Dec 2, 2017

RhoDeo 1748 Grooves


Todays Artists  are the renowned horn-driven funk outfit Tower of Power have been issuing albums and touring the world steadily since the early '70s, in addition to backing up countless other musicians. The group's leader since the beginning has always been tenor saxophonist Emilio Castillo, who was born in Detroit but opted to pursue his musical dreams in Oakland, California. They played regularly in the Bay Area throughout the late '60s, as their lineup often swelled up to ten members, including such other mainstays as Greg Adams on trumpet and vocals, Lenny Pickett on sax, and Rocco Prestia on bass. ........ N'joy

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In the summer of 1968, tenor saxophonist/vocalist Emilio Castillo met Stephen "Doc" Kupka, who played baritone sax. Castillo had played in several bands, but Castillo's father told his son to "hire that guy" after a home audition. Within months the group, then known as The Motowns, began playing various gigs around Oakland and Berkeley, their soul sound relating to both minority and rebellious listeners. Castillo wanted to play Bill Graham's Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, but he realized he would never get in with a name like The Motowns. The band agreed on Tower of Power and the name stuck.

By 1970, the now renamed Tower of Power—now including trumpet/arranger Greg Adams, first trumpet Mic Gillette, first saxophone Skip Mesquite, Francis "Rocco" Prestia on bass, Willie Fulton on guitar, and drummer David Garibaldi—signed a recording contract with Bill Graham's San Francisco Records and released their first album, East Bay Grease. Rufus Miller performed most of the lead vocals on this debut album. The group was first introduced to the San Francisco Bay area by radio station KSAN, which played a variety of artists such as Cold Blood, Eric Mercury and Marvin Gaye. The single "Sparkling in the Sand" received airplay on the Bay Area soul station KDIA.

Augmented by percussionist/conga/bongo player Brent Byars, Tower of Power was released from their San Francisco label contract and moved to Warner Bros. Records. With Rick Stevens now replacing Rufus Miller as lead singer, 1972's Bump City gave the band their first national exposure. This album included the hit single "You're Still a Young Man", which peaked at #29 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was Stevens' pinnacle vocal performance before leaving the band.

Tower of Power, released in the spring of 1973, was the third album for the band. It featured Lenny Williams on lead vocals and Lenny Pickett on lead tenor saxophone. Bruce Conte replaced guitarist Willie Fulton and keyboardist Chester Thompson also joined the band during the recording of the album. This was the group's most successful album. It peaked at #15 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart and was RIAA certified as a gold record (for sales in excess of 500,000 copies). The album also spawned their most-successful single "So Very Hard to Go". Although the single peaked at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100, it landed in the Top 10 on the surveys of many West Coast Top 40 radio stations, hitting #1 on many of them.

1974's Back to Oakland spawned another hit, "Don't Change Horses (in the Middle of a Stream)", that reached #26 on the Billboard Hot 100, and "Time Will Tell", which charted at #69. The funk-jazz classic instrumental "Squib Cakes" also came from this album. On Urban Renewal (1974), the band moved more toward funk than soul; however, they continued recording ballads as well. Williams left the band in late 1974, and was replaced as vocalist by Hubert Tubbs. While Tower of Power remained a must-see live act, as disco became the new trend in R&B the group's original funk-laden style fell out of favor, and disco-oriented albums like 1978's We Came to Play and 1979's Back on the Streets didn't please critics or fans, and the band would go nine years without releasing an album.

Despite it all, Tower of Power -- in particular their horn section -- remained a much in-demand backing group for some of pop/rock's biggest names, including Elton John, Santana, Bonnie Raitt, Huey Lewis, Little Feat, David Sanborn, Michelle Shocked, Paula Abdul, Aaron Neville, Aerosmith, Public Image Ltd., and many others. In 1988, Tower of Power returned to the studio for the album Power, and in 1991 they signed with Epic Records, where they released five albums by the end of the decade.

Into the new millennium, Tower of Power kept up their reputation as a strong live band, maintaining a steady touring schedule, and in 2009 they launched their own TOP Records label with The Great American Soulbook, in which they covered a dozen soul and R&B classics in the trademark Tower of Power style. In 2007, Tower of Power celebrated their fourth decade together with a special concert at San Francisco's Fillmore Auditorium, and a year later the show was issued in a special CD/DVD package, simply titled 40th Anniversary. In 2013, Tower of Power took a look back with the release of Hipper Than Hip: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow, which documented a live radio broadcast from 1974. The bandmembers also announced they would be touring in 2013 and 2014 with two other iconic acts from Northern California, Journey and the Steve Miller Band.

