Tower Of Power: Emilio Castillo (vocals, tenor saxophone); Lenny Williams, Rick Stevens, Hubert Tubbs (vocals); Bruce Conte, Willie Fulton (guitar); Lenny Pickett (flute, alto flute, soprano, alto, tenor & bass saxophones, clarinet, contrabass clarinet, lyricon); Skip Mesquite (flute, tenor saxophone); Stephen "Doc" Kupka (oboe, English horn, baritone saxophone); Mic Gillette (trumpet, piccolo trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone, bass trombone, French horn, baritone horn); Greg Adams (trumpet, flugelhorn, French horn, bells); Chester Thompson (piano, Fender Rhodes piano, Clavinet, organ, Arp synthesizer); Francis Rocco Prestia (bass); David Garibaldi, David Bartlett (drums); Brent Byars (congas, bongos).
Producers: Ron Capone, Emilio Castillo, Tower Of Power.
Compilation producers: Emilio Castillo, Stephen "Doc" Kupka, Gary Peterson.
Recorded between 1972 & 1975. Includes liner notes by Kevin Phinney.
Digitally remastered by Bill Inglott & Dan Hersch (DigiPrep).
Personnel: Willie Fulton, Bruce Conte (vocals, guitar); Lenny Pickett (vocals, flute, alto flute, piccolo, clarinet, contrabass clarinet, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, bass saxophone, lyricon); Skip Mesquite (vocals, flute, tenor saxophone); Stephen Kupka (vocals, oboe, English horn, baritone saxophone); Emilio Castillo (vocals, tenor saxophone); Mic Gillette (vocals, trumpet, piccolo trumpet, flugelhorn, French horn, trombone, bass trombone, baritone horn); Chester Thompson (vocals, piano, Fender Rhodes piano, Clavinet, organ); David Bartlett (vocals, drums); Brent Byars (vocals, congas, bongos); Hubert Tubbs, Rick Stevens, Lenny Williams (vocals); Bud Shank (flute, alto flute, piccolo, alto saxophone); David Duke , Richard Perissi, Vincent DeRosa, Tommy Shepard (French horn); Kell Houston, Frank Rosolino (trombone); Jay Spell (piano); David Garibaldi (drums); Carter Collins (congas); Pepper Watkins, Frank Biner, Ron Beck, Bootche Anderson, Alice Thompson, Roger Rifkind, Marilyn Scott (background vocals).
Audio Remasterers: Daniel Hersch; Bill Inglot.
Liner Note Authors: Emilio Castillo; Kevin Phinney; Stephen Kupka.
Recording information: Kaye (05/??/1972-09/15/1975); Record Plant, Sausalito, CA (05/??/1972-09/15/1975); Smith Studios, Seattle, WA (05/??/1972-09/15/1975); TMI Sound Studios, Memphis, TN (05/??/1972-09/15/1975); Wally Heider Recording Studios, San Francisco, CA (05/??/1972-09/15/1975).
Photographer: Bruce Steinberg.
Usually, it's not a good sign if a band is generally known for augmenting artists instead of their own records, but Tower of Power was really a very good horn section, and they did make records that held their own. Of course, "What Is Hip?" was the biggest single they ever had, but they also had several other smaller hits that captured their sleek, stylized soul-funk quite well, such as "Soul Vaccination." Pretty much all of those songs are captured on Rhino's 2001 anthology The Very Best of Tower of Power: The Warner Years, which spans 16 tracks and contains almost all the highlights of their '70s records. Yes, the 1999 double-disc set What Is Hip? is more comprehensive, but that's really for serious listeners. For listeners that want a lean dose of the TOP's prime, this is the best collection on the market. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine