Rick Galusha's Pacific St. Blues and Americana

Since inception (1989), Pacific St. Blues & Americana strives to be a discerning voice helping roots fans sift through the mountains of music released every year. We are not for everyone; we want to engage active, critical listeners that hear beyond d'jour. Interviews include: Johnny Winter, Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones), Jerry Wexler, Tommy Shannon & Chris Layton, B.B. King, Dr. John, Robin Trower, Robben Ford, Mato Nanji, Joe Bonamassa, Harry Manx, Sue Foley, Marshall Chess, Billy Lee Riley, Charlie Louvin, Kim Richey, Radney Foster, Eric Johnson, David Clayton Thomas, Al Kooper, Phil Chen (Wired, Blow By Blow), Ian McLagan, Art Neville, Southside Johnny, Miami Steve Van Zant, Nils Lofgren, Bruce Iglauer, Charlie Musselwhite, Studebaker John, Chris Duarte, Smokin' Joe Kubeck, Hamilton Loomis, Peter Karp, Roomful of Blues, James Harman, Hadden Sayers, Malford Milligan, Melvin Taylor, Otis Taylor, Dave Alvin, Coco Montoya, Jimmy Thackery, Marsha Ball, Maria Muldaur, Shelby Lynne, Magic Dick & J. Geils, Lil' Milton, BuddyGuy, Aynsley Lister, Matt Schofield, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Guy Clark, Joe Ely, James Cotton, Robin & Jesse Davey, Hugh Coltman (Hoax), Sean Kelly (Samples), John Entwistle (The Who), Mark Olson (Jayhawks), Walter Wolfman Washington, Anthony Gomes, Bob Malone, Chubby Carrier, Buckwheat Zydeco, Murali Coryell, David Jacob Strain, DeAnna Bogart, Michael Lee Firkins, Guy Davis, Jason Ricci, John Doe, Little Feat, Matt Woods, MikeZito, Peter Buffett, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Corky Siegel, Todd Park Mohr, Watermelon Slim, Magic Slim, Corey Harris,- - - - - - ------------------------Radio archives: http://www.kiwrblues.podomatic.com/. Playlists: http://www.omahablues.com/ Reviews featured in http://www.blueswax.com/. Email: KIWRblues@gmail.com Live online; Sundays 9 a.m. (-6 GMT) http://www.897theriver.com/

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Band: Tower of Power
Title: Great American Soulbook
Rating: 8

Writer: Rick Galusha

Combine one of recorded music finest horns bands with the best of the best soul songs and you get the new Tower of Power album, ‘Great American Soulbook.’ While mass appeal has overtly missed this terrific bay area act, for more than four decades (’68 – present) Tower of Power have graced, albeit surreptitiously, some of radio and recordings most popular acts including; Aerosmith, Elton John, Little Feat, Phish, Santana, Heart, Huey Lewis and the News, the Monkees, Santana, Elkie Brooks, Elton John, John Lee Hooker, Rod Stewart, Jefferson Starship, Mickey Hart, Spyro Gyra, Lyle Lovett, Poison, Phish, Toto, and the Brothers Johnson.

Perhaps the comfort of this album is that there are no surprises. Across their 22 albums the band has been consistent and ranged from brilliant to good. As the title of the album implies, TOP covers twelve well known soul songs including; Billy Paul’s ‘Me and Mrs. Jones,’ a medley of James Brown hits (an early influence on the band’s sound development) and Bill Wither’s ‘Who is He and What is He to You.’ Perhaps the highlight of the album is Tom Jones version of Sam & Dave’s, ‘Thank-you’ (as covered earlier by Z.Z. Top). Other guest appearances include; Sam Moore’s (Sam & Dave) cover of the Otis Redding hit, ‘Mr. Pitiful, ’ two songs with British youngster Joss Stone who joins the band for, ‘It Takes Two’ and ‘Your Precious Love’ and the aforementioned Huey Lewis on, ‘634-5789.’

Any song on this album is immediately radio friendly and music fans will find the performances and singing to be excellent. No, TOP is not breaking any new ground with this release but perhaps seeing the rewards that Rod Stewart and others had using well known covers to find financial success, Tower of Power has fallen back on their early influences and personal favorites to release an album that most soul music fans and many blues fans will find hours of enjoyment listening to.

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