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Tower of Power: Oakland Zone

The opening track of the Tower of Power’s Oakland Zone (Or Music) proclaims, “The [Oakland] Stroke is alive on the Eastside where the funk will never die,” and certainly this album, the group’s first studio release in six years, demonstrates that their brand of good-time funk is alive and well. There have been a few changes over the years-there’s a new lead singer, Larry Braggs, who brings gutsy soul vocals, original drummer David Garibaldi has returned for his first studio album since 1979 and bassist Francis Rocco Prestia is back in action after undergoing a liver transplant last year-but the band’s energetic, horn-driven funk remains unchanged. The percolating “This Type of Funk” grooves joyfully along, while the title track is an irresistible party tune. Braggs channels James Brown on the driving “Pocketful of Soul,” and an old-school feel pervades “Back in the Day.” The power ballad “Remember Love” cools things down a bit and complements the rest of the album’s high-octane grooves.

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