Tower Of Power: Hipper Than Hip
by Gary G. Vercelli
On a spring evening in 1974, Tower Of Power broadcast a live ”in studio” concert over WLIR FM from Long Island. This was the hottest soul band of the era recorded under studio quality conditions and on that special night TOP was firing on all cylinders! What makes this recording technically superior to a lot of broadcast remotes of the time is that it originated from Ultrasonic Recording Studio, with guests invited for the "live vibe."
For over 40 years, this band of road warriors has covered the globe as ambassadors of East Bay funk. The band has changed some personnel over the years, but this was arguably the strongest line-up ever. The precision and vast power of TOP’s horn section, the flawless super-tight arrangements by Greg Adams, and the expressive voice of Lenny Williams set this band apart from all others.
It’s what Lenny does with ballads like “You’re Still A Young Man” and “Time Will Tell” that make this two CD set a must have. Also, check out Chester Thompson’s jazz-infused solo on “Just When We Start Makin’ It!”
I’ve often been skeptical of whether live recordings can match studio quality hits of the exact same material. But, on May 14, 1974 the stars aligned for Tower Of Power in The Big Apple. Although it strangely took 40 years for this broadcast to be commercially released, it was definitely worth the wait!