*Legendary soul band Tower of Power – who are appearing at the Playboy Jazz Festival (June 9/10) – has a new album out. It’s titled Soul Side of Town and we asked our new resident music aficionado/critic, Emily Bell to break it down song by song and give her assessment of the project. Here it is, straight, no chaser.
Tower of Power’s Soul Side of Town project is stuck in time in the 70s for Tower of Power’s original fans who loved them in the first place.
Most bands update a little bit since the 70s, nope, by listening to this record Tower of Power said, nope, we’re doing our music the way we want to do it and never mind what time period we’re in.
So, here we go …
“East Bay All Day” sounds like a fast rhythmic jazzy song with drums and everything that’s too fast and sounds like it would work in the 60s as well as now, for their original fans.
“Hangin’ With My Baby” sounds like a happy 70s groove and along the lines of music TOP use to do. “Soul Vaxination” for example.
“Do You Like That” sounds melodically and rhythmically like something Marvin Gaye would have wrote and produced.
“The Soul Side of Town” is perfect music when you’re sitting at a Jazz bar eating because it’s not like somebody can really dance to it.
“Do it With Soul” sounds like music at a jam session and I wasn’t crazy about the older lead singer in that song.
“Love Must Be Patient and Kind,” … lyricly, it’s good but it sounded too laid back and boring it needed some more oomph in that slow jam but I think a lot of original fans will like it though. Butter Fried sounds like a song that musicians would play when hangin’ out jammin’ on the corner.
“Sella” reminds me of a midtempo blues song.
“Let It Go” sounds like the best slow jam on the album with emotional soul about heartbreak.
“Stop” reminds me of a song that The Dramatics would have produced for Tower of Power in the early 70s.
“When Love Takes Control” I wasn’t feeling at all. No soul no emotion no nothing. After Hours sounds like a jam session with a band after dark, smooooooth, not a slow jam, but saxephone, drums and bongos and other instruments and I felt that one.
“Can’t Stop Thinking About You” I didn’t feel at all.
Emily’s bottom line
Me personally, I think they could have done better and moved their time clock from the 70s to at least the 90s. This is a good album, depending on who’s listening to it. If you love band music especially band music that they play on the street corners of San Fransisco, you are gonna love this album. Or if you’ve been listening to Tower of Power and love their original 70s sound you are gonna love this album. Listen to it yourself on Spotify. Get more info: https://towerofpower.com/
My name is Emily Bell AKA Egroove1. I’m based in San Diego and I was born with a visual impairment and an ear for music. I first really got into music at 13 listening to my favorite radio station 92.5 with Funk, Soul and Slow Jams. This was during the eighties so they played a variety of real R and B including Barry White, Freddie Jackson, Loose Ends, and Earth Wind and Fire and the list goes on and on. When 92.5 got snatched away and turned into a Rock and Roll station in 1993 I thought, oh no, they’re not taking my station from me. I went record store to record store collecting Soul and Funk music for 15 years till I had all that 92.5 use to play, back in it’s original days in the eighties. And, the music collecting still goes on to this day. I also love stories about the artists and how the music was created and what went through the people’s minds as they were creating the music. Tell me about the music you love at Egroove1@gmail.com.