Thursday, 27 December 2018

Tower Of Power - Urban Renewal (1975)

Only so much oil in the ground....


Released in 1975

This was probably the last of the four great soul/funk albums from Tower Of Power in the early/mid-seventies, before some line-up and lead vocalist changes saw a slight dip in quality. This album is a bit more slick than the previous ones, with a bit less of a raw edge. The songs are, on the whole, shorter and poppier, with no extended funk workouts this time out.


1. Only So Much Oil In The Ground
2. Come Back, Baby
3. It's Not The Crime
4. I Won't Leave Unless You Want Me To
5. Maybe It'll Rub Off
6. (To Say The Least) You're The Most
7. Willing To Learn
8. Give Me The Proof
9. It Can Never Be The Same
10. I Believe In Myself
11. Walkin' Up Hip Street                            

Only So Much Oil In The Ground is an ecologically-aware funker to kick off what was actually largely an album of soul/pop more than pure funk. However, this is the one more lengthy groove. The funk is still clearly here on the album, such as on this track, but just slightly less so than on the previous three outings. It's Not The Crime, for example, is a short, two minute poppy workout, while Come Back, Baby is a Philadelphia-influenced soul number. Next up is a piece of sweet, laid-back brass-driven soul in I Won't Leave Unless You Want Me To, a typical mid-seventies orchestrated soul ballad. One of only two really laid-back soul numbers on the album.

Maybe It'll Rub Off is in a kicking, lively funky vein and the funk continues with (To Say The Least) You're The Most. It is notable that here is more poppy funk and less soul on this album than on the previous one. As I said, though, the funk is more to the point and poppier. That said, we get the sumptuous Willing To Learn which is once again very Harold Melvin-esque. Back to funk - Give Me The Proof  is classic shuffling, staccato, horn-powered Tower Of Power funk, of the sort that influenced so many subsequent funk groups. It Can Never Be The Same is a soulful Al Green-style slow-tempo number and I Believe In Myself is another one with huge hints of Green about it.

Walkin' Up Hip Street is a lively, jazzy and funky instrumental featuring some impressive drum work. It has that feel of a seventies movie soundtrack to it. This ends this short sharp album of poppy soul funk in fine fashion.


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