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Our November reviews include albums by Average White Band, Sanford & Townsend, Jimmy Messina, Michael Franks and Nielsen/ Pearson.


In 1976, Atlantic released “Soul Searching”, the fourth album by the Average White Band. The record not only consolidated AWB’s success in the US charts, but also marked a creative evolution for the band. The album features outstanding song material: from the straight funk of “I’m The One” to the haunting soul of “Queen of My Soul” – with vocal support from Dave and Eddie Brigati of The Rascals. Not forgetting the sublime “A Love Of Your Own” – written by Hamish Stuart and Ned Doheny. This album is one of the great and timeless records of the 70s and a strong proof that good music is not a question of colour or origin, but of talent and passion. There is nothing more to say – except: “Music, sweet music you’re the queen of my soul…”


“Duo-Glide” is the second album by Sanford & Townsend, consisting of Ed Sanford and John Townsend. After the hit single “Smoke from a Distant Fire”, they were unfortunately unable to match the success of its predecessor with this album, and Warner Bros. eventually terminated the duo’s contract. Both Sanford and Townsend returned to the session camp. Sanford later co-wrote Michael McDonald’s 1982 pop classic “I Keep Forgettin'”.


After splitting with Kenny Loggins, Jimmy Messina indulged his passion for smooth Latin jazz and breezy Caribbean grooves on his 1979 solo debut “Oasis”. Unfortunately, his record company didn’t like his new sound as much, and without support, record sales were low. Messina did not despair of this, however: “Oasis was a wonderful part of the musical journey of my life,” he said years later. Underrated West Coast music classic!


In his long career, Michael Franks created a unique and successful blend of smooth jazz with bossa nova accents, gentle pop and sophisticated lyrics. “One Bad Habit” from 1980 is another masterpiece by the Californian singer and songwriter, which finally established him on FM radio stations. This record features wonderful songs like the opener “Baseball” or the breezy “On My Way Home To You”. A special highlight is the gentle Tahitian fantasy “Lotus Blossom”. Michael Frank’s 6th album is a highly recommendable record from his rich oeuvre.


With their second album “Nielsen/ Pearson”, Reed Nielsen and Mark Pearson released a West Coast classic in 1980. The duo started working together in Sacramento, California in 1969 and became a big name in the Bay Area scene in the 70s. For their second release, they hired session pros like Tom Scott, Peter Wolf, Richard Landis and David Foster. Their single “If You Should Sail” reached #38 on the Billboard Hot 100. Unfortunately, their critically acclaimed albums were not commercially successful. In 1983, they recorded one last great album for Capitol.