Q - 10/95, p.1434 Stars
- Excellent - "...George Clinton has pinched all the mid-'70s funk kudos for himself, perhaps The Ohio Players deserve some too..."
FUNK ON FIRE: THE MERCURY ANTHOLOGY includes a 24-page booklet.
The Ohio Players: Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner (vocals, guitar); Clarence "Chet" Willis (guitar, background vocals); Clarence "Satch" Satchell (flute, saxophone, percussion, background vocals); Ralph "Pee Wee" Middlebrooks, Marvin "Merv" Pierce (trumpet); James "Diamond" Williams (flugelhorn, drums, congas, timbales, percussion, gong, background vocals); William "Billy" Beck (keyboards, percussion, background vocals); Marshall Jones (bass); Robert "Kumba" Jones (congas).
Additional personnel: Paul Serrano, Jack Kramer (horns).
Producer: Ohio Players.
Compilation producers: Ohio Players, Harry Weinger.
Recorded between 1974 & 1978. Includes liner notes by Alan Light.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
From their erotically charged album covers to their grinding, bass-heavy grooves, the Ohio Players were one of the highest profile funk bands of the 1970s. The superb two-disc anthology FUNK ON FIRE represents everything that made the Players great--fine musicianship, a blend of fiercely syncopated rhythms with pop accessibility, and a sassy, outrageous attitude (thanks, in large part, to the animated vocals of Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner). Though the Players released several records for the Detroit-based Westbound label in the early part of their career, they really hit their stride when they signed to Mercury, where they released a string of charting albums, including the funk classics FIRE and HONEY.
All the hits and key tracks from the Mercury albums are here, including the hard-driving "Fire" and the infectious "Love Rollercoaster," as well as lush, keyboard- and falsetto-drenched ballads ("Together"). While the Players' late-'70s material is generally considered inferior to their mid-'70s work, the second disc of this anthology does an admirable job of picking the best tracks from these later albums--"O-H-I-O" and the spacey "Funk-O-Nots," among them. In short, the Players' best work is boiled down on this definitive set, making it a crucial addition to any funk library.