Average White Band “Work To Do” (1974)

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It’s Labor Day, which means the end of the summer, which for someone like me who so looks forward to the warm weather and so hates the cold, I can honestly only say, fuck that. But, in addition to its significance as a marker on the seasonal calendar, it is, of course, our national holiday to praise work. Celebrated each year on the first Monday in September, Labor Day “honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the development, growth, endurance, strength, security, prosperity, productivity, laws, sustainability, persistence, structure, and well-being of the country.” I guess maybe we could all consider some of that while enjoying the 3-day weekend.

So let’s honor the American worker with a record by a bunch of Scots known as the Average White Band – that’s right, in addition to being white, the AWB funksters were Scottish – and my favorite “work” song, their mid-‘70’s R&B treasure, ‘Work To Do’ (which was actually the B-side to their Billboard #1 instrumental smash, ‘Pick Up The Pieces’). And yeah, I know, the Isley Brothers soulful 1972 original is stellar too, as is the sultry 1991 cover by Vanessa Williams, but to me nothing beats the Average White Band version, where right from the pounding 7 drum beats that open the tune you know damn well these laborers are hard at work and taking care of business.

A happy, and hot, Labor Day to all.


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