LO'S ALBUM OF THE YEAR PICK - “Soul Side of Town” by Tower of Power
Originally featured on Inside MusiCast
“Soul Side of Town” by Tower of Power has lived up to my standard of “being able to listen to an album from beginning to the end and then start over again”. In fact, one day while working three hours in my yard, I only listened to this album, over and over. And, with each play rotation, I was slowly drawn deeper and deeper into the vocals, the musicianship, the energy and most of all, the SOUL.
It’s hard to identify which tracks I like the best. As I listened closely to each track, I literally would say to myself, “wait, I love this one, too!!” Outgoing ToP vocalist, Ray Greene (to Santana), makes an appearance on “Soul Side of Town” and is great, but I have to say, that “youngin’” Marcus Scott has truly grown into his own since joining ToP. I swear. he has one old funky soul. The kid is DYN-O-MITE!
I give an honorable track mention to the “Selah.” Here, Emilio Castillo soulfully shares his past, faith and heart. He speaks of being “bound and determined” to turning his life around and “never going down that road again.” Love it.
“Soul Side of Town” has all the best elements that make this a ToP album, especially when it comes to that “early 70’s Oakland sound”. They make it sound fresh and new.
And, on “Soul Side of Town”, every member shines. Every member. From Jerry Cortez’s tasty solos, to Roger Smith throwin’ it down on the Hammond B, to the chilling and tight horns by Doc, Emilio, Tom Politzer, Adolfo Acosta, Sal Cracchiolo and Chuck Hansen with David Garibaldi and Rocco – keeping it real on the rhythm. Co-Produced by legendary Joe Vannelli, Joe also lends his skills on keyboards. Oh, and those backup vocals are off the hook and make wish I could have been amongst the group. (That’s okay, I sing along and pretend I’m right there!).
To say “Soul Side of Town” is a great album is an understatement. I’ve heard that there’s a part two to this album coming with a release date to be announced. Could it possibly be any better than “Soul Side of Town?” Hard to say. At the moment, this is my “go-to.” But, I’m pretty sure once the album releases and I have three hours of yard work to do, “Soul Side of Town” , part 1 and part 2, will be on my listening rotation.