Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Tower of Power|
Monster on a Leash
Genres: Pop, R&B, Rock
Listen to Samples
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THE 80'S ARE OVER -- GET ON WITH THE FUNK -- AGAIN!!!
B Sax Man | North Carolina | 08/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Say what you will about this Tower Of Power CD, it has some very good tunes on it. After a very bad lull of electrified, synthisized, pre-programmed, horn chorus-filled, undignified pretentious "music" (and I use the term loosely) during the 80s, when the premium was on formula rather than substance, and the record producers and club owners had pretty much outlawed REAL bands (you know the ones with real bass players, real guitar players, real horns, and a real drummer), Tower Of Power came back ready to play. Sit back while I tell you how I really feel!!
In the 70s, when I was in college, Tower Of Power was unlike any other band because they crossed all types of music and cultures. It moved me because it was real, gritty funk. Those guys were funky. They didn't call it East Bay Grease for nothing! And that's what everyone loved about them. The music was uncompromising and free and that led to their appeal.
In the 80s, the dynamic of the music business changed. My opinion was that the club owners dictated a lot of what was happening. Music was in a growth period. And financially, it was more advantageous to have smaller groups to pay than larger ones. So horn-based groups tended to break up. TOP didn't break up, but they had to deal with the trends of the day, that included horn chorus interfaces on keyboards that eliminated the need for full horn sections; the development and refinement of drum machines; the infusion of disco/techno music and the beginnings of rap, which meant the beginning of sampling, rather than full-fledged song development. Everyone was too busy or too high to deal with a lot of lyrics that made sense or complicated rhythms and song changes. Simple was better.
So TOP and other groups were highly inactive during the 80s. The albums they put out with disco overtones were not very good. That wasn't what they cut their teeth on, and their enthusiasm, or lack of it, showed on the albums. So this is their first of many albums during the 90s. And they went back to the formula that worked. No cheesy synths on this, no disco beat. Just the formula. East Bay Grease.
Is this a classic album? Maybe not, but it's enjoyable to say the very least, and there are some memorable songs on it. The single "YOU CAN'T FALL UP" was not one of my favorites. The sax solo doesn't crank up until the song is over. Not good. Especially for a sax player.
I do have my favorites though. I really like "PERSONAL POSSESSIONS". The guitar solo is a thing of beauty and the song is reminiscent of some of their earlier mid-tempo jams. The horns work very well against the melody. Also good are "MISS TROUBLE", "A LITTLE KNOWLEDGE" and "MR. TOAD'S WILD RIDE", in honor of one of their favorite east coast clubs. Tom Bowes is an excellent lead singer and did a reputable job on this album.
Before you're overly critical of this album, consider the times and what had gone on in music up to that time. Someone already wrote that it was good driving music -- and that, my friends, is something we all need. You won't lose with this one in your collection."