Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Climbing the Tower of Power

"Throughout my first 10 years in the band, I collected reel-to-reel tapes and cassettes of our rehearsals and shows. These recordings document our evolution as a group, and are a historical record of the development of the Tower of Power sound. Over the years, I would occasionally listen to some of these tapes, and marvel at how we were always trying to reach beyond ourselves into that creative space where the great music lives."

-David Garibaldi, liner notes for The East Bay Archives Volume 1

Tower of Power fans have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season! First off, to help celebrate the band's 40th anniversary August saw the release of The East Bay Archives Volume 1, a live double disc release originally recorded April 23rd, 1973. As suggested by the quote above, the original source is on cassette tape recorded by David Garibaldi, the drummer for the band. That being said, don't expect crystal clear sound quality here. Not only is it from a cassette, but it's non-soundboard (which effects are probably most noticeable with the vocals), but don't let that scare you away. There is some classic material here from early in the group's formative years that will make fans' heads spin.

If you're not already familiar with the band, they originally formed around saxophonist Emilio Castillo in 1968 and have since grown to a ten member organization. Since the beginning though they've always been a horn driven, well oiled, soul and funk machine that delivered tight numbers and polished musicianship. A better introduction to their goods might be What Is Hip? The Tower of Power Anthology, but if you're already up on their catalog, this live release will fill in your collection nicely.

In addition, the group will be releasing a soul covers CD sometime in January, which will include duets with lead singer Larry Braggs and Sam Moore (of Sam and Dave), Joss Stone, Tom Jones, and Huey Lewis. I'll let you know more about it when I know more. In the meantime, here are a few live cuts.

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