Ending up the weekend with a short set from Tower Of Power, recorded live from l’Olympia in Paris in 1975. One of the most recognizable and admired practitioners of Bay Area Soul/Funk, Tower Of Power have underdone some 60 personnel changes over the years. They are currently on tour in the U.S. and haven’t lost one scintilla of energy in the 40+ years they’ve been gettin’ down to it.
People always think New Orleans when they think of Funk and Soul – and you will admit, with folks like Trombone Shorty around, you’d be hard-pressed not to give NOLA the thumbs up. But there are other pockets, places where Funk and Soul are just as strong and just as accomplished.
Tower of Power got started in 1968, a perfect compliment to Sly & The Family Stone and a lot of R&B activity in the Bay Area at the time. Like he did with new Jazz, Bill Graham booked Tower of Power to open for a wide spectrum of bands, and in the process gained a lot of converts and fans.
It was part of a musical education – one we all got from a lot of places, but which stayed with us for our entire lives. Just like the music posts on Past Daily – you don’t have to like everything I post, but I offer it to you as a way of turning you on to things you may not be familiar with – or only vaguely familiar with. The offer a bigger selection in your musical diet, and possible places to inspire you to borrow from. That’s why it’s here.
Tower of Power were (and still are) a great band – one of the tightest ensembles in Contemporary Pop Music. You can learn a lot by listening to them – you can learn a lot from their phrasing and their structure.
And listening to them live, and not in a studio setting, puts them in a place where you get to hear them with their gloves off; the real deal, the honest-to-god truth.
Crank it up and dive in.