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Oakland Zone

Tower Of Power Audio CD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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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 (16 Aug 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Spv
  • ASIN: B000095XI8
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 201,971 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Eastside....
2. Give Me Your Love
3. Get What You Want
4. Could've Done It Better
5. This Type Of Funk
6. Pocketful Of Soul
7. Remember Love
8. Oakland Zone
9. Life Is What You Make It
10. Happy 'Bout That
11. Stranger in My Own House
12. Back in the Day
13. Page One
14. ......Eastside
15. Nothing Like It (Bonus Track)

Customer Reviews

4 star
3 star
1 star
4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
I'm only a 19 year old and already people are telling me I'm more like a forty year old, coz of the music I like. I'm also a music student at Southampton doin' a Music degree and in the last year I've been introduced to Funk as a marvelous feel good type of music, and whilst listening to certain funk bands of the 70's that I considered to be funktastic but repetitive (Ohio Players, James Brown to a certain extent) listening to Tower of Power was like fresh air for a man that had been hidden in solitary confinement.
I've listened to most of their albums now, but this one was just stunning, especially for a band that have been around for so long. The horn section is massive and tighter than a camels' backside during a sandstorm. The Doc's Barry is still unbelievable and the melodies are as happy and uplifting as ever. The track "Give Me Your Love" being the first sets an uptempo beat and an energy unrivaled by any. The music is "Fat" but moves with the speed of an Antelope. The most noticeable tracks on the album are the self titled "Oakland Zone", with the fattest bit of funk possibly ever, "Back in the Day", another heavy groove and of course "This Type of Funk".
For anyone that's never heard of this enormous funk band and is either a fan of the genre then this'll certainly be one of the best albums you'll hear. It's album of the year in my opinion. For anyone reading this who likes pop, this'll make you move your feet like a crazed man with a gun pointed at your feet. It's just Funky and I don't care if people call me old for sayin' it. Buy this album!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff 16 Jun 2014
By laar
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Absolute GREAT!
One of the best of the Tower of power!
I recommend to everybody digging good Oakland funky power!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Top class funk! 31 May 2011
Format:Audio CD
I remember purchasing this upon release and loving it, and listening back now it's easy to hear why. This is true tower of power funk, the closest they've had to their 70s albums since, well - the 70s! The main reason for this in my opinion is the return of David Garibaldi on drums. Together with Rocco on bass, they create the distinctive TOP groove that underpins everything else that goes on top.

Larry Braggs' vocals are incredible (check out the 40th live DVD if you need more reassuring of this!), the horns are tight as you'd expect from any TOP record, and the album has guest appearances from past members such as Chester Thompson, Lenny Picket, Skip Mesquite (RIP), plus a few more.

