Ohio Players Top 20

Filed in Music, Playlists

ohio playersIf you check my last.fm stats, you can see I’ve been on a big Ohio Players kick lately. Of course I’ve been listening to stuff from the Mercury years, but it’s the Westbound albums that are really gettin it done for me. Pleasure, Pain, and Ecstacy…that’s that sho’ NUFF FONK. Those are the types of albums that I think really get slighted when it comes to those ‘top funky songs’ lists. They got that gooood fonk, but not everybody knows about it.

At any rate, since I have enough to make this list actually somewhat selective, let’s run off my top 20 Ohio Players records.

20. A Thing Called Love – This is that early, early OP’s, before they were what you could really call funky. This makes the cut for the line, “To fire, don’t you know it’s a flame/ to The Flames, don’t you know it’s James”.

19. Black Cat – The Ten Commandments Horns. Period.

18. Sweet Sticky Thing

17. Never Had A Dream – That drum loop. Killin.

16. Cold, Cold World – One of the OP’s straight-up blues joints. Later reworked in an even more vicious version called The Reds.

15. Smoke – the prototypical sound of the Players on Mercury

14. Short Change – The first raw funk instrumental on this list, but neither the best nor the last.

13. I Wanna Hear From You

12. I Want To Be Free

11. Food Stamps Y’all – Raw funk instrumental jam #2.

And now for the money cuts. Starting with…

10. Fopp Yes, the OP’s could put some rock in their funk, and they sho’ did on this jam.

9. Silly Billy This is one of the songs that a lotta people don’t know about, but it’s just about perfect.

8. Good Luck Charm – One of their best ballads. Nice and long, too. Works well on repeat.

7. Climax – Raw funk instrumental. Period. Later reworked into a song a little higher on the list.

6. It’s All Over – The ad-libs at the end. Especially the ‘woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woooouuuu’

5. Pride and Vanity – Seriously.

4. Jive Turkey – Probably one of the more important songs in the development of my idiolect. When I was finally able to pry my eyes away from the album cover long enough to see the track listing, I knew I had to hear whatever was entitled “Jive Turkey.” When I heard it, I was duly impressed. But not as impressed as I was with…

3. Heaven Must Be Like This – This is the song that 97.2% of ballads wish they could be.

2. Skin Tight – The definitive Ohio Players song, and for good reason. There’s just nothing not to like about it, including the fact that they don’t belabor the point with the lyrics. They get the two verses in, then get out of the way and let the instrumentals take over.

Which leaves us to …

1. Funky Worm – I don’t even know where to start with this joint. Is it the sickening horn blast? Is it the guitar? Is it the synth? Is it the Granny character? Is it the rerworking of Climax? (Should Climax actually be tied for #1, as an instrumental?)



12 Responses to “Ohio Players Top 20”
  1. brotherbrown says:

    Pain has to be in the top 3. Especially the long version.

    Pee Wee show me show me show me how I feel!

    Satch, show we where it’s at!

  2. Avery says:

    No jive, Pain should definitely be up there, for the exact reasons you mentioned. I was trippin off that part just the other day.

    Actually, lookin at the list a few hours removed, I see that I’m trippin. Climax and Funky Worm should probably be counted as one song. Pain should be on there, as should There It Is/Far East Mississppi. What was I on?

  3. brotherbrown says:

    Their library is so vast. My college roommate is from Cincinnati, so I’m partial to O-H-I-O.

    You have to put Honey on the list just because it is the title cut of the greatest album cover art, ever.

    Pain was the first OP song I ever heard, on KGFJ-AM 1230, and I was hooked. I already wanted to play the sax, but that song made me want to play the piano and the “trumpet” (later learned that PeeWee was playing the flugelhorn) too.

    I love Ecstacy as well. I was in the eighth grade, hoping some girl would notice me enough to want to give me a chance. Songs then gave a brother a chance to romance a young lady (at least in his fantasies) without being crude or rude.

    Honey was released in the fall of my 10th grade year, (which is when you started high school in LA City in the 70′s). Coincidently, it was my brother’s senior year, and he was an all around popular guy, so I could just find my groove in his wake. Starting out with Rollercoaster, going through Fopp, of course Sweet Sticky Thang (tremendous sax work), and the ultimate crying song of it’s era, I Don’t Wanna be Alone. That was a hell of a year, and a coming out year for me personally.

    The Honey LP is just below Songs in the Key of Life and Off the Wall in terms of sheer volume of original, high quality songs.

  4. Avery says:

    A funny story about Honey…so I was, like, 2 when it came out. I always tell people that while I don’t know how sexual identity is formed in humans, when I saw the Honey cover and Mona from Car Wash, I knew I was straight, jack. Not coincidentally, I’m pretty sure I thought those two were the same woman.

    Now if you wanna count when I got older, maybe 8 or 9, it was all about Skin Tight for me. Everything. The pulchritudinous chocolate sister on the album cover, the title track, Jive Turkey, Heaven Must Be Like This… Sugarfoot ‘nem was killin it.

    Although for real-for real, it was all about Billy Beck and that super perm.

  5. MIB says:

    Sweet Sticky Thing at 18 and NO Fire?

    No Love Rollercoaster?


    Turn in your Ohio Players card!

  6. Avery says:

    i never really liked love rollercoaster. in fact, i quite hated it, both the original and the red hot chili peppers remake.

    thing is, i was deliberately trying to get more westbound stuff in. as mercury albums go, i think i prefer skin tight to fire every day of the week, though.

  7. scodda boi says:

    who was the name of the dude who sounds like bobby of the proud family

  8. Avery says:

    It’s probably Sugarfoot

  9. Mick Dempsey says:

    Gotta have Far East Mississippi in there somewhere. ;o)

  10. Mick Dempsey says:

    …and Little Lady Maria…

  11. Avery says:

    aw, man! how DID i forget Far East Mississppi? That’s definitely, definitely one of my favorites. Definitely an oversight.

  12. Hi Avery

    It must be vacation time, the sun is out so loving your writing.

    Keep up the new posts.



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