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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Tower of Power

40th Anniversary

Review by Eric Meli

Tower of Power has been creating their unique brand of soul since Emilio Castillo and Stephen "Doc" Kupka met in 1968. In 2008 they celebrated their 40th anniversary with a reunion show at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. This CD, released in 2011, filled with sweet vocals and funky tunes was recorded from that show. The CD is accompanied by a DVD of the show. It’s filled with interviews of band members and special guests like Sam Moore. You can watch the disc as a whole or just select the songs you’d like to hear. There are also some cool bonus features. All in all, this is a show I wish I could have seen in person.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
We Came to Play

This disc’s opener tells you precisely what brought them to the stage for this performance, and they do play very well together.

Soul With A Capital "S"-
A lot of funky guitar and horn action is included in this funky number.
Can't Stand to See the Slaughter
This track starts with a marching style drum beat. Then guitar and horns join and it eventually flows into Charles Wright's “Express Yourself.”
Down to the Nightclub
Here’s a head bopping, funky little tune that’s pretty tight between the instruments and vocals.
It's Not the Crime
This is a good song with strong vocals by Emilio Castillo.
You Got to Funkifize
This is one of the heavier funky tracks on here. If you are not dancing in your seat to this one, check your pulse.
As Surely As I Stand Here
There’s a nice soul groove to this one. It’s great for a slow dance.
I Got to Groove
Another heavy funk cut, this has an excellent sax solo by Tom Politzer.
This Time It's Real
Their hit from 1973 has kind of a poppish sound to it. It’s still a decent song, though.
Souled Out
Hot, smooth, funky soul, this is delivered with a voice that’s great for this song.
Time Will Tell
Another of Tower of Power’s 70's hits, this is one of three slow songs on this disc. It features very soulful singing by Larry Braggs.
Only So Much Oil in the Ground
"Alternate sources of power must be found / Cause there's only so much oil in the ground." This track is as true today as when first written.
Credit
This funky number is about getting it all on credit.
A Little Knowledge (Is a Dangerous Thing)
A good funky groove is at the base of this cut about a woman turning life upside down.
What is Hip
If your around 40 something you may remember this hit from 1974.
You're Still a Young Man
70's R&B and soul at its finest work on this song that’s based on a true story.
Knock Yourself Out
This closing track is where everybody struts their stuff including a solo by Chester Thompson on a Hammond b-3 organ.
 
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