With a bombastically live sound, strong, danceable songwriting, and a great new singer, Larry Braggs, TOP's new album, OAKLAND ZONE, is the first in decades to take their legendary vibe one step beyond…
Edward McGhee turned in mostly above-average performances on their first post-Lenny Williams release, but it was the beginning of the end. With funk losing its foothold among R&B audiences, they couldn't keep it together. McGhee was an energetic, exuberant vocalist who held his own on up-tempo tunes like "You Ought to Be Havin' Fun" and the title song, but lacked Williams' range or tonal quality on ballads. The group always had a weakness for ponderous message cuts, and "Can't Stand to See the Slaughter" and "While We Went to the Moon" were well-intentioned but clumsy tracks. This was almost the Tower of Power's swan song.
Dexter Gordon (tenor sax) returned to the United States in the spring of 1969 to create his first studio recordings in nearly a decade. Joined by James Moody (tenor sax), Barry Harris (piano), Buster Williams (bass), and Albert "Tootie" Heath (drums), Gordon actually documented enough material for two long players – Tower of Power (1969) and More Power! (1969) – both of which became primary staples of the artist's voluminous Prestige catalog. An opening flourish from Heath on "Montmartre" marks the commencement of the platter, leading into a mid-tempo bop. Gordon and Moody swing steadily as they bounce ideas off each other.
Tower of Power (or TOP for short) is an American R&B-based horn section and band, originating in Oakland, California, that has been performing since 1968. They are best known for their funky soul sound highlighted by a powerful horn section and precisely syncopated bass-guitar lines. There have been several lead vocalists, the most famous being Lenny Williams, who fronted the band between early 1973 and late 1974, the period of their greatest commercial success. Their biggest hits include "You're Still a Young Man", "So Very Hard to Go","Soul With a Capital S", "Soul Vaccination", "What Is Hip?", and "Don't Change Horses (in the Middle of a Stream)."