Ex-Delaney & Bonnie singer Bonnie Bramlett gave the band their name because she was amused that the pale-faced Scotsmen could perform such convincing R&B and Soul.
Why should an ‘average’ white band from Scotland succeed so well in capturing the soul feel? Was there a parallel to be drawn between the ghettoes of, say, Harlem and Watts, and the Gorbals in Glasgow?
The slums of Dundee aren’t pretty places to be either. They produce tough people who demand tough music. “People up there relate very easily to soul music,” said Robbie MacIntosh in 1973, “and as far as I’m concerned that’s the only direction I ever want to follow.”
Though soul may have been the common direction for AWB, there was a lot that could be done with the basic formula. Pianist Roger Ball and saxophonist Malcolm “Molly” Duncan, for example, had very strong jazz leanings and a lot of these found a springboard from the funky rhythms of guitarist Onnie McIntyre, drummer Robbie and bass player Alan.
Original drummer Robbie McIntosh died after using heroin cut with strychnine (a rat poison) on 23 September 1974. He had believed he was taking cocaine.
McIntosh was replaced in the group by Steve Ferrone (ex-Brian Auger).
The group brought forth their first and biggest hit, Pick Up The Pieces, in December 1974. The single and its parent album (Average White Band) simultaneously reached #1 in America in February 1975.
Vocals, bass, guitar
Vocals, guitar, bass
Owen ‘Onnie’ McIntyre
Malcolm ‘Molly’ Duncan
Keyboards, Alto saxophone