2 Ohio Players
classics – back to back on one CD! Skin Tight is the band's first album for Mercury – and although one might have the temptation to say that the label cut down the radical funk sound of the trippy Westbound years, the move also taught the band to sharpen up their act, and get out of the repetitive sloppy groove into which they'd been lapsing during the past few years. The record's a lot smoother than earlier work – with a polished funky sound that would soon push the band right up there with Earth Wind & Fire at the top of the soul charts. And although there's familiar funky numbers like "Skin Tight", "Jive Turkey", and "Streakin Cheek To Cheek" – the best moment on the entire album is the wonderful spacey soul number "Heaven Must be Like This", a seven minute mellow groover that's got a sophisticated jazzy soul style, with voices and piano soaring into the heavens, in a way that always still sends chills down our spine! That cut shows the band's tremendous growth – and it's one of their best-ever! Fire is one of the biggest albums ever for Ohio Players
– a set that took their earlier funk sound and targeted firmly at the mainstream with a lean, mean groove that a million other groups copied at the time! There's still plenty of the soul of the early years in the group's approach here – and sometimes, the mellower tracks show a wonderful talent for harmonies coming even more fully to the top. But the real appeal of the record has always been the bold, bassy grooves that hit strongly just as ensemble funk was exploding in the mainstream during the early years of disco – making plenty of space for the Players
and their contemporaries to grab up new audiences who never would have touched a record like this five years before! There's plenty of grit in the grooves on the best numbers – a style that's maybe not as dirty as on Westbound, but still more than enough to make any real funk fan proud. Titles include "Fire", "Together", "Together/
Feelings", "It's All Over", "Runnin' From the Devil", "Smoke", "What The Hell", and "I Want To Be Free".
(Includes original slipcase.)