To top it of (no pun intended!), the mixing/production is superb. A worthy purchase all-round!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A different type of funk 1 Feb 2006
Format:Audio CD
I'm a big fan of the funk, but not this sort of thing. I can see how it appeals to a lot of people: its upbeat, quite fun and fast paced. However, it lacks all of the grit of other groups. It's over produced and lacks soul. The horns, are very proficient, but not altogether enjoyable. A lot of the time, they give me a headache! If you're a fan of Tower of Power, then you'll probably enjoy it a lot, but if you're not, then give it a listen before you buy it; its not one that every fan of the funk will like
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  59 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In the Zone 29 April 2003
By James L. Venard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I have to start this review and tell you that I have been a TOP FAN since the 70's. I saw TOP last year twice in concert (Vegas/Phoenix) and I have to say that I did not like the the lead singer (Larry Bragg) as well as some of the past singers (Lenny Williams is my favorite), however, after hearing the CD I was very impressed. He sounds more like Lenny Williams then any other singer in the past. This album revals TOPs strong points of funk, horns, lyrics and arrangements and you can tell that a large label like Sony was not telling them what to do. This CD comes from the soul and not from the wallet. Rocco and DG are back together and driving this band. These two guys go waaaaaaaay back and both of them are 2 of the most unique bass and drummers in the industry. The recoding quality of this CD is also very clean and the mix is wonderful. If you are are TOP fan, you are going to buy this CD regardless of what I say, but if you are new to this band and you like smooth funk and soul, I guarantee that you will be buying all of there other CDs in the near future.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In a word: KILLER! 23 April 2003
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Tower of Power's 28th CD (according to their Web site) just may be their best ever. This CD marks the return to the studio of legendary T.o.P. drummer David Garibaldi. This is his first studio CD with the band in many years. Garibaldi and bassist Francis Rocco Prestia are unquestionably the best 1-2 punch in music. With Jeff Tamelier on guitar and the great Roger Smith on keyboards, this is about as talented a rhythm section as you will find anywhere in the music business.
Larry Braggs brings a vocal talent to this CD that is absolutely superior! His vocals will invite comparisons to many of the greats, past and present. He has a phenomenal range, especially in the upper registers.
The legendary horn section is as strong as ever with Iron Mike Bogart and Adolfo Acosta handling trumpet/trombone/flugelhorn chores, Stephen "The Funky Doctor" Kupka on baritone sax, newcomer Tom E. Politzer producing some mighty fine solos on tenor and alto sax, flute, and clarinet, and bandleader Emilio Castillo providing 2nd tenor sax and vocals.
In addition, six former Tower of Power members collaborated on this CD: Santana's Chester Thompson, Saturday Night Live's Lenny Pickett, original member Skip Mesquite, Herman Matthews, Brent Carter, and Norbert Stachel. Huey Lewis also contributed to this CD.
The music consists of classic funk grooves and one soulful ballad. The horns are right up front, very crisp, the execution perfect--tighter than a mouse's ear! The rhythm section propels the groove and the instrumental soloists add the icing to the cake, all providing the backdrop for Larry's talented vocals.
This is a powerful in-your-face CD! Ain't no sissy stuff here. Not for wimps! Pure funk and soul as only Tower of Power can do it. On a big stereo, this CD will knock you out!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like eating a ToP Big Mac, Satisfying, no standout moments 21 Jan 2004
By James Bjork - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The reaction of longtime ToP fans to this album (like ToP-crack to a crackhead in 26 years or so of withdrawal) says a lot of where the band has drifted. Namely this album is a welcome tonic to this band's years of wandering in the production desert from the syrupy disco strings of late 70's fare to the corporate synthesizer wasteland of the 80s and 90s. Emilio and Co. opted for a long-overdue trip back to the well that started it all.
This crisp, well-produced/mixed throwback album has some of the tastiest grooves heard from this outfit in DECADES. However, as one other reviewer noted, the actual songwriting lagged well behind the technical precision of the horns and artistry of the rhythm section. The album was a treat to listen to because it delivers the hip grooves and sassy horn licks one expects from ToP. However, the songs all tended to sound undistinguished, with one-chord wonder grooves occasionally daring to depart to the IV and V. Even albums from the lost years like "Monster on a Leash" had at least one song or two (e.g. "A little knowledge") with structure that enabled it to stick in your mind after a listen or two.
Listening to this album was like eating a Big Mac. You order one knowing exactly what you are going to get, but when you finish it, you feel satisfied, but no one bite of your experience stands out as particularly memorable. Like the songs themselves, the individual solos were also tasteful, but generally unmemorable--nothing head-turning like Lenny Pickett on "Knock Yourself Out" (Live in Living Color) or even Jesse McGuire on "Willing to Learn" on the 1998 live album (Soul Vaccination).
All in all, worth the $15 bucks to be sure, but let's all hope the band gets the hint from all this acclaim and cuts another gritty, Hammond B3-loaded album, yet incorporates some fresh songwriting blood. I would love to hear another Urban Renewal, and this is about as close as they have come since then.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars On the serious side... 29 Aug 2003
By R.F. Klaassen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I am glad that so many reviewers enjoyed this new TOP CD. It is definitely their best effort since Monster on a leash. But then, after the past few albums, that were at best indiffent, we should not get carried away too easily. Good things about the album: the rhythm section is a treat of course. The horns are back with a vengeance. That is: finally they are produced as they should be: sharp, crisp and clear and up front. Larry Brags is a good singer, although his studio-delivery does not yet match his live-performances.
But then there's a downside: the songs itself. I think Castillo's and Kupka's songwriting inspiration has long dried up. Only a few songs from Oakland Zone stand out. "Pocketful of Soul" is a true TOP-classic, inventive, groovy, funky. Oh, and not to forget the intro and outro "Eastside" which is a fine showpiece of the bands abilities. If you look at their recent albums, these short intro an outro-pieces seem to be among the strongest tracks (!)
But sadly the rest of the album abounds with dreary fillers like "Get What You Want", "Life is what you make it" and "Happy 'bout That", "Stranger in my own house" (just listen to the keyboard solo, to understand my definition of dreary and uninspired).
They know how to lay down a groove. If only they could manage to write a decent song around it!
Still, if you can, go see these guys live.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best In Years! 24 April 2003
By Geoff C Walker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is the best Tower of Power CD I've heard in years. Hell, this is the best CD I've heard in years. I've been a huge fan of Tower of Power since buying "Bump City" back when I was in grade school (1972), I own 18 Tower of Power CD's, and I would put this in the top 3. New lead singer Larry Braggs is a monster! Drummer David Garibaldi is back! Emilio Castillo and the Funky Dr. (and others) have written some smokin' tunes! The horns are tight (Lenny Pickett does some horn arrangements)! Francis Rocco Prestia is healthy and still the baddest bass player on earth! If you like jazzy, funky SOUL music, BUY THIS CD!
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