You’ve Got To Funkafize.
Two LPs that I wore out as a teenager were Tower of Power’s East Bay Grease
and Bump City
. I was not that great a fan of Motown, Memphis, or Muscle Shoals (that came later), but I really dug this gritty urban, West Coast funk. I followed these guys: Lenny Pickett going to Saturday Night Live
, personnel changes and personal problem. I was totally jazzed by the famous horn section’s appearance on Little Feat’s Waiting for Columbus
and Huey Lewis and the News’ early ‘80s tours. Like many long standing bands, the Tower of Power has released a live collection that well represents the career of these wunderfunkers
East Bay Grease. Soul Vaccination was recorded at the fabled Fillmore West in San Francisco and the Fox Theater in Stockton between October 8th and 10th, 1998. The crowds were large and appreciative, a fitting response to a large band so tight the listener will wonder what the big deal with Earth, Wind and Fire was anyway. Lead and produced by original member Emilio Castillo, TOP deliver their best live recording.
Survey. This disc is romping good fun from the early ballad “You’re Still A Young Man” and groove earthquake “Bump City” to the later opener “Soul With a Capitol “S”” and “To Say the Least You’re the Most”. Brent Carter’s lead vocals are high energy and silky smooth, when necessary. Norbert Stachel’s crying, squealing caressing, socking R&B tenor makes the solo parts of this disc along with Jesse McGuire’s trumpet. This band is tight, reflecting almost thirty years of performance.
For those fans not wanting to plunk down 25 bucks for the recently released retrospective, Soul Vaccination offers an exciting and less expensive alternative. Is it Jazz? Who cares— Let’s Dance!
Personnel: Brent Carter: Vocals; Emilio Castillo: Tenor Saxophone, Vocals; Stephen Kupka: Baritone Saxophone; Norbert Stachel: Tenor Saxophone; Jesse McGuire: Trumpet; Bill Churchville: Trumpet, Flugelhorn; Nick Milo: Piano, Vocals,; Francis Prestia: Bass; David Garibaldi: Drums; Jeff Tamelier: Guitar