Tower of Power has just released a new concert album and video, 50 Years of Funk & Soul: Live at the Fox Theater. The project was recorded in June 2018 two hometown shows in Oakland, California.
The concerts featured the 10-piece horn-driven soul band performing with an expanded lineup augmented with extra horns and strings.
Making the shows extra special, several notable former members were on hand to make guest appearances, including saxophonist Lenny Pickett — longtime musical director of the Saturday Night Live band — ex-Santana keyboardist Chester D. Thompson, guitarist Bruce Conte and singer Ray Greene.
Tower of Power played a career-spanning set lists at the shows, including early-1970s hits like “You’re Still a Young Man,” “So Very Hard to Go” and “Don’t Change Horses,” as well as selections from its recent albums Soul Side of Town and Step Up.
The band also performed 1973’s “Soul Vaccination.” Founding sax player Stephen “Doc” Kupka tells ABC Audio that the tune was inspired by a show Tower of Power played in Houston in the early 1970s. They opened for Creedence Clearwater Revival, and the audience wasn’t into them at all.
“I remember saying to myself, ‘These people need a soul vaccination, they are suffering from…un-soulfulness,” Kupka notes. “That is how I came up with the song.”
Reflecting on the current global pandemic, Kupka adds, “People today need a soul vaccination as much as ever, but more importantly, we all need a COVID vaccination so we can get back rolling again. Please take your vaccination for both body and soul.”
50 Years of Funk & Soul is available now as a three-LP vinyl set, a two-CD/DVD combo, a standalone DVD, and digitally.
By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.