Ohio Players

Superpak [Trip]

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Mention the Ohio Players to an R&B historian, and the first thing that usually comes to mind are Mercury gems like "Fire," "Love Rollercoaster," "Skin Tight," "Fopp," and "Who'd She Coo." The next thing that he/she is likely to bring up is the Players' Westbound period of 1971-1974 -- a period that gave us "Pain" and "Funky Worm." But unless you're really getting into a long, in-depth examination of the Players' history, there probably won't be any discussion of their early pre-Westbound recordings. Only Players fans who really know their stuff will tell you what they were up to in the late 1960s, when the 19 selections found on Superpak were recorded. One of the many budget collections of early Players that surfaced in the 1970s, this two-LP set generally sold for around three or four dollars back then -- and considering that the material is enjoyable, that wasn't a bad deal. Trip was hoping that the people who bought Skin Tight, Honey, and Fire would pick up Superpak as well. If they did, they discovered that the Players sounded a lot different in the late 1960s, when their main focus was southern-style soul. "Trespassin'" (an early Players single), "Tell Me Why," "A Little Soul Party," and other early Players recordings were produced by Johnny Brantley in New York in 1968, but they sound like they could have been recorded for Stax Records down in Memphis. Indeed, "I Got to Hold On" (another early Players single) and "The Man That I Am" wouldn't have been out of place on a Sam & Dave or an Otis Redding album. In the 1970s, no Players fan would have encouraged you to choose Superpak over Honey or Fire; but for an investment of only a couple of bucks, it wasn't a bad addition to your LP collection; it definitely has its rewards.

Track Listing

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blue highlight denotes track pick