The Tower of Power: So Very Hard To Go

Formed in Oakland, California, in 1968, TOWER OF POWER, became the premier Funk/Horn/R&B Band. Emilio Castillo and Stephen "Doc" Kupka originally called the band Motown, but it soon became apparent that was not viable. Bill Graham at the Fillmore West told them he couldn't hire a group with that name; you know lawsuits and all.

The bands new members: Trumpet/Arranger Greg Adams, 1st Trumpet Mic Gillette, Saxophone Skip Mesquite, Francis "Rocco" Prestia on Bass, Willie Fulton on Guitar, and Drummer David Garibaldi, agreed on the name "Tower of Power" during a naming session. The Tower were an early integrated band with members selected for their Chops not their Color, and they grooved together very well.

I saw them as a hipper, funkier "Chicago," and they filled a need for that. In 1969 when Buddy Rich brought his Big Band to play the Fillmore he mentioned that The Tower of Power were a really jamming band. They've basically been together since the beginning with some terrific musicians coming and going and sometimes returning because of the Rush of being in that strong unit, and I'm not going to try to name them all in this space.

Tower of Power's third album, bearing the groups name as a title, was their breakout, throwing off the singles: "So Very Hard to Go," (that peaked at #17 on the Top 40 Charts, but was a Top 10 on West Coast Top 40 Radio Stations), "This Time It's Real" and "What Is Hip?" That record featured Lenny Williams doing Vocals, and is considered their most fertile period musically.

Between 1970 and 1995 the band scored 13 Chart albums and many hit singles, mostly on the R&B Charts. Along with their own albums, The Tower horn section has played on a lot of records for other artists including: Otis Redding, Aerosmith and Elton John, basically all kinds of music loves horns.

So here they are, The Tower of Power, Live, on Soul Train, with, SO VERY HARD TO GO in 1973, with Good Picture and Beautifully Mixed Sound. FYI, that's the great Lennie Williams singing lead, and notice the choreography with every member of the band in step and rocking. Rock On! @therealdonrocks

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