Tower Of Power – Dinosaur Tracks (1999)

Tower Of Power - Dinosaur Tracks (1999)
Artist: Tower Of Power
Album: Dinosaur Tracks
Genre: Jazz-Funk, Soul
Label: Rhino Entertainment
Released: 1999
Quality: FLAC (tracks+.cue)
Tracklist:
Credit (4:06)
You’re Something Special (4:57)
Why Do You Do My Heart Like That (3:37)
Simple As That (4:37)
Your Love Is Like A Little Rain (5:02)
Move You Lose (4:23)
I Think You’ll Like It (4:58)
Never Let Go Of Love (3:51)
Got To Have Your Lovin’ (3:33)
I Want To Lovr You More (Than Words Will Ever Say) (5:14)
Can’t You Feel It? (4:50)
You Took The ‘L’ Out Of Love (4:32)
You Tought Me To Love (4:16)
That’s Why I Sing (4:58)

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“The Lost Years” might be a fitting subtitle to this 14-track compilation of unissued sides by the legendary Bay Area band. Although nearly a decade passed between the release of Back on the Streets (1979) and Direct (1988), Tower of Power continued to be a fixture on the road. However, due to the fickle nature of the industry at the time, the band could not get a record deal. Dinosaur Tracks gathers the best from the various fits and starts that were documented — mostly in the early ’80s — and that on the whole have remained unreleased. Although continuing true to its funk-based roots, artistically and musically the vapid nature of post-disco soul music left the band a long way from the fresh and dynamic sound first heard on its debut, East Bay Grease. Tower of Power was no different from the multitudes of other musical units that were stylistically swayed in order to maintain a seemingly relevant sound. In fact, at times the high-gloss productions simply appear to be showcases for synthesizers and horns. “Why Do You Do My Heart Like That,” “I Think You’ll Like It,” and “Can’t You Feel It” recall Prince protégés the Time during their reign with Morris Day — sans the clever lyrics and presumably matching stage outfits. Indeed, there are moments of magic that draw upon the band’s formidable skills as a horn-driven rather than horn-riddled unit. “Move You Lose” is a mid-tempo number that features hot solos from Marc Russo (tenor/alto sax), as well as a nice vocal arrangement that leans heavily toward the Philly style associated with the productions of Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff. “I Want to Love You More (Than Words Will Ever Say)” is another standout track, as Tower of Power’s old-school funk is once again refined into smooth R&B grooves. Emilio Castillo (second tenor sax/background vocals) compiled and produced this collection. His candid liner notes are included in the accompanying 20-page booklet and are an invaluable guide into the state of the Tower during this period. Dinosaur Tracks is limited to an edition of 10,000 copies and is exclusively available via the Rhino Handmade Internet audio salon.
Review by Lindsay Planer

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