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from SHINE

written by Hamish Stuart & Ned Doheny

Hamish Stuart, the former member of the Average White Band, and famed singer/songwriter Ned Doheny co-wrote a couple of songs together for the Scottish funksters that went on to become soul/r&b classics. Their first hit collaboration was “A Love Of Your Own,” a charming soul ballad included on Average White Band’s 1976 seminal Soul Searching album that reached #35 on the R&B Singles chart in 1977.

“A Love Of Your Own” was eventually covered by a plethora of famous singers including Howard Hewett, Millie Jackson, Melissa Manchester and Chikuzen Sato. Co-writer Doheny recorded the song himself on his 1976 Hard Candy album with Stuart on backing vocals and a young David Foster on keyboards. A past review of that beautiful rendition can be read in the archives.

A few years later, Stuart and Doheny co-wrote another gem titled “Whatcha Gonna Do For Me.” It’s an enthralling, mid-tempo number that Average White Band recorded with Foster in the producer’s chair for their 1980 release Shine. “Whatcha Gonna Do For Me” sports a fantastic melody and refined arrangement with a smooth as silk backing track and rich strings and horns that support Stuart’s trademark falsetto and the group’s lush vocal harmonies. Foster’s production was pristine and the whole recording was pure ear-candy bliss. Strangely enough, “Whatcha Gonna Do For Me” wasn’t released as a single although it became a favorite among Average White Band’s fans. R&b diva Chaka Khan covered the song in 1981 with great success and made it the title-track of her new album. Recently, Stuart said that Ms. Khan attended the session ofShine and actually sang “Whatcha Gonna Do For Me” for AWB so Stuart and his bandmate, Alan Gorrie, could concentrate on the guitar and bass parts. Eventually, Ms. Khan decided to cut the song with the late Arif Mardin (March 15, 1932 to June 25, 2006). In the spring of 1981, her cover of “Whatcha Gonna Do For Me” spent two weeks at #1 on the R&B charts.

Let’s close this review with the great news that Ned Doheny and Hamish Stuart will be together on stage in the UK this coming August for special dates in London and Manchester . What a real treat and rare chance to listen to masterpieces like “A Love Of Your Own” and “Whatcha Gonna Do For Me” performed by the two gentlemen who co-wrote them.


[audio:|titles=Whatcha Gonna Do For Me|artists=Hamish Stuart]

Lead Vocals & Guitar: Hamish Stuart
Bass & Vocals: Alan Gorrie
Drums: Steve Ferrone
Guitar: Onnie McIntyre
Alto Sax & Keyboards: Roger Ball
Keyboards: David Foster
Tenor Saxophone: Molly Duncan
Percussion: Paulinho DaCosta & Lennie Castro
Saxophones: Kim Hutchcroft, Ernie Watts & Larry Williams
Trumpet & Flugelhorn: Jerry Hey, Gary Grant & Larry Hall
Trombone: Bill Reichenbach & Lew McCrary

Strings & Horns Arranged by David Foster, Jerry Hey & Roger Ball
Produced by David Foster


All night and all day, just chippin’ away
It’s all in a day’s work;
Tryin’ hard to defend
The time that I spend alone
The ground that you lose exploiting
The blues
Won’t get the job done;
Still, as deep as it bites,
I’m keepin’ my sights on you

Whatcha gonna for me
What are you gonna do for me
Whatcha gonna do for me, when
The chips are down

In the cool of the night, when
Nothing seems right
The feeling can take you;
Strange as it seems,
You make your own dreams
Come true
If you try to conceal the way
That you feel
You’re askin’ for trouble;
Just as sure as you’ll cry,
I’m keepin’ my eye on you

You don’t have to tell me I’m
To blame for this
The thing you hold against me,
Is the thing that I miss

Whatcha gonna for me
What are you gonna do for me
Whatcha gonna do for me, when
The chips are down