13 Songs, 1 Hour

EDITORS’ NOTES

Signed to a Detroit label (Westbound, home to Funkadelic), The Ohio Players released their second album three years after their Capitol Records debut, to little fanfare. The 1972 release (expanded here from six to 13 songs) peaked at No. 177 on the Billboard album chart, a number that hardly foreshadowed their future successes. Still, the album’s stature has grown tremendously over the years, and for good reason. It swings with groove-heavy funk and soul, soothes with blues and jazz, and mixes social protestations (their faithful cover of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” is sublime) with slow sizzles that celebrate their love of humanity. The title song’s a flute-enhanced dancefloor shimmy to relationships, while “Players Ballin’ (Players Doin’ Their Own Thing)” is gloriously Sly Stone–esque down to the handclaps, wah-wah guitar, and throaty yelps. They get tender on the much-sampled “Never Had a Dream” and teardrop-bluesy on “The Reds.” Both Traffic’s “Feelin’ Alright” and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary” get the group’s full-on funk treatment.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Signed to a Detroit label (Westbound, home to Funkadelic), The Ohio Players released their second album three years after their Capitol Records debut, to little fanfare. The 1972 release (expanded here from six to 13 songs) peaked at No. 177 on the Billboard album chart, a number that hardly foreshadowed their future successes. Still, the album’s stature has grown tremendously over the years, and for good reason. It swings with groove-heavy funk and soul, soothes with blues and jazz, and mixes social protestations (their faithful cover of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” is sublime) with slow sizzles that celebrate their love of humanity. The title song’s a flute-enhanced dancefloor shimmy to relationships, while “Players Ballin’ (Players Doin’ Their Own Thing)” is gloriously Sly Stone–esque down to the handclaps, wah-wah guitar, and throaty yelps. They get tender on the much-sampled “Never Had a Dream” and teardrop-bluesy on “The Reds.” Both Traffic’s “Feelin’ Alright” and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary” get the group’s full-on funk treatment.

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