Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Average White Band

  • Show Your Hand [MCA, 1973] B+
  • Average White Band [Atlantic, 1974] A-
  • Cut the Cake [Atlantic, 1975] C+
  • Feel No Fret [Atlantic, 1979] C

See Also:

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Show Your Hand [MCA, 1973]
A cross between the Spinners and the Main Ingredient who grew up in Scotland and play their own instruments? If you wonder who needs it, maybe you do. Not only do they write pretty and sing sweet, but unlike so many British r&b bands they've cultivated a sense of rhythm. And they've somehow gotten to compose with Joe Sample, Bonnie Bramlett, and Leon Ware. B+

Average White Band [Atlantic, 1974]
These lyrics aren't banal, just plain-spoken (my favorite: "Keepin' It to Myself"), and in any case the passionate expertness of the vocal mix (like the Rascals, only the Rascals were never this tight), combined with a motion more Brownian than most black groups can manage, more than makes up. A-

Cut the Cake [Atlantic, 1975]
Have they lost their impassioned identification with their mastery of a nonwhite form? Has success (death?) (maybe just familiarity?) robbed them of their magic. Or have they just run out of songs? C+

Feel No Fret [Atlantic, 1979]
Once their name was a candid joke about their limits, their values, and their aspirations. Now it's a flat statement of fact. Swinging California pop in the manner of the Doobie Brothers and Pablo Cruise, cool in its passions and its rhythms and uninspired in its composition, and who cares who got there first. C

Further Notes:

Everything Rocks and Nothing Ever Dies [1990s]