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Pop - Released May 1, 1973 | Warner Records

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The Tower of Power finally found their ideal lead singer on this album. Lenny Williams came aboard and gave them both the up-tempo belter and convincing balladeer they had previously lacked. They landed their biggest single hit, "So Very Hard to Go," and also had two other top tunes in "What Is Hip" and "This Time It's Real." The arrangements and production were also excellent, and the horn section was at its explosive best. © Ron Wynn /TiVo
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Pop - Released July 17, 2001 | Rhino - Warner Records

Usually, it's not a good sign if a band is generally known for augmenting artists instead of their own records, but Tower of Power was really a very good horn section, and they did make records that held their own. Of course, "What Is Hip?" was the biggest single they ever had, but they also had several other smaller hits that captured their sleek, stylized soul-funk quite well, such as "Soul Vaccination." Pretty much all of those songs are captured on Rhino's 2001 anthology The Very Best of Tower of Power: The Warner Years, which spans 16 tracks and contains almost all the highlights of their '70s records. Yes, the 1999 double-disc set What Is Hip? is more comprehensive, but that's really for serious listeners. For listeners that want a lean dose of the TOP's prime, this is the best collection on the market. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released June 30, 1975 | Warner Records

Tower of Power followed their self-titled gold album with an even better album that didn't enjoy similar sales success. Back to Oakland had tougher, funkier and better-produced cuts, stronger vocals from Lenny Williams (who was more comfortable as their lead singer), and included an excellent ballad in "Time Will Tell," and a rousing tempo in "Don't Change Horses (In the Middle of a Stream)." The Tower of Power horn section reaffirmed its reputation in both soul and pop circles, and the album included a powerhouse instrumental. © Ron Wynn /TiVo
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Pop - Released April 20, 1976 | Warner Records

The band's final album for Warner Bros. before it decamped to Columbia, the absolutely stunning 1975 Live and in Living Color ensured that Tower of Power left in a blaze of glory. Recorded at Sacramento Memorial Auditorium and Cerritos College, the group brought what remains one of the era's finest live albums to glorious fruition. Leaving behind the dismal soul of its previous In the Slot, the band fell back on its two great strengths -- classy live performance and unerring funk. With every ounce of the group's full energy packed into the grooves and a little more added for emphasis, Live squeezes out five tracks of epic proportions. Reaching back to its debut LP, East Bay Grease, Tower of Power jammed on a majestic 23-minute rendition of "Knock Yourself Out" and the sleepy classic "Sparkling in the Sand," before continuing its sonic domination across two songs pulled from Bump City. "Down to the Nightclub (Bump City)" is effusive, while "You're Still a Young Man" is an absolutely outstanding performance of one of TOP's finest songs -- and judging by the audience enthusiasm, it packed as much power in 1976 as it did in 1972 (and indeed, still does today). Courageously, only one track, "What Is Hip?," emerges from the group's most successful era, but with its rock riffing slices and roiling organ solo, you really don't need anything else -- it stands well as a lone representative of what many hail as TOP's finest hour. There's nothing to fault here except, possibly, the decision to release a mere single disc at a time when live double albums were becoming de rigueur, a move guaranteed to leave listeners crying for more. But perhaps that was the intent all along -- too little is always sweeter than too much. © Amy Hanson /TiVo
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Pop - Released May 1, 1972 | Warner Records

The second Tower of Power LP, Bump City was the first to make any impact. The group went to Memphis, cut their first great single in "You're Still A Young Man," and learned firsthand about funk and soul. The production and arrangements were much improved over the debut album, as was the engineering and overall technical quality. Their lines were crisper, the unison and ensemble passages much sharper, and they were beginning to round into shape. © Ron Wynn /TiVo
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Pop - Released September 10, 1993 | Warner Records

Tower of Power was very much in its prime in 1974, when the Bay Area outfit tore up the soul charts with the outstanding Urban Renewal. Lenny Williams, a passionate, wailing, gospel-influenced dynamo of a singer, had joined Tower the previous year, and he worked out remarkably well; whether digging into tough funk or romantic ballads, Williams is in top form. Funk doesn't get much more invigorating than horn-driven gems like "Maybe It'll Rub Off," "Give Me the Proof" and "Only So Much Oil in the Ground" (a commentary on the mid-'70s energy crisis), and soul ballads don't get much richer than "Willing to Learn" and "I Won't Leave Unless You Want Me To." Tower (an influence on everyone from L.T.D. to the Average White Band) recorded a number of essential albums in the '70s, and Urban Renewal is at the top of the list. © Alex Henderson /TiVo
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Pop - Released September 12, 1975 | Warner Records

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Pop - Released November 3, 1992 | Rhino

The first Tower of Power album, when the band was only honing its concept and seeking a lead singer. On some songs, notably "Sparkling in the Sand," you can hear the group beginning to come together. They already had a fine horn section, and were only some good arrangements away from becoming one of the best pop and soul bands in the nation. The vocals were uneven, although Rick Stevens would later emerge as the prime vocalist. Despite its flaws, it's worth having because the diamond was being cut on these selections. It's recently been reissued on CD. © Ron Wynn /TiVo
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Pop - Released November 22, 2005 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 2017 | RoxVox

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Rock - Released January 1, 2015 | Sunny Orchard Records