In 1970 the ten piece band, heavy on horns and high on James Brown, signed a recording contract with the great Bill Graham. Bill was, of course, a seminal promoter in San Francisco, the man behind the greatest rock venue of all time, The Fillmore and a man who was critical in the rise of the Grateful Dead and other San Francisco Psychadelic bands.
Tower of Power, however, had nothing to do with psychadelia. When you first hear them you realise that hip-hop is not funky (there's a statement), that Michael Jackson is a pale imitation (no pun intended) and that this is what funk would sound like if ten James Brown's played the horn.
The band did fairly well in the Billboard charts in the first half of the seventies but their real strength was in live performance.
Since then the band is more of a open group, with 60 musicians coming and going in three decades and 18 albums released. Listen to their recent album , The Oakland Zone (2003) and you will see that they have lost none of their power packed sound. The band has also been critical as a backing unit for others, including LIttle Feat, Santana, Heart, John Lee Hooker, Phish, Jefferson Airplane, Toto and Aerosmith.
Don't change horses in the middle of the stream
Soul with a Capital S
Your still a young man
What is hip
Image: Courtesy Or. Music