Thursday, 27 December 2018

Tower Of Power - In The Slot (1975)


Released September 1975


1. Just Enough And Too Much
2. Treat Me Like Your Man
3. If I Play My Cards Right
4. As Surely As I Stand Here
5. Fanfare: Matanuska
6. On The Serious Side
7. Ebony Jam
8. You're So Wonderful, So Marvellous
9. Vuela Por Noche
10. Essence Of Innocence
11. The Soul Of A Child
12. Drop It In The Slot                              

I disagree with those who say that the change in vocalist that Tower Of Power underwent before this album was detrimental to this one. Personally, I still think this is a great album, admittedly their last great one, but impressive all the same.

"Just Enough And Too Much" is a lively, upbeat, guitar and brass-driven funky number. "Treat Me Like Your Man" is a Memphis-style laid-back piece of wonderful soul. It features some killer horns and saxophone and vocals from new vocalist Hubert Tubbs. "If I Play My Cards Right" is a punchy, horn-powered funker. "As Surely As I Stand Here" is a bit of a typical mid-seventies soul ballad with some somewhat clich├ęd keyboard swirls in places, it has to be said. "Fanfare: Matanuska" is a brief instrumental interlude.

"On The Serious Side" is seriously funky, in a cooking Meters style, full of infectious percussion and a staccato shuffling beat. "Ebony Jam" is just as funky and is a six minute plus workout the like of which was absent from the group's previous album. "You're So Wonderful, So Marvellous" could almost be a Northern Soul track. It has a mid-seventies Drifters feel to it too, or maybe The O'Jays. It is a lovely piece of poppy soul and quite unlike most of TOP's other material. It should have been a hit single. "Vuela Por Noche" is, unsurprisingly, a Latin-tinged instrumental, which, via the piano interlude of "Essence Of Innocence" leads into the beautifully soulful "The Soul Of A Child". This is actually quality soul, up there with the likes of The O'Jays, The Stylistics or Blue Magic. It just isn't really like the punchy funk of TOP's earlier albums. For the final track the funk is back with the Blaxploitation-esque "In The Slot".

It had been a great run of five classic funky albums from the peerless Tower Of Power between 1972 and 1975. Check out any of them, they are all well worth it.


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