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Jazz - Released May 11, 1993 | Columbia

Edward McGhee turned in mostly above-average performances on their first post-Lenny Williams release, but it was the beginning of the end. With funk losing its foothold among R&B audiences, they couldn't keep it together. McGhee was an energetic, exuberant vocalist who held his own on up-tempo tunes like "You Ought to Be Havin' Fun" and the title song, but lacked Williams' range or tonal quality on ballads. The group always had a weakness for ponderous message cuts, and "Can't Stand to See the Slaughter" and "While We Went to the Moon" were well-intentioned but clumsy tracks. This was almost the Tower of Power's swan song. © Ron Wynn /TiVo
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Jazz - Released May 11, 1993 | Columbia

By the late '70s, though Tower Of Power was past its initial heyday, the band was not over. Many of its most prominent members like Emilio Castillo, Stephen "Doc" Kupka, Chester Thompson, Bruce Conte, and Mic Gillette were still going strong. Also making significant strides were saxophonist Lenny Pickett and vocalist Michael Jeffries. WE CAME TO PLAY from 1978 showcases the band with plenty of fire, although slight tinges of disco had begun to creep into its otherwise funky style. The sound of the band's recorded output of this period is slicker and more produced than earlier efforts, mostly due to the effects of success and advances in studio know-how. Yet there is still a deep groove underlying each of the cuts, despite the absence of original bassist Rocco Prestia. As evidence, the celebratory opening title cut and the danceable "Yin-Yang Thang" are worthy additions to the band's funky repertoire. And despite some cheesy period strings, ballads like "Bittersweet Soul Music" and "Am I a Fool" are both as musically and emotionally satisfying as any in the Tower Of Power canon. © TiVo
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Jazz - Released May 11, 1993 | Columbia

Their last LP for Columbia, 1979's Back on the Streets, found Tower of Power once again a disappointment to their fans. After two albums of desultory balladeering, the band still refused to return to their blistering funk roots, choosing instead what they hoped would be a more commercially viable wade into the oceans of disco. It didn't work. With a slick production that's so predictable it's horizontally boring, Tower of Power limped into the R&B charts with the mini-hit "Rock Baby" in August. And it really doesn't get any better from there. Across a batch of mediocre and uneven disco numbers, replete with strings and "sexy" backing vocalists, the band wandered across the absolutely MOR ballad "Heaven Must Have Made You" and the "Chuck E.'s in Love"-esque "And You Know It." It's only when they reach "Nowhere to Run" and the more funk-fueled "Something Calls Me" and "Just Make a Move (And Be Yourself)" that they show any glimmers of their earlier, powerful prowess. Ultimately, crippled by the rotating roster of players, producers, and hangers-on, Tower of Power just doesn't pull through -- at all. Back on the Streets put the band straight on the back burner, where, at the time, most people felt they belonged. © Amy Hanson /TiVo