Tower of Power’s musical odyssey began in 1968 when tenor saxophonist/vocalist Emilio Castillo met baritone sax player Stephen “Doc” Kupka in July of that year. Originally named The Motown’s, the guys paid homage to the R&B sound that influenced them while adding their own personal twist. In 1970, the now renamed Tower of Power landed its first record deal with Bill Graham’s San Francisco Records. Their next album, Bump City, was recorded on Warner Brothers and produced a string of hits giving the band its first national exposure.
Then, as history will repeat itself, on May 14, 1974, Tower of Power went into radio station WLIR in Hempstead, Long Island and played a live-in-the-studio show that set the station ablaze as well as the radios of any listeners that were lucky enough to hear it. Flash forward nearly 40 years…HIPPER THAN HIP LIVE is now ready for release on Real Gone Music through Razor & Tie.
Indeed, HIPPER THAN HIP LIVE captures the band at their commercial peak, fresh from releasing their fourth album, Back to Oakland, and featuring such key early tracks as “You’re Still a Young Man,” “Down to the Nightclub,” “So Very Hard to Go,” “Time Will Tell” and, of course, “What Is Hip?” with Lenny Williams on vocals.
Emilio Castillo, founding member and leader of Tower of Power: “We were clearly at the top of our game firing on all 10 cylinders.”
What makes the recording particularly overpowering—aside from the band’s performance, which is so on the money that calling it “tight” doesn’t really do it justice—is that it was a live-in-the-studio session, so the fidelity is the equal of a studio recording, yet it has all the passion and immediacy of a live concert.
This special package includes photos and liner notes by noted R&B producer, scholar—and long-time friend of the band—Leo Sacks.
- Oakland Stroke
- Squib Cakes
- This Time It’s Real
- Soul Vaccination
- You’re Still a Young Man
- Clean Slate
- So Very Hard to Go
- Get Your Feet Back on the Ground
- Time Will Tell
- Man from the Past
- Down to the Nightclub
- Just When We Start Makin’ It
- Knock Yourself Out
- What Is Hip
At least 60 talented musicians have toured or recorded with the band in its 45 years and they have been featured with artists as diverse as Aerosmith, Elton John, Little Feat, Phish, Santana, Heart, and many others, forever infusing the radio airwaves with Tower’s musical DNA.
Each year Tower of Power tours the United States, Japan and Europe, playing sold out shows all over the world. Recent releases include “Great American Soulbook”, a collection of classic soul tunes, and the 40th Anniversary Concert DVD. Tower has never been busier or more in demand. 2013 marks the 45th anniversary for Tower of Power; HIPPER THAN HIP LIVE will soon become a major addition to the band’s discography.
For all current information on Tower of Power, please visit www.towerofpower.com