On May 14, 1974, Tower of Power went to radio station WLIR in Hempstead, Long Island and played a live-in-the-studio show that set the station ablaze as well as the radios of any listeners that were lucky enough to hear it.
Flash forward nearly 40 years. On a whim, a tape collector sends us the show, saying that of his 10,000-plus recordings of live concerts, this set was his favorite. Well, people send us stuff all the time; but within about five minutes of listening to this show, we know we HAVE to find a way to expose the record-buying public to this performance. So, fingers crossed, we send it to the band, and much to our delight, they agree with us. In the words of Emilio Castillo, founding member and leader of Tower of Power: “We were clearly at the top of our game firing on all 10 cylinders."
Indeed, Hipper Than Hip captures the band at their commercial peak, fresh from releasing their fourth album, Back to Oakland, and featuring such key early tracks as “You’re Still a Young Man,” “Down to the Nightclub,” “So Very Hard to Go,” “Time Will Tell” and, of course, “What Is Hip?” with Lenny Williams on vocals. What makes the recording particularly overpowering—aside from the band’s performance, which is so on the money that calling it “tight” doesn’t really do it justice—is that it was a live-in-the-studio session, so the fidelity is the equal of a studio recording, yet it has all the passion and immediacy of a live concert.
This Real Gone Music release includes photos and liner notes by noted R&B producer, scholar—and long-time friend of the band—Leo Sacks. 2013 marks the 45th anniversary for Tower of Power—Hipper Than Hip (Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow—Live on the Air & in the Studio 1974 marks a major addition to the band’s discography.
DISC ONE: Intro / Oakland Stroke / Squib Cakes / This Time It's Real / Soul Vaccination / You're Still a Young Man / Clean Slate / So Very Hard to Go / Get Your Feet Back on the Ground
DISC TWO: Intro / Time Will Tell / Man from the Past / Down to the Nightclub / Just When We Start Makin' It / Knock Yourself Out / What Is Hip
~ Real Gone Music