Everything Else May Suck, but We Still Have Tower of Power: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

Music • Views: 28,896

YouTube

Aug. 13, 2018 | Felix Contreras — When the 10 members of Tower of Power were in place behind Bob Boilen’s desk, strategically positioned around the band’s famous five-piece horn section, their first collective blast three beats into the sound check literally made the video crew jump. It was more a force of nature than a sound, and an impressive display of the “five fingers operating as one hand” concept of band cohesiveness.

From the group’s beginning in Oakland in 1968, its soul disciples stood out from the peace-and-love scene in the San Francisco Bay. Their dedication to the horn-driven soul heard on recordings from the Stax and Atlantic record labels evolved to such a sophisticated level as to make the Tower of Power Horns an entity unto themselves. Eventually artists as diverse as Santana, the Grateful Dead and even Elton John enlisted them to give their music an authentic connection to the scene.

I have to confess that this show was mostly a labor of self-indulgent love, since I’ve been a fan since about 1972. So it was a joy to listen to the unmistakable sounds of my youth as the band delivered both “What Is Hip” and “So Very Hard to Go” with so much vitality, it sounded as if they were just written last week. During the performance of the title track from their new album, “The Soul Side of Town,” the playing, the passion and the precision remains unchanged after all the years.

1968 was one hell of a year musically, as we’ve seen from this year’s many anniversary celebrations of albums, events and bands. Add Tower of Power to that shortlist of artists for whom that moment was an early rehearsal for what would become a five decade career. A band this big will inevitably have some members come and go, but it’s important to note that the original songwriting nucleus of bari saxophonist Stephen “Funky Doctor” Kupa and bandleader/tenor saxophonist Emilio Castillo continue to write and perform, as does original drummer David Garibaldi.

I want to write that the band has become an institution. But that conjures images of stuffy old men looking down professorially on youthful funksters, occasionally showing them how it was done in a long-lost golden era. Instead, Tower of Power remains as vital and full of life-affirming funk and soul, if not more, as they were in 1968. The band’s dedication, hard work and connection to us long-time fans prove that a good idea is timeless. If you need proof, just watch this video.

Congrats, fellas. It’s been a very soulful 50 years.

Set List
“On the Soul Side of Town”
“So Very Hard to Go”
“What Is Hip?”

Credits
Producers: Felix Contreras, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Maia Stern, Becky Harlan, CJ Riculan; Production Assistant: Catherine Zhang; Photo: Samantha Clark/NPR.

Jump to top

Create a PageThis is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.
Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.
Last updated: 2016-01-01 10:29 am PST
LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds Tweet

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!Register and sign in to a free LGF account before subscribing, and your ad-free access will be automatically enabled.

Donate with
PayPal
Square Cash Shop at amazon
as an LGF Associate!
Recent PagesClick to refresh
Season 3 Premiere of VictoriaFor those who are interested Season 3 of Victoria premieres this evening. Please check your local listings for times. Main PBS website:pbs.org
PhillyPretzel
2 days, 4 hours ago
Views: 138 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Ten Reasons Why Gold Will Remain Above $1250 in 2019Fun fact- A healthy economy drops gold lower over time. Read with caution As far as investing goes, I read an indictment of economic policy from Trump in this. After a healthy consolidation period below strong resistance around the $1300 ...
Unshaken Defiance
3 days, 7 hours ago
Views: 218 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Season Pass for Victoria Season 3 at AmazonOT I am still surprised that there are people complaining about Victoria Season 3 on Amazon. The 3rd season of Victoria will start on January 13, 2019. I again wrote a review explaining the basic season pass rules and it ...
PhillyPretzel
3 days, 8 hours ago
Views: 197 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Ghost-Note - Can’t Get Right - Old Growth Sessions @Pickathon 2017 S02E08 Old Growth Series - Season 2 - Episode 8 Outside Magazine presents Ghost-Note in this episode of the Pickathon Old Growth Series. Visit Outside Magazine (outsideonline.com) on the 1st Thursday of every month for a new Old Growth Series ...
Thanos
1 week, 2 days ago
Views: 374 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Clean Bandit - Baby (Feat. Marina & Luis Fonsi) [Official Video]Download or stream now: atlanti.crTaken from our new album "What Is Love?" - out now: atlanti.cr Click here to subscribe: bit.ly Follow us:Website: cleanbandit.co.ukFacebook: facebook.com Twitter: twitter.com Instagram: instagram.comSoundcloud: SoundCloudSpotify: atlre.co.uk
Thanos
1 week, 2 days ago
Views: 425 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Khruangbin - Maria También (Live on KEXP)kexp.org presents Khruangbin performing "Maria También" live in the KEXP studio. Recorded April 26, 2018. Host: Cheryl WatersAudio Engineers: Tim Iseler & Kevin Suggs Cameras: Alaia D'Alessandro, Scott Holpainen & Justin WilmoreEditor: Justin Wilmore kexp.orgkhruangbin.com
Thanos
1 week, 2 days ago
Views: 551 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
kokoroko - abusey junction // we out here Follow - Kokoroko - bit.lyWatch - We Out Here A LDN Story - bit.lyBuy - We Out Here - bit.ly A primer on London’s bright-burning young jazz scene, this new compilation brings together a collection of some of its ...
Thanos
1 week, 2 days ago
Views: 464 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Cyber Phrenology - How Is It a Thing?I'm not a computer maven. So, I apologize in advance if this post is old news for some. It is a shallow water dive into the world of influencing public opinion via memes and social media postings.I came across this ...
qubit2020
1 week, 4 days ago
Views: 392 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Become a Better Photographer With This 52-Week Photo ChallengeFrom pros to the most green amateur, this is excellent advice. Now let me add a few (free or almost free) essential apps for your cell phones to help. Most people don't need to buy a camera, they already have ...
Unshaken Defiance
1 week, 6 days ago
Views: 583 • Comments: 1 • Rating: 4
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 2
Comments: 0
: 2
German Police: Man Intentionally Drove Into Crowd, Injured 4 BERLIN (AP) — A man has been arrested in Germany after ploughing his car into a crowd of people early Tuesday, injuring at least four in what appears to have been an intentional attack directed at foreigners, police said ...
Thanos
2 weeks ago
Views: 446 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0