Tower of Power - Soul Side of Town (Advance Review)

Fifty years have passed since the year 1968, and there have been plenty of retrospectives about the events from that tumultuous year. A book was written about the Tet Offensive and a commemoration took place in Memphis on April 4 – the day 50 years ago when the Rev. Martin Luther King was assassinated.

In the world of music, Tower of Power is now releasing their new album, Soul Side of Town, and the band celebrates the 50thanniversary of their founding on June 1. TOP’s anniversary, which will also include a concert, will be not be a silver anniversary in name only. Four of the founding members, Emilio Castillo, Dave Girabaldi, Stephen Kupka and Francis Prestia, remain with the band. Secondly, unlike many of their contemporaries from days with R&B giant bands ruled the earth, TOP never stopped working. They simply inserted a vocalist and kept it pushing. 

The Oakland based unit stood, ready, willing and able to do a live show in good times and bad, regardless of whether TOP had a record deal or a new album to promote. It wasn’t always easy. Group members indulged in many of the excesses common among rock and R&B groups in the 1960s and 70s. As recently as last year, the band almost lost Girabaldi when the drummer and bassist Marc VanWageningen were struck by a train while walking near a concert venue.


Peter Rinker