Tuesday, August 12, 2014

AWB in LONDON - Round Two

Now that the dust has firmly settled on the Ronnie Scott's week, all 
the great audiences we had throughout the eight shows there, and
the fine summer evening we had at Hampton Pool to kick off our 
London visit, it would be remiss of me not to point out to our Estuary
fans that our next visit at the beginning of December is fast heading 
for a sellout fixture again.

The Jazz Cafe dates on Dec. 1 & 2 that we put in to cater for all the
gang that couldn't get into Ronnie's, are apparently at 80% (Mon.) 
and 70% (Tue.) already sold, and I would advise the 'wait-and-see' 
team to grab tickets now while they're still available. I know a LOT 
of people were complaining to us that they couldn't get Ronnie's 
tickets - they just didn't consider they would sell out so quickly - and 
we'd hate to hear the same complaints again from the procrastinators.

It's a great venue for two reasons: the balcony brigade have the seats
they love with their wine and grub and a bird's eye view, and the funky
floor fans have that real club vibe with the band right on top of them,
which we love too, as it just adds that extra energy from the crowd to
egg us on into the groove.

Of course, if you live out to the north of The City, there's always Sun.
30th November at The Junction, in Cambridge, only an hour up the
Motorway from the M25 nowadays, or if you are from the south end
of The Midlands, that would quite possibly serve your purpose well.
It's a cool venue, too, and there's a hotel & restaurants in the same
plaza, for a complete evening out.

We are coming straight in to the entire visit, to have a night at Butlin's
Soul Weekender down in Bognor Regis, on Saturday Nov. 29th, which
will bring back some fun memories to those of us that a) remember the
soul weekenders up in The North in the mid to late sixties and on, and
b) those of us who used to actually spend 'ligging' weekends at the
holiday camps for all sorts of reasons, either familial or in search of
teenage conquests - all set to the soul music of the day! Can't wait to
relive the nonsense of those halcyon days prior to responsibilities and
the 'real world' that overtook most of us after that.

Whatever your choice of venue, we're looking forward to ending our
best year in England since the Seventies with the above-mentioned 
gigs, and, personally speaking, I want to make sure you're aware of
the ticket sales already chalked up so we can see you at one of the
last shows of the year. The band always gets better and better as the
year goes on and the gigs get packed in, so I can guarantee some 
great stuff at The Jazz Caff, Cambridge, and Bognor in a few months.

Be well, be funky,  and - most of all - BE THERE!!

Cheers - and make mine a double.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Chicago Bulletin for July 9th

Due to unforeseen circumstances, AWB are unable to participate in the late show at Park West next Saturday, the
9th of July. It will instead be a Brian Culbertson 'special' involving local guest musicians and friends from his
Chicago days. Those wishing to see the full two-band package should get the few remaining tickets for the
first show - they are still available despite what anyone there has been saying this past week - and we look forward
to seeing you there for our annual Chicago visit and apologize for any confusion resulting from this change of plans.

Alan Gorrie, July4 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cornell Dupree (Dec 19, 1942 - May 8, 2011)

Some sad news regarding one of our heroes. Cornell Dupree passed away on May 8th 2011 at his home in Ft. Worth Texas.

Our condolences go out to Irma, his wife of over 50 years, his family, his friends and fellow musicians.

A quiet giant, he was dubbed the ultimate un-showoff, and whether you know it or not, you've heard him.

He played on literally thousands of recordings, most famously with Aretha Franklin (Respect), but also with countless others including Donny Hathaway, Roberta Flack, Bill Withers and Miles Davis.

As part of his hometown band The Kingpins he arrived at Atlantic Studios in New York to record with King Curtis and quickly joined the ranks as the "first call" guitar for the entire Atlantic stable.

A master of understatement, Cornell was never known to play any note that did not augment the song. Listen to his work on Brook Benton's "Rainy Night In Georgia" A study in pure taste; note by note he added a depth of emotion that made the song an instant classic.

We first heard Cornell's name on "Memphis Soul Stew" from the 1971 "Curtis Live at the Fillmore West" album and it blew our collective socks off, right on cue: We were just about to record three tracks (The Denmark Street Sessions) and he helped inspire us to take the leap and form the yet-to-be-named Average White Band.

Fast forward to our fifth album for Atlantic, "Warmer Communications." We were privileged to have Cornell as a guest on the James Taylor song "Daddy's All Gone." His solo and tasteful fills still stand as a shining example of pure class, (you can't fake that!).

The soul of the man shines through, revealing the true gentleman that he was.

