Starting with the funky eco-consciousness trip that is Only So Much Oil In The Ground, Urban Renewal kicks off at full-throttle, with ToP at the top of their game.
For my money this is the classic era for Tower, with Lenny Williams brilliant voice in full flower, Chester Thompson's keys work always full of burning soul (lovely phat Hammond work throughout!). Francis Rocco Prestia's fingers nimbly extract maximum funk from the bass, and David Bartlett rises to the challenge of filling David Garibaldi's (platform) shoes on drums. And of course, there's those fabled horns to delight in too.
It's Not The Crime is an endearing flower-power era quasi-philosophical reflection on legal boundaries. Pretty simple, but also pretty deep. Tracks like Come Back baby, I Won't Leave Unless You Want Me To, and Willing To Learn keep the laidback Soul Ballad quotient up.
For Lovers of hard, greasy funk there's the angular horn-laden masterpiece Maybe It'll Rub Off, and in a similar vein Give Me the Proof. (To Say The Least) You're The Most is purty durn funky too. I Believe In Myself is a funky, struttin' piece of self-affirmation, and the album signs off with the superb instrumental Walkin' Up Hip Street, in which the band really stretches out, whilst remaining tight as an olympic trampoline, and Bruce Conte and Chester Thompson play particularly fabulous solos.
Along with Bump City, In The Slot and Back To Oakland, this is essential ToP.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the definitive TOP album! As far as tight, catchy funk goes, this is as good as it gets! The band are at the height of their creative powers and the lineup is the best. Chester Thompson, Lenny Pickett, David Garabaldi and of course Francis Rocco Prestia. BUY IT NOW. If you love funk. If you play funk and need a lesson. If you are remotely interested in music that is in the pocket. If you want to dance around you're living room. BUY THIS RECORD. It will not disappoint!
Tower of Power hit their peak in the early 70's with a series of top albums. This one, along with Back to Oakland, In the Slot, Live and in Living Color, Tower of Power and Bump City really show them at their best. The band are tight, well rehersed and chock full of great musicians, David Garibaldi and Lenny Pickett being most note worthy. All in all this album along the others previously mentioned are, in my opinion, essential in any good collection.
Urban Renewal - perhaps the greatest album from Tower of Power characterising their early 70s style. From their pure funk of Only so much oil and maybe it will rub off to their slower soulfull numbers this band possess soul that no other band has ever had. For any jazz/funk lovers - a classic