soul search band

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On this day in music history: June 24, 1976 - “Soul Searching”, the fourth album by the Average White Band is released. Produced by Arif Mardin, it is recorded at Atlantic Studios in New York City in Early 1976. Still firmly in the groove figuratively and literally, AWB return to the studio with producer Arif Mardin. Looking to expand on their trademark funky sound, the band utilize various guest musicians to support them in the studio adding more horns courtesy of Randy (trumpet) and Michael Brecker (saxophone), Barry Rogers (trombone), Marvin Stamm (trumpet), Ronnie Cuber (baritone saxophone) (Mike Mainieri & Friends). Keyboardist Ken Bichel (synthesizers) and percussionist Carlos Martin also play on selected tracks. Rascals percussionist and vocalist Eddie Brigati and his brother David sing background vocals on the albums’ first single “Queen Of My Soul” (#21 R&B, #40 Pop). “Soul Searching” also marks the first songwriting collaboration between vocalist and guitarist Hamish Stuart and Ned Doheny. The pair write the soulful ballad “A Love Of Your Own” (#35 R&B), with the band originally recording it as a basic demo in Los Angeles. When they return to New York to cut the final version, changes made in the original demo arrangement during the tracking process prove to be unsatisfactory to everyone’s taste. So the decision is made to go back to the sparer instrumentation on the demo, and the final recording falls into place. The song goes on to be one of AWB’s best known and loved songs, and is covered numerous times including versions by Millie Jackson, The Ebonys and Howard Hewett. Co-writer Ned Doheny also records the song himself on his second album “Hard Candy” released later in 1976. AWB’s version is also sampled by AZ, Li'l Kim & Mona Lisa, and Yella Featuring B.G. Knocc Out. The deep track “Love Your Life”, issued as the B-side of the third single “Cloudy” also surfaces on a hip hop classic in later years. The songs’ driving horn riff appearing at approximately the three and a half minute mark, is sampled on A Tribe Called Quest’s “Check The Rhime” in 1991. Released exactly one year after “Cut The Cake”, “Searching” is another big hit for the Average White Band, becoming their third consecutive million seller. Though it marks the beginning of the end of the Scottish funk-soul bands commercial fortunes. Following the release of the album “Benny & Us”, a collaboration between AWB and Ben E. King, the shift in musical tastes as the disco era hits full stride in the latter half of the 70’s, the band suddenly find their sound out of popular favor. Still regarded as one of their best albums, “Soul Searching” is remastered and reissued on CD in 1993 as part of Rhino Records’ Atlantic & ATCO Remasters Series. “Soul Searching” peaks at number two on the Billboard R&B album chart, number nine on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Beware the Broken Scorpio

Beware the broken Scorpio.
We will draw you in
with our vibrance and sensual appeal…
then pull at the cords of your heart
with the pain the lies beneath the facade.
These tear filled eyes
and pining heart will weaken your resolve
but a heart broken Scorpio is not one to make a lover of,
for amidst our heartbreak we are further volatile…
accidentally causing carnage in the wake of our agony.
A Scorpio that is mourning can not love you…
because they are too busy
loving the one whom has hurt them.
A Scorpio in mourning is a broken soul
searching for band-aids to cover a wound in need of stitches.

We will talk to you,
cling to you even,
and will think that we have fallen in love…
but in reality we love you…
but are not in love with you
and this confusion will damage us all.
So when tending to a Scorpio
engulfed in the smog of emotional collapse
give your love, but protect your heart
for its the love of a friend we are in need of.

So to all souls I extend this advice…
Beware the broken Scorpio.
—Imani Hawkins
(I do not own this poem)