Onnie McIntyre

Average White Band

New York, May 2011.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tahoe Snow

Have to notify you all that we were unable to get to Lake Tahoe for tonight's concert at the South Shore Room, Harrah's, due to massive snowfalls overnight in the passes leading to the region
from the south Bay Area. Please stay home, stay warm, and don't attempt to get there unless you're prepared to spend many, many hours in stopped traffic, have chains for your vehicle, and are hell- bent on skiing/skateboarding, and you DON'T plan to get out of there until next week!
Meanwhile, we will re-schedule this date for a more clement weather period next year, and look forward to that. I hope you're not too disappointed, and that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
We had to find a little light relief at the prospect of being stuck for days in one of the high passes, and that our Thanksgiving dinner call would be "The Donner Party of eight - your table's ready."
Meanwhile, we're sorry to have to miss this much-anticipated gig, and we thank the folks at Harrah's for their understanding. This unexpected winter storm took us all by surprise.

Alan Gorrie, sat Nov. 20, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010


Following on from my recent exhortations to snap up the remaining tickets for the Ronnie Scott’s week, it appears you took heed and promptly did same, giving us an unqualified success and sold-out shows every night of what turned out to be a magic week in Soho. From what I could see and hear around me, the reaction was palpable and genuinely appreciative, and the comments relayed to us by staff and other in-house functionaries seemed to be glowing and generous, to say the least.

The band had a blast, and most of the sets exceeded our projected energy level – in no small part to the instant feedback of yourselves out there in the house – and our ability to reign in our normal concert show to such an intimate space without noticeable compromise musically or sonically was more than gratifying for us, too. It’s always rather daunting to gamble that our kind of noise will translate to a venue as venerable, and therefore as under-the-microscope as that, given our audience’s demanding nature. Our fellow musicians (and sometime critics) and the club itself must measure us against the legends that have graced that hallowed stage. It seems our fears were unfounded, but we weren’t half on a bit of ‘edge’ to begin with, until we settled in to the vibe of the place and the routine of rehearsals and nightly showtimes to hone our knives to surgical keenness for the upcoming rigours of the weekend’s double-show nights.

There were a few lighthearted moments, too; on Friday’s first show, we heard repeated squawks from a table off to the right, as a besotted (and well-lubricated) fan tried gallantly, but vainly, to interject garbled outburst of lyrics to Let’s Go Round Again between much of our set – rather like one of those motorway service station rubber toys that you can wind up & shake, and out comes a strangled Elton, Elvis or Frosty The Snowman. It gave us, and a few in the house a spot of light relief from our otherwise determined and deeply-committed set, but culminated in her getting on stage, grabbing Onnie’s mic., and proceeding to launch into a moment of spontaneous karaoke on said song. Fred, our ever-coiled ‘mossad’ security-saxophonist, leapt across, took the microphone away, and gently eased her exit from stage right with an implored, “Not now, MUM”, to the audience which gave a potentially difficult moment a light touch while we regrouped to perform the much-desired piece itself.

A standout memory from Wednesday night was the welcome reunion with old friend Jim Mullen who sat in for the end of the set with us, and played some spine-tingling guitar on Put It Where You Want It. Jim and I first met at the Blue Workshop, a mid-sixties ad hoc fortnightly jazz & blues gathering in my hometown of Perth (along with Molly Duncan & Roger Ball – later to become our ‘Dundee Horns’ – and a fledgling Robbie McIntosh, original lynchpin to the very idea of what became AWB), which saw us all delve into hitherto untried combinations of young and uninhibited ensembles, and an anything-goes approach to stuff that was mainly and patently way above our heads, but which resonated in our souls and gave us the necessary moxie to flee the coop for London one-by-one, and end up with lasting alliances and the ensuing kudos that has provided us all with a blessed existence at the heart of our, then, dreamed-of future.

Thanks again, Jim, for another magic moment for the annals, and for an obviously-thrilled house that went away with an extra story to tell. That’s what Ronnie’s is all about, as I said in my prior piece, and long may it continue to be so. Our thanks to the staff who worked their collective ass off throughout the week, ferrying vast oceans of expensive refreshments to packed houses without ever seeming to get in our sight-line or in our ‘zone’ during the quieter moments of the set. I think the exuberance of the somewhat-gruelling week physically (and mentally) for us was best defused in a moment of farce as we departed the club doorway for the final time at about 3am on Sunday morning, as a posse of Soho’s Finest beat cops were preparing to split up and end their weekend’s street vigil and patrol, right beside us. Their brisk move off coincided with young McIntyre bumbling down the steps to the pavement on his club exodus, his gig-clothes hanging-bag over his arm, whereupon one of the protruding coat hangers snagged the belt clip of one of the members of the constabulary as he strode off, trailing Onnie with him until the pair of them seemed to engage in a mutually-shocked surreal tango in mid Frith Street as each tried to extricate the other from their highly-unconventional entwinement. Had we all stopped howling with laughter, we might have considered the possible consequence of what must have seemed to the officer-in-question a likely attack on his personage, with who-knows-what results. Fortunately it provided a brilliant footnote to an extraordinary week of music and fun, and the ability for us to put to rest a sense that this had been a big missing piece in squaring the AWB circle back to where it all began for us – just two streets away, at the Marquee, in 1973.

As the lady would say in the Greek caff round the corner, “it was luvalee week, dahlin’, dunnit?”

Alan Gorrie, Sep.16, 2010