Ready For The World: Melvin Riley (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Gordon Strozier (guitar, background vocals); Willie Triplett (keyboards, percussion, background vocals); Gregory Potts (keyboards, background vocals); John Eaton (bass, background vocals); Gerald Valentine (drums, percussion).
Producers: Ready For The World, Melvin Riley, Gary Spaniola.
Compilation producer: Dana Smart.
Recorded between 1985 & 1994. Includes liner notes by Tanya O'Quinn.
This is part of MCA's 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection series.
Personnel: Melvin Riley (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Gordon Strozier (guitar, background vocals); Willie Triplett (keyboards, percussion, background vocals); Gregory Potts (keyboards, background vocals); John Eaton (bass guitar, background vocals); Gerald Valentine (drums, percussion).
Photographer: Jim Shea.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Andy McKaie; Pat Lawrence .
For a midline-priced compilation, this survey of the work of '80s funk band Ready for the World has a lot going for it. At a running time of 73 and a half minutes, much longer than you expect for a disc with such a modest price, it contains all of the group's chart hits as well as "Whose Is It?," the first chart entry by former bandleader Melvin Riley in 1994. To provide variety from the group's regular hits collection, several of the tracks are presented in unusual mixes or edits. The version of "Ceramic Girl" is taken from a 12" single and runs nearly nine minutes; "Mary Goes 'Round," "Long Time Coming," and "My Girly" are the single versions; "Straight Down to Business" is a single remix version; "Digital Display" is a radio edit; and "Can He Do It (Like This, Can He Do It Like That)" is taken from a promotional 12" single, and is thus making its debut on a commercial release. At the time of their commercial peak, 1985-1986, Ready for the World basically sounded like a Prince clone, aping their Upper Midwest neighbor's funky, synthesized, dance-pop style and his salacious lyrics. Even much later they still sounded like Prince, but they also sounded very dated after trends in R&B music had moved on. But for those who enjoyed them then, this album is a good way to relive their heyday. ~ William Ruhlmann