Emilio Castillo, Tower of Power’s Detroit-born leader, says the 40-year-old group went into its new album, “The Great American Soulbook,” “halfheartedly.”
Simply put, the saxophonist explains, ToP didn’t want to be just another act cashing in with covers. “We don’t like to chase trends,” he says. But the group changed its tune quickly as the group brought in guests — Sam Moore, Joss Stone, Tom Jones, Huey Lewis and George Duke, who produced four of the tracks — and worked through a repertoire that ranges from the obscure (Stevie Wonder’s “You Met Your Match”) to wellknown favorites by Marvin Gaye, Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Billy Paul and Tavares.
“We got about a third of the way through and we started realizing, ‘Boy, this is gonna be really cool,’ and it really did come out great,” Castillo says of the album, which the group released on its own Tower of Power Records label, along with a DVD from the band’s 40th anniversary concert in October in San Francisco.
“It’s old soul music that we did Tower of Power-style. It’s definitely the kind of music we do. And since we’ve done almost 20 albums and they were all original, for the 40th anniversary it’s great to give the fans something different.”
Tower of Power, Lydia Pense & Cold Blood perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday (June 18) at the Power Center For the Performing Arts, 121 Fletcher St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $29.50, $39.50 and $75. Tickets for the original Michigan Theater show will be honored. Call (734) 668-8463 or visit www.michtheater.org.
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