Strong and bumpin' masterpiece straight through !
Eddie Landsberg | Tokyo, Japan | 09/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"O.K. I have to be honest, unlike TOWER OF POWER, the other blue eyed funk and soul powerhouse of the era, AWB may not have been able to boast a string of "one after another" genre defining albums, the truth is that based on the strength of this and CUT THE CAKE alone, their title of "a quintessential '70s funk powerhouse" is locked in: PICK UP THE PIECES, being a major instrumental '70s instrumental rock, pop, funk and soul k.o. (Along with Frankenstein, Valdez in The Country and Chameleon, its one of those tunes that generations of upstart bands began convincing themselves they had to jam on to show people how hip they were !)
Beyond PICK UP THE PIECES though, this album boasts a number of great pieces as well as a style unique to the AWB...
A unique pick-up on JB's 2 guitar/bass/drum style of syncopation - - with horns replaced by one single wailing sax... and a sound that's both in your face funk... but also represents pre-disco boogie music. In fact, I suspect that towards the 80's they were one of the sounds ringing in the heads of so many of those fusion funk crossover bands that were popping up, but like THE HEADHUNTERS, the genius of the AWB was that only the AWB could REALLY play AWB... hence I have to admit, there was a time I used to go running for the toilet everytime I heard a band I was playing in were going to hit on PIECES - - especially if the sax player sucked. (Today, I've even heard HS marching bands playing it... talk about a memorable hooky line!)
Among memorable moments of the album is a cover (since then covered even more) of the Isley's WORK TO DO, the funky back beats of PERSON TO PERSON and THERE'S ALWAYS SOMEONE WAITING (with its memorable lyrics) and a number of tunes that show their mastery of sweet soul music too. The version I have also has a mega-bumping big band (Player's Association?) augmented live version of PICK UP THE PIECES circa 1977...
All in all... this, if any, is what you call a MUST HAVE funk album ! And hopefully, if you're into AWB I needn't hip you to the J.B.s..."