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Average White Band: Live at Montreux 1977 (DVD)

Eagle Rock Entertainment's Live at Montreux DVD series has yielded some truly classic performances (Jeff Healey-1999 and Gary Moore-1990) and a few questionable ones (The Moody Blues-1991). But this footage of the Average White Band's set at the Swiss festival on July 10, 1977, emerges as one of the most surprisingly engaging performances the label has released so far. Falling somewhere between Chicago and Kool & The Gang, this group of Scotsmen played better-than-average funk/pop/rock in its heyday. Opening this set with its No. 1 hit "Pick Up the Pieces" and then smoothing into the catchy "Work to Do," AWB sets the stage for a night of chic entertainment. Clad mostly in white, flowing garb so critical to the era, the band's six members look like leaders of a strange disco cult prancing around a stage set against a shimmering, tin-foil-like backdrop. Fortunately, led by bassist/vocalist Alan Gorrie and guitarist/vocalist Hamish Stuart (who later became the most recognized member of McCartney's band behind Paul and Linda), plus two sax men, AWB lets the music speak louder than the look. A version of the band still tours and records today, and it would have been nice to juxtapose some of this classic footage with some newer concert video. But the Live at Montreux series traditionally doesn't allow for that kind of creative packaging. Instead, in addition to eight songs in 64 minutes (in stereo, 5.1 surround sound and DTS) and the kind of in-depth liner notes we've come to expect in this series, we also get 33 minutes of three bonus tracks - mostly two-camera footage of varying and questionable quality that could not be restored to high enough technical standards for inclusion in the main program.

For the record, this lineup of AWB included Gorrie, Stuart, guitarist Onnie McIntyre, tenor saxophonist Malcolm Duncan, keyboardist/alto saxophonist Roger Ball and drummer Steve Ferrone (who, in fact, is not white).

Track Listing:
1) Pick Up the Pieces
2) Work to Do
3) A Love Of Your Own
4) Person to Person
5) Got the Love
6) Sweet and Sour
7) Cut the Cake
8) I Heard It Through the Grapevine
9) If I Ever Lose This Heaven (Bonus Track)
10) I'm the One (Bonus Track)
11) T.L.C. (Bonus Track)

Added: September 24th 2005
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official AWB Web Site
Hits: 2711
Language: english

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Average White Band: Live at Montreux 1977 (DVD)
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-09-24 17:47:35
My Score:

Eagle Rock Entertainment is doing a great job with their Live At Montreux DVD series, and this entry featuring the Average White Band from 1977 is another strong product for the label. While the AWB were not necessarily a household name during their heyday, they did have their share of time inthe spotlight, thanks to their hit song "Pick Up the Pieces" from their best-selling White Album. The band's music was a mix of funk, jazz, pop, and rock, and you get plenty of these styles on this 90 minute DVD. The main part of the set features the bands more popular pieces, as well as a rousing rendition of "I Heard It Through the Grape Vine", featuring some fine guitar and sax work.

The sound and picture quality is pretty good for a show recorded almost 30 years ago, and as always Eagle Rock includes a nice booklet inside the DVD package that gives plenty of history of the band and the Montreux show itself. So if you are in the mood for some nostalgic, if not a little dated, 70's funk & roll, you can't go wrong with owning a copy of this DVD. While you are at it, be sure to scope out some of the other DVD's in the series that feature The Moody Blues, Al DiMeola, Gary Moore, Earth Wind and Fire, Jeff Healey, and ELP, among others.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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