Average White Band

Warmer Communications

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Like Earth, Wind & Fire and the Ohio Players, the Average White Band demonstrated that even the mightiest of funk bands can experience a creative and commercial decline. 1978's Warmer Communications was the last AWB album that went gold; by the time they came out with 1979's uneven Feel No Fret, AWB's popularity had decreased. That isn't to say that nothing they recorded after the '70s has merit; 1997's Soul Tattoo found AWB providing a decent and satisfying, if less than essential, CD 17 years after the '70s ended. Nonetheless, many AWB fans agree that Warmer Communications was the Scottish band's last truly excellent album. This 1978 LP didn't have a blockbuster single like "Cut the Cake" or "Pick Up the Pieces"; the funky single "Your Love Is a Miracle" only made it to number 33 on Billboard's R&B singles chart. But Warmer Communications (which Arif Mardin produced) didn't need a major single to sell at least half a million copies in the United States, where fans were willing the buy the record regardless of how much radio airplay it received. In fact, fans found that they could easily play this album from start to finish without ever feeling disappointed -- and you can't say that about Feel No Fret, AWB's next album. Warmer Communications gets off to an impressive start with "Your Love Is a Miracle," and AWB keeps the creative momentum going whether they're getting funky on "Same Feeling, Different Song" and "Big City Lights" or chilling out on slow jams that include "One Look Over My Shoulder (Is This Really Goodbye?)," the ethereal "She's a Dream," and a memorable cover of James Taylor's "Daddy's All Gone." There are no dull moments on Warmer Communications, which was a welcome addition to AWB's catalog.

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