How many bands can celebrate 50 years in the business? Well, not many. But TOWER OF POWER is one such band and here they are with yet another new album! And I’m amazed about the quality these guys still possess. Read and enjoy!
“Soul side of town” is released as a single CD as well as – thankfully enough – a double vinyl LP. The band is these days a 11 men strong band consisting of EMILIO CASTILLO (tenor sax), STEPHEN “DOC” KUPKA (baritone sax), FRANCIS ROCCO PRESTIA (bass), DAVID GARIBALDI (drums), ROGER SMITH (keys), TOM E. POLITZER (tenor sax), ADOLFO ACOSTA (trumpet, flugelhorn), JERRY CORTEZ (guitar), SAL CRACCHIOLO (trumpet), MARC VAN WAGENINGEN (guitar), and MARCUS SCOTT (lead vocal). However, the latter is joined by ex-vocalist RAY GREENE (also on trombone) on this album. Furthermore JOE VANNELLI played keyboards and produced the album with honor. I was under the impression he was even a member of the band, but I must have got it wrong.
So what do we get from these great guys in 2018? Oh, naturally a lot of soul, groove and funk but also some westcoast spiced songs, like we’ve been used to when it comes to T.O.P. ever since the mid-80’s.
“Do you like that” is a perfect example of a song where they manage to include all ingredients. It’s a quite commercially sounding pop soul tune, still with some groove and some westcoast vibes in the arrangement. Not far from EARTH WIND & FIRE, I’d say. Soft ballads are also included, like the soulful westcoaster “Love must be patient and kind”. There’s a lot of feeling in this song. The arrangement is so smooth it could almost be a Christmas tune!
You simply must not miss out on the semi-ballad “When love takes control”, which is a lovely and very TOTO oriented tune. Marvellous!
If you think I am writing too little about the groove, I should mentioned two of the very groovy and great tunes; “Hangin’ with my baby” and “Do it with soul”. You just can’t stand still to this. This band is world class whatever they deliver.