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Title - ‘Hipper Than Hip: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow’
Artist - Tower Of Power

R&B/funk group Tower of Power marked their 45th anniversary late last year in a big way with the release of a stunning live album Hipper Than Hip (Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow from back in the day.

Recorded as part of Warner Bros. Month at the Ultrasonic Recording Studio, Hempstead, Long Island and broadcast over WLIR-FM on May 14th, 1974, a broadcaster introduces his favorite band, Tower of Power. Launching straight into a smooth, if not frenetic ‘Oakland Stroke,’ the band find their groove instantly and follow it with both ’Squib Cakes’ and the first song with vocals, ’This Time It’s Real.’ With there never being such a thing as a short TOP song, ‘Squib Cakes’ feels like it goes on for days, but boy oh boy what an incredible sound they have.

Next up is ‘Soul Vaccination,’ a track that simply oozes soul, before they then dedicate ‘You’re Still A Young Man’ to all the lovely ladies in the State of New York. Along next, and bringing the first disc of two to a close are the extended funk of ‘Clean Slate,’ a tale about escaping the spider web of love in ‘So Very Hard To Go,’ and lastly ‘Get Yo’ Feet Back On The Ground.’

The second of the two discs begins this time with a band member intro. Explaining that they have a brand new album out, Back To Oakland, he then reveals that the next track, the slow ballad-tale of ‘Time Will Tell’ is from said same album. They then bleed seamlessly into ’Man From The Past,’ before taking a trip down into one of America’s favorite institutions, the neighborhood nightclub in ’Down To The Nightclub.’

The smooth underground jazz flow of ‘Just When We Start Makin’ It’ is next, and then the complete set comes to and end with both the highly-elongated funk fest of ‘Knock Yourself Out’ (which the band member encourages them to actually also do!) and finally, after thanking the radio station the incredibly vibrant ’What Is Hip?’

Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk