or “white”—though they played “black” music. I was aware of their logo, scripty lettering with the W depicting a woman’s (or shapely guy’s) ass. Little did I know they were from Scotland! I was making the transition between prog rock and punk rock, and I had no time for the subtle charms of this record. But I really think I must have heard it. I think I must have been in somebody’s basement, a party going on, 1976, and I’m steadily drinking a 12 pack of Stroh’s. In spite of not being able to commandeer the sound system with Elvis Costello, and hating the smooth, commercial sounding crap that was on, there was something about the music, I guess—and maybe liking a girl that was there, and the magical process of intoxication—that remains.


Average White Band “Soul Searching”

There are two reasons why I haven’t written about any records for months and months. One is my internet wasn’t working, but I was, in a terrible, terrible job where each day was the equivalent of listening to the Top 14 Radio (“the hottest songs of the 80’s, 90’s, and… Today!”) which I more or less did listen to while working. Also, my vintage 1970s receiver broke, and I moved. That’s more than two reasons. But really, the big, BIG reason I haven’t written anything here is because (after my receiver miraculously fixed itself) I became totally obsessed with the next record in my queue, the 1976 (same year as my receiver) masterpiece, the Average White Band’s “Soul Searching.”

I expected to either hate this record or find it funny, but instead, it became the soundtrack for my life, the album that defined for me the summer of 2008. This record never left my turntable, and therefore I didn’t get around to listening to anything else. So here I am, still stuck on the “A’s” and for that matter, still listening to “Soul Searching” as I write this. My solution finally has been to tape this record on a cassette tape recording device so I can listen to it later while I, meanwhile, hopefully, continue with this project. Because the pressure to write with passion about such a life defining work of art has pretty much rendered me paralyzed, I will put it off until later, and perhaps write something now and then, little by little, until I feel like I’ve exhausted this subject. In the meantime I’ll be able to get on with the “B’s.”

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September 2020