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Great American Soulbook Import

Price: £19.89 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Amazon's Tower Of Power Store


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The renowned horn-driven funk outfit Tower of Power has been issuing albums and touring the world steadily since the early '70s, in addition to backing up countless other musicians. The group's leader since the beginning has always been tenor saxophonist Emilio Castillo, who was born in Detroit, but opted to pursue his musical dreams in Oakland, CA. It was in Oakland that Castillo put ... Read more in Amazon's Tower Of Power Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (7 April 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Import
  • ASIN: B001TN1EES
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 205,128 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

CD-DIGIPACK-EAN 895333002056

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Keech on 29 May 2009
Format: Audio CD
I'm not going to waste time spouting all the usual cliches. I'm a fan of Tower of Power, so it was a reasonable bet that I would like this album. However, if you're reading this, its probably because you too are a fan (if you don't know - you better ask somebody).

I thought this album was awesome on the first listen and gets better with repeated listening.
The band are in fine form, horn lines as tight as ever. Larry Braggs sounds awesome and, though Tower bravely invited guest vocalists for the first time ever, Larry's talent shines through (even when singing alongside the mighty Tom Jones).

Every song has its soul classic status left well intact and yet every tune sounds like Tower of Power at their purest. How they've achieved this is quite staggering. Each tune is immediately recognizable, but the unmistakable awesomeness of the TOP sound is right there on beat one.

I find it difficult to pinpoint a high point or a 'must listen' song, purely because they are all of such a staggeringly high standard. I'm a big fan of Tom Jones and found the collaboration with TOP ('I thank you') a fantastic song. I will admit to being a little unsure about the inclusion of Joss Stone (not once, but twice) on this album - however am more than happy to eat my words on the matter as she is fantastic (particularly on 'Heaven must have sent your precious love').

Sam Moore sounds great on 'Mr Pitiful', which is a legendary soul number that I was glad to see included and though I feel Tower sound a bit more Huey Lewis than TOP on '634 5789' (with Huey) thats not a bad thing at all!

Finally I have two things to mention - these would seem like high points on any album, but the ride in between them is so good, they might not stand out as much.
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By Kel on 13 Jan. 2010
Format: Audio CD
The playing and musicianship is stunning, the arrangements are awesome! Production a bit of a let down but overall a fantasic album with great performances by guest artists.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 38 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
By Matthew G. Sherwin - Published on
Format: Audio CD
What can I say? After forty years of making incredible soul music, Tower Of Power comes out with yet another blockbuster album! They sound great and it's all here: the magical sound of the Fillmore concert in 2008 courtesy of Castillo, "Doc" Kupka, Francis Rocco's infusion of funk, David Garibaldi, Larry Braggs, Roger Smith, Tom E. Politzer on saxophone and more, trumpeter Adolfo Acosta, "Iron Mike" Bogart and 2007 inductee Mark Harper. I agree with the reviewer who writes that there's not a single dud on this album; TOP is one of the very, very few groups that could ever even hope to pull off a set of covers that is all this good!!! The guest appearances by the likes of Joss Stone, Tom Jones and Huey Lewis only make this even better.

"You Met Your Match" starts the CD with an electrified tune that couldn't be better. The band plays this with all their might and just one listen proves it! "You Met Your Match" is a Stevie Wonder tune with Larry Braggs doing some mighty fine singing along with the others. I love that percussion, too! "You Met Your Match" is a strong beginning for this CD. "I Thank You" features Tom Jones; and when Tom gets together with Tower Of Power the result explodes into a fantastic number that you won't forget anytime soon! The beat is awesome and I really like "I Thank You."

"It Takes Two" features the wonderful Joss Stone; this ballad has some great music to go along with Joss Stone and Larry Braggs who sing one out this without missing a note! "It Takes Two" is a major highlight of this album and I know you're going to like it. In addition, "Me & Mrs. Jones" by Billy Paul shines bright in the capable hands of Tower Of Power. TOP gives the classic "Me & Mrs. Jones" a most romantic flavor that would make most "celebrities" green with envy; and I really like that "Star Time" lets them do a fine tribute to the immortal James Brown.

"Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel" has all the brightness of the world's biggest diamond when Tower Of Power performs it; they sway gently and play that music so well that you just know "Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel" is yet another big highlight of this album. Joss Stone returns to do some more work with TOP on "[Heaven Must Have Sent] Your Precious Love;" this stuns me with its beauty; and when Tower Of Power does this with Joss Stone the result is absolutely mesmerizing. Huey Lewis joins in for a great effect on "634-5789;" and the album ends strong with Tower Of Power performing "Who Is He (And What Is He To You)?" This last number showcases the fine vocals of Larry Braggs--and they don't come too much better than Larry!

