Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Tower of Power - What Is Hip? The Tower of Power Anthology (1999)



Sadly, I didn't discover ToP until the late '80s when I saw the video for the song Credit on the MTV. I was immediately hooked and bought the Credit album and a few subsequent albums. Like a big dummy, I didn't delve into their back catalog for a few more years. I bought this two disc compilation not long after its release.  At the time, it was a great sampler, although they have a budget Original Album Series box that might be the better way to go these days.  

Pros: great liner notes in a 52 page booklet, chronological sequencing, all the horn-heavy Bay Area funky R&B you can tolerate.  

Cons: none

Billboard, October 9, 1999, p. 28

Many of the track titles here indicate the band was very aware of what they were doing:

  • You Got To Funkifize
  • Soul Vaccination
  • Soul With a Capital 'S'
  • Souled Out
  • So I Got To Groove

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart

Tracks: Like the above review sez: this thing is "way-fine." Disc 1 (15 tracks, 75 minutes) covers the band highlights from 1970-1974.  Not a bad track to be found; today my favorites are Knock Yourself Out, You're Still A Young Man, You Got To Funkifize, What Is Hip?, So Very Hard To Go, and Squib Cakes.

Disc 2 (20 tracks, 78 minutes) covers the years 1974-1999. Faves include Oakland Stroke, Don't Change Horses (In The Middle Of A Stream), It's Not The Crime, Credit, and Soul With A Capital 'S'. I'll occasionally skip The Soul Of A Child.

While some people don't like the slick production of the later tunes, that's the ToP sound I first discovered so it don't bother me much.  In fact, while I'll admit the first disc is the better of the two, I listen to the second more.  Go figure.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: a friend and I were taking a three hour car trip with a person we didn't care for too much (the particulars too mundane to bore you with here). This third wheel preferred N*Sync, Nickelback, and Hoobastank so was completely unfamiliar with ToP. Naturally, we played the first disc of the set on repeat for the entire trip, much to the chagrin of the back seat occupant. Childish? Absolutely. And I'd do it again.

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