Tower of Power


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Stepping back from its 1979 disco foray, Tower of Power dropped out of sight for the better part of a decade, as internal strife and member changes ripped the band asunder and the Tower of Power Horns spent more time backing other musicians. Returning to the studio in 1986 with only Steve Fulton and Willie James Fulton held over from the earlier regime, the band recorded the shaky TOP LP (different from a similarly titled 1993 date). Initially released only in Sweden, the album was trimmed of two tracks, retitled Power, and racked in America the following year. But even the rejigging couldn't help what ultimately emerged as an uninspired and mediocre set, showcasing musicians who sounded like they really didn't care anymore. It was a feeling that was only reinforced by their fans -- the album was the first to miss the charts since their 1970 debut. From the very '80s synthed-out opener "Baby's Got the Power" to "Ball and Chain," with its multiple rock riffs, and on to the mid-tempo "On the One," it feels like the band never really checked into the studio. Only on the brass-heavy "Credit" and "Count on Me" did listeners find a glimmer of the TOP they loved. The lackadaisical instrumental "Boys Night Out," meanwhile, found a modicum of success with its inclusion on the soundtrack to the Dudley Moore vehicle Arthur 2. With the songs feeling fanned only to a half life from the formerly fiery funkers, Power appeared and sank out of sight with horrifying rapidity. The band followed right behind, dropping off the radar, not to re-emerge for another four years.

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