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Tower of Power’s New Album!

April 8, 2009

topsoulbookTower did something new, after 40 years of playing and recording mainly original material – a covers album! With guests Tom Jones, Huey Lewis, Sam Moore, and Joss Stone, this one is on their own TOP Records label. Go to Tower of Power’s website to order it.

I’m listening to it now, so I can’t really react to it very much yet, but I will say this…Joss Stone is for real. Damn, that l’il white girl can sing! She’s barely old enough to drink, and she sound like she’s been singing on the road for twenty years…think Aretha in her prime! She’s getting there, this one is…watch out for her. And she fits with Larry and the band better than I ever expected.

Three tracks were produced by George Duke, and the band has a different sound that is still Tower-like. Bruce Conte plays on most of the tracks, since they were recorded when he was still with the band. I’m glad to hear him on the record.

One thing I’m noticing is that because the songs weren’t conceived with the Tower horns in mind, the integration of the two is not always as organic as TOP’s original material. The horns were almost a second voice to the lead vocalist in many of their tunes…some of these tunes have more “background horn” tracks…Dave Eskridge did a great job on the horn arrangements (Adolfo and Mike did some of the writing as well) but it’s just…different.

I see the band operating in three modes over the past 40 years…putting together the characteristic TOP sound in the early years, experimentation – especially with synths – in the 80s, and getting back to the roots in the 90s to today. This is another step for the band, and I applaud them for moving out of the comfort zone that’s worked so well for them for so long!

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