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In contrast to the many soul veterans who who have turned to urban contemporary sounds in the hope of staying on the staying on the charts, Tower of Power has stuck with the type of horn-driven, live-sounding funk and soul that put the Bay Area band on the map. Tower was long past its prime by the time Monster on a Leash was released in 1991, and had experienced its share of personnel changes. Lead singer Tom Bowes, although a passionate and competent belter, is hardly on a par with Lenny Williams. Even so, this is a respectable and decent effort from a band that remained artistically viable by staying true to itself. Unapologetically '70s-sounding, the album falls short of the unmitigated excellence of Back to Oakland and Urban Renewal, but isn't significantly different in its approach, content or attitude. While novices would do better to start with either those gems, this is an album that diehard Tower enthusiasts shouldn't pass up.

Tower Of Power - Monster On A Leash    (flac  375mb)

01 Little Knowledge (Is A Dangerous Thing) 4:24
02 How Could This Happen To Me 4:10
03 Who Do You Think You Are 4:22
04 Attitude Dance 5:36
05 You Can't Fall Up (You Just Fall Down) 4:55
06 Funk The Dumb Stuff 5:27
07 Believe It 4:35
08 Personal Possessions 5:06
09 Miss Trouble (Got A Lot Of Nerve) 4:45
10 Keep Your Monster On A Leash 4:33
11 Someone New 4:28
12 Mr. Toad's Wild Ride 5:26

Tower Of Power - Monster On A Leash  (ogg  141mb)

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This 1993 effort marked a strong comeback for the group, who started with 1991's Monster on a Leash. T.O.P. continues the formula with great results. The reason for the revitalization can be directly attributed to the energetic, Stevie Wonder-influenced lead singer, Tom Bowes. The hard-driving, James Brown-derived funk of "Soul With a Capital S" and "I Like Your Style" update the band's classic horn-driven sound and is augmented by not only Bowes but Francis "Rocco" Prestia's amazing and soulful bass work. The ballads -- like "Quiet Scream," "Please Come Back to Stay," and arguably the best, "Come to a Decision" -- underscore the fact that this version of Tower of Power was the first in years that was equally adept with slower songs and up-tempo offerings. T.O.P. also has other members doing lead vocal chores. Group co-founder Emilio Castillo leads on the hammy and fun "Come on With It" and guitarist Carmen Grillo assumes lead on the melodic and smooth "You." Former member, saxophonist Lenny "L.P." Pickett, shows up for five tracks. Produced by Castillo, T.O.P. not only made an album to stand with Monster on a Leash, but also other classics like Urban Renewal and Ain't Nothing Stopping Us Now.

 Tower Of Power - TOP      (flac 394mb)

01 Soul With A Capital "S" 4:59
02 It All Comes Back 3:55
03 Please Come Back (To Stay) 5:28
04 The Real Deal 4:30
05 Come To A Decision 5:32
06 Cruise Control 5:04
07 The Educated Bump Part I 0:54
08 Mama Lied 3:35
09 Quiet Scream 4:21
10 I Like Your Style 4:19
11 You 4:31
12 South Of The Boulevard 5:59
13 Come On With It 4:52
14 The Educated Bump Part II 1:02

Tower Of Power - TOP  (ogg  143mb )

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Tower of Power's Souled Out featured four new members, including a new lead vocalist. However, the change in membership didn't revitalize the band as they churned out the same blend of funk and mid-tempo groovers that they had for years, with only a couple of numbers making any sort of impression.

Tower Of Power - Souled Out   (flac 347mb)

01 Souled Out 3:48
02 Taxed To The Max 4:19
03 Keep Comin' Back 3:47
04 Soothe You 3:52
05 Do You Wanna (Make Love To Me 3:51
06 Lovin' You Forever 4:15
07 Gotta Make A Change 3:38
08 Diggin' On James Brown 4:53
09 Sexy Soul 4:43
10 Just Like You 4:27
11 Once You Get A Taste 4:01
12 Undercurrent 5:01

. Tower Of Power - Souled Out  (ogg  118mb)

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Emilio Castillo, Francis Rocco Prestia, "Doc" Kupka and the boys are back for another session of family- style funk. As in their formative years, Tower of Power lays it down with the idea that more is better. Perhaps as a result of maintaining the same personnel for so many years, the sound here is tight, clean and hard-hitting. Often utilizing groups of singers, and a full horn section, many of the songs transcend the usual "get down and party" message of most funk bands. "Unconditional Love" is about finally growing up enough to love, "Rhythm and Business" about trying to hang onto your heart in a materialistic world. These guys know all there is to know about R & B and on Rhythm & Business they combine their musical passion, knowledge and abilities into that one-of-a-kind Tower of Power sound.

Tower Of Power - Rhythm & Business   (flac 465mb)

01 So I Got To Groove 5:43
02 Crazy For You 4:36
03 East Bay Way 4:47
04 Unconditional Love 6:58
05 You Do The Math 4:46
06 The More You Know 5:48
07 Recapture The Magic 5:32
08 What's Your Trip 5:39
09 Rhythm And Business 4:08
10 Don't Knock Me Down 3:40
11 That Was Then And This Is Now 4:34
12 It Really Doesn't Matter 4:34
13 Spank-A-Dang 5:42

.Tower Of Power - Rhythm & Business  (ogg  154mb)

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