When the Ohio Players' Mercury smashes were burning up the charts in the mid-'70s, Westbound no doubt regretted letting the funksters get away and wished that it had been the label that released "Fire," "Love Rollercoaster," and "I Want to Be Free." But since Westbound no longer had the Players under contract, it tried to cash in on their popularity by putting out material that it had in the can. Released in 1975 but recorded from 1972-1973 -- when the Players were still signed to Westbound -- Rattlesnake is a collection that only a hardcore Players fan would find of interest. Not that the material is bad; most of it is decent, if less than remarkable. Though Rattlesnake contains a few songs that had already come out on 1972's Pleasure or 1973's Ecstacy (including the funky "Spinning," the infectious "Laid It," and the sentimental ballad "Varee Is Love"), its main focus is previously unreleased material. And the material that Westbound pulls from its vaults ranges from the funky title song and the disco-ish instrumental "Hollywood Hump" (which would have been at home on a KC & the Sunshine Band album) to the jazz instrumental "Gone Forever." Meanwhile, "Rooster Poot" is a mildly amusing funk tune that features the Players' Granny character, which they retired for good after signing with Mercury. Although far from essential and not recommended to casual listeners, Rattlesnake is an interesting listen if you're a seasoned collector.
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