Music Reviews

Ohio Players

Funk On Fire: The Mercury Anthology


Cincinnati’s own Ohio Players were the group that put the fun in funk. With their libido-stank bottom, explosive horns, and incoherent, cartoon warbles from Sugarfoot Bonner (to later be imitated by Cameo and E.U.), they burned up blue-light basement dancefloors across the country during the ’70s.

They were the second generation of funk (along with Earth Wind & Fire, Kool & the Gang, Stevie, and the like) who blazed the way for disco. This two-disc collection represents some of the best funk continues to offer. Of course, there’s “Skin Tight,” “Love Rollercoaster,” and “Fire”; but there are also some lesser-known classics like “Jive Turkey,” “Far East Mississippi,” “Who’d She Coo,” and “Fopp.” They’ve slapped on some previously unreleased stuff, and, generally, you can see why. However, the flutey-funk instrumental, “There It Is” and the live version of “Alone” are recovered treasures. I’m not a huge fan of O.P.’s ballads, but I still love “Free” and the humorous “Sweet Sticky Thing.”

The Ohio boys only had a three-year run. It was most definitely glorious – but not really worth two discs. There’s a lot of stuff on here that even the most ardent crate digger could do without; however, no funk collection would be complete without the Ohio Players.

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