Great American Soulbook scores yet another big goal for Tower Of Power. This group is alive, well and kicking! They have a great sound that can take just about any ballad and make it into a masterful soul number. I highly recommend this for their fans; and people who like high quality control soul music with some electricity on the side will not be disappointed.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
The Power is Missing From This 8 Sept. 2009
By T. Miraglia - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I am glad to see that there are a lot of loyal ToP fans out there and glad to see that a lot of people are happy with this cd.That's good for ToP. But, I must say that I am much in agreement with "Saxman's" review of this album. I, too have been a fan of ToP for many, many years and saw them live many times back in the Rick Stevens and Lenny Williams era when they were fresh, tight, and cutting edge. This current collection of covers is just that. There are no standouts, no re-inventions, nothing to make the songs "theirs". They just played them the way they've been played before - right down to the sappy string arrangements on "Me and Mrs. Jones".

For a group of ToP's stature I would have thought they would have brought some fresh arrangements to us with some real snap and exceptional musicianship. Instead I find the whole project uninspired and lackluster. The production quality is poor as well. It strikes me as something done quickly and easily to get a product to market. At best it is just "okay".
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Unquestionable musicianship, but... 26 May 2009
By Eddie Landsberg - Published on
Format: Audio CD
There's no doubt about it... Tower of Power is the world's greatest SOUL band... they stand on their own for the great American Soul Book which *they* wrote, and they can also be heard as the guest horn section with many other legendary pop groups... that said, I'll be honest: I can't quite fathom an entire album as TOP doing covers of other artists' tunes... I would have much rather sat through a compilation featuring tracks that TOP did with other pop artists over the years as the guest horn section (hey, wouldn't that be a good idea???)

The tracks, however, in themselves are great... and as a "cover band" TOP does the job BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE COULD EVEN THINK OF... but after all these years, there's really only one thing that I, a die hard fan really wants... More Oakland Bump, un-compromised, from the masters who created it.

In conclusion, had the album offered a mix of fresh material and covers, I probably would have dug it way more... Its a cute project, cute idea... demonstrates a band that is as musically vibrant as they were in the FILMORE days - - if you like THE BLUES BROTHERS, the COMMITMENTS and other groups like that, this album will have great appeal... however, all in all, unless your cup of tea is TOP doing COVERS (something very rare at their show) this album is definitely not the one us die hard fans are all still waiting for...
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Ah, what could've been! 31 Dec. 2010
By David D. Macks - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've been following ToP from the "East Bay Grease" days. I was a continent away but when these guys broke out with that album, horn playing kids in my Junior High and others throughout the 5 New York City Boroughs went nuts for the band. ToP along with James Browns' band, early Kool and the Gang and Mandrill, formed the core of what we listened to and the cream of crop of horns bands, only Chicago and posibly BS&T could be included from the non-soul side. All this being said I've owned and listened to ToP since their inception. I never, ever thought I'd see/hear them do a cover album but here it is.

While I do NOT think ToP performing covers is a blasphemy, I do think the band was ill served by this effort. The primary problem with this work is the weak source material. ToP was first and formost the tightest horn band in the world and perhaps the funkiest behind the JB's but you wouldn't know that by this album. Too many of these songs are either horn weak or from the wrong genre. While I loved Tavares' "Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel" from my disco days, WTF does that tune have to do with ToP? The only time this album catches fire is when the boys tackle their greatest rival, James Brown, then and only then do you see what this album could've been.

Had this effort been left to me to plan THAT is what I would've done with it! Have ToP tackles horn driven songs from Chicago, Son's of Champlain, Spence Davis Group, P-Funk, early Kool and the Gang and, of course, more James and then we'd have had a real reason to celebrate ToP's first venture in to the songs of others. But as we all know, that didn't happen. My recommendation? Buy the mp3's of the tunes you like but leave the rest of the album here.

Da Worfster
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Classic R&B From a Classic Band 24 April 2009
By Belfry Bob - Published on
Format: Audio CD
When I heard the pre-release snippits of 'TGAS', I wasn't excited. Hopeful that short clips of the songs weren't going to do them justice, I looked forward to hearing a couple of them when TOP recently played Wash, DC...but they didn't play a one, though Emilio mentioned the album.

So I wasn't in a big hurry to buy it, and didn't until yesterday - and was I ever blown away. This is the best music they have made since the early Warner days. The arrangements are great, the recording is fine, Larry is in fine voice, and the guest stars fit their slots. I thought that 'Loveland', the James Brown tribute, and 'Mr. Pitiful' where the best numbers. I don't have a beef with any of the cuts except 'Me and Mrs. Jones' opposition to what others have said, I found this one to be just too much of a direct remake with no TOP influence at all...Larry even sounds like Billy Paul. It wasn't BAD, mind you, just nothing I don't hear in the original - even the string arrangement is EXACTLY the same. I found the sensiblity of 'Heaven Missing and Angel' and 'Heaven Must Have Sent your Precious Love' to be too similar, but both were fine tracks.

This is a kick-butt album. If you're over 40, love classic R&B, Carolina beach music, or just amaznig musicianship, this is the one for you.
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