Ohio Players

The Very Best Of (The World Of) The Ohio Players

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The Ohio Players never recorded for Stax and never recorded in Memphis, but they might as well have. In the late '60s -- before the band's stay at Westbound from 1971-1973 and Mercury from 1974-1978 -- the Players were a Northern band with a very Southern sound. They loved the raw, tough, gritty brand of Southern soul that Stax was famous for, and you can't possibly miss the strong Memphis influence on this budget LP. Assembled in 1975, The Very Best of (The World Of) The Ohio Players contains ten songs that were recorded in the late '60s. This LP was released at a time when the Players had been burning up the R&B charts with Mercury hits like "Fire," "I Want to Be Free," and "Love Rollercoaster" -- and United Artists, like other labels that put together collections of early Players material, hoped to cash in on their popularity. If you bought this LP because the Players had won you over with "Jive Turkey" or "Skin Tight" and had no idea what early offerings like "Trespassin'" and "A Little Soul Party" sounded like, you quickly discovered that the Players of the late '60s sounded a lot different from the band that was recording for Mercury in the mid-'70s. You would have also realized that the record's title was misleading -- this collection, although enjoyable, doesn't contain the Players' most essential or very best recordings. But then, no one went broke acquiring this LP, which went for as little as two dollars in 1975. At that price, The Very Best of (The World Of) The Ohio Players wasn't a bad deal.