The Average White Band

Person to Person

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Scotland's Average White Band was in a celebratory mood on its third major-label release, the live double-album Person to Person. Following the crossover success of the band's self-titled debut and subsequent Cut the Cake, Person to Person presented the six-piece R&B/funk act stretching out on most of its hits. Lead vocalists Alan Gorrie and Hamish Stuart switch between guitar and bass chores throughout, and drive the opening title track and "Cut the Cake." The ballads "If I Ever Lose This Heaven" and "Cloudy" provide nice changes of pace; rhythm guitarist Onnie McIntyre and drummer Steve Ferrone shine on lesser-known gems like "I'm the One" and "Love Your Life." But the real prize of this collection is an 18-minute version of the Average White Band's biggest hit, the instrumental "Pick Up the Pieces." After the expected solos from the studio version by saxophonists Roger Ball and Malcolm "Molly" Duncan, McIntyre, Stuart, Gorrie, and Ferrone take extended leads in this masterpiece of editing -- the track actually features different versions from four concert halls, all spliced together so that each musician could have the solo of his choice represented. A few walk-through versions ("T.L.C.," "School Boy Crush," and the Marvin Gaye hit "Heard It Through the Grapevine") away from being a classic, Person to Person still shows what a great live act this underrated band was in its heyday.

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