Posts Tagged ‘Average White Band’

The Nazis and the funksters

April 20th, 2009 9 comments
The good AWB

The good AWB

A source of unceasing amusement for me is the coincidence that the acronym AWB, which music lovers will associate with the multi-racial funk group Average White Band, applies in South Africa to the white supremacist, neo-Nazi organisation known as the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (Afrikaner Resistance Movement). Indeed, they were very much a band of average white men.

Their leader was (and in their entirely irrelevant form today, still is) one Eugene Terre”Blanche, a huge ex-cop who could articulate the aspirations of his fellow ultra-racists on strength of a certain charisma and a background in poetry. In the 1980s, he was a household name, believed to be a “force to be reckoned with”. His beef was that apartheid South Africa was just too left-wing and accommodating of blacks. Then it all fell apart for E.T., as he was dubbed. There were the bizarre revelations of gossip journalist Jani Allan, who had become fascinated by and smitten with Terre”Blanche. Among the defining revelations during a libel trial in London, following a documentary”s claim that she had had an affair with Terre”Blanche, was Allen”s description of Terre”Blanche”s tatty green underpants, holes and all. Then the equestrian “leier” (Afrikaans for leader; or Führer) fell off his horse during some public grandstanding. Later he served a three-year jail sentence for assaulting a petrol attendant. In between, his followers drove an armoured car through the glass façade of the building in which white and black leaders were meeting to negotiate a post-apartheid settlement. As we know, they did not succeed.

The bad AWB (note the logo in the background!)

The bad AWB (note the logo in the background!)

The extent of the AWB”s grand delusion became apparent a month before South Africa”s first inclusive democratic election in April 1994, when these clowns “invaded” the homeland of Bophuthatswana (where Sun City is located) in a bizarre act of resistance to the impending formal death of apartheid. They were not even invited by the homeland”s puppet leader Lucas Mangope who had been trying to put down a civil service mutiny and retain “independence” for his fiefdom, but who by now had fled. The whole thing went down live on TV. A convoy of AWB herberts coming to the aid of the Bophuthatswanan regime and army which didn”t want them.

At one point, three racist invaders were interviewed on TV, having been wounded by a soldier”s bullets. Slumped against the wheels of their blue Merc they explained, nervously, to the assembled journalists what they were doing in Bop. Something like 20 minutes later, they lay on the ground, shot dead at point blank range, in front of the hacks, by a homeland soldier whom they supposedly came to liberate from approaching freedom. Don”t feel too sorry for the hapless trio: just before they had been shooting at civilians and tossing grenades about. The AWB”s militia had already killed at least 37 people the previous day, mostly soldiers. They later claimed having killed a hundred soldiers during their incursion.

These events of 15 years ago come to mind as South Africa is preparing to go to the polls on April 22 in the country”s fourth democratic, to elect as president the reptilian Jacob Zuma “” who thinks that having a post-coital shower is a useful method of Aids prevention and who has just succeeded in having corruption against him dropped. His election annoys me, as somebody who was active in the anti-apartheid struggle. Imagine how much it must vex Eugene Terre”Blanche.

And what better way to counter the racism of South Africa”s AWB with the funky music of Britain”s AWB. Three gloriously danceable disco tracks, a funk workout (Cut The Cake) and an Earth, Wind & Fire-esque ballad (A Love Of Your Own).

Average White Band – Atlantic Avenue (1979).mp3
Average White Band – Work To Do (1975).mp3
Average White Band – Let’s Go Around Again (1980).mp3
Average White Band – Cut The Cake (1975).mp3
Average White Band – A Love Of Your Own (1976).mp3

Any Major Groove Mix

November 3rd, 2008 2 comments

Think about it: if a song title riffs on the theme of grooviness ““ as a noun, verb or adjective ““ it is almost certain to be an affirming, cheerful tune and lyric. So as most friends of this blog are entering the dark, depressing days of winter I thought they might need some groovy, sunny cheer…

This mix covers several genres ““ pop, soul, funk, indie. Much of the material here is old, though there are two recently released songs: Rio En Medio’s great a cappella cover of Earth, Wind & Fires’ Let’s Groove, and Swedish indie-pop outfit Billie The Vision & the Dancers fine opener of their latest album. One song features twice: the Young Rascals’ carefree Groovin’ and Aretha Franklin’s quite different cover.

Ask me which songs I dig the most, and I’d have to decide between those by Gene Chandler, P.P. Arnold, Alan Price and the Mamas and the Papas. Or the Equals. Or Mr Bloe (best pop instrumental ever?). Or… oh, listen to it and find your own favourites.

1. Mr. Bloe – Groovin’ With Mr Bloe
2. Young Rascals – Groovin’
3. The Equals – Soul Groovin’
4. The 5th Dimension – Working On A Groovy Thing
5. Letta Mbulu – What’s Wrong With Groovin’
6. Bobby Wells – Let’s Copp A Groove
7. Archie Bell & The Drells – Let’s Groove
8. Gene Chandler – Groovy Situation
9. Simon & Garfunkel – The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) (live)
10. PP Arnold – (If You Think You’re) Groovy
11. The Mamas and the Papas – Somebody Groovy
12. Alan Price – Groovy Times
13. Average White Band – Groovin’ The Night Away
14. Heatwave – Groove Line
15. Harvey Mason – Groovin’ You
16. Rodney Franklin – The Groove
17. Lou Rawls – Groovy People
18. Aretha Franklin – Groovin’
19. The Mindbenders – Groovy Kind Of Love
20. Rio En Medio – Let’s Groove
21. Billie The Vision And The Dancers – Groovy
22. Ace Frehley – New York Groove
23. The Smithereens – Groovy Tuesday
24. Ciccone Youth – Into The Groovey
25. Raquel Welch – I’m Ready To Groove


If you liked the Billie The Vision & the Dancers song, you can download the whole album (and previous albums) on their website, and set your own price, or none (“If you want to download our songs there are two ways to do it. Either you can afford to pay us, or, if you are just as poor as we are, you can download it for free. We appreciate both choices!” Aren’t they just lovely people?).