Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
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Definitely an appropriate title for this funky classic
29-year old wallflower | West Lafayette, IN | 09/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"1974 was an interesting year for R&B music. You had elder statesmen like Marvin Gaye & Stevie Wonder helping to expand the boundaries with their experiments into sex & synthesizers, respectively. Bands like Parliament-Funkadelic & Earth, Wind & Fire were just beginning to get off the ground, while forefathers like Sly & The Family Stone and James Brown were seeing their better days far behind them. In the middle of all that came a band who had been playing the music game for over 15 years, yet it wasn't until then did they finally break through: The Ohio Players. That's right, the Players had been at it since the late 1950s when funk music didn't even exist (even James Brown was still recording ballads at the time). By the early 1970s, with R&B music starting to take more & more risks, the Players decided to adapt accordingly & it paid off with them finally finding wide success. Starting with their 1971 album PAIN, the Players immediately won a reputation for their hot cover art, usually being so S&M-inspired, that many music stores refused to carry the album. Albums like PLEASURE, ECSTASY, CLIMAX & ORGASM continued the tradition, but the hits came at a slower rate. Finally, "Funky Worm" became a left-field hit in 1973 & the Players left their original record label Westbound Records for the bigger Mercury Records. Their first album for the new company was 1974's SKIN TIGHT. By this time, the covers had been cleaned up a bit, but were no less sexy. The music inside was just as hot, but SKIN TIGHT was different in the fact that it relied mostly on smooth grooves than a funky edge. Even the hit title track was a bit more polished than say "Fire" or "Love Rollercoaster" (those hits would came later), but it still had a danceable feel. The title for the song & album was appropriate: SKIN, in the fact that most Players albums were written & played almost exclusively by the band themselves. Any sound was made by them, pretty much, and there were indeed 8 people credited with writing a song. How's that for democracy? TIGHT, for obvious reasons because the music was tight & groovy without being stuffy, just loose enough to make it sound effortless. Even the album's other major hit "Jive Turkey" was mellower than most of the Players' more famous output, but still just as dancefloor-ready. Elsewhere, SKIN TIGHT is mostly about slower songs like the oh-so-jazzy "Heaven Must Be Like This" & "It's Your Night/Words Of Love". Because the Players' biggest hits were loud, screaming funk epics, it's often overlooked that they could create some good ballads, too. With the above songs, they create some great bedroom music that oozes sexuality from every pore. If you don't get turned on by this music, then how do you expect Viagra to work any better? The closest things to truly uptempo songs on SKIN TIGHT are the pulsating "Streakin' Cheek To Cheek" (remember that college trend from back in the day?) & the closing social awareness of "Is Anybody Gonna Be Saved?". On the surface, six songs may not seem like a truly entertaining album, but the songs all clock in at over 5 minutes, so you certainly couldn't fit any more on there. Nevertheless, SKIN TIGHT showed that the Ohio Players were well on their way to mainstream success & also thanks to toning down their cover art, their music was about to get more attention, which it should have had all along."
The begining of a new direction ! ! !
Eddie Landsberg | Tokyo, Japan | 05/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've held off reviewing SKIN TIGHT all these years beacuse at one time this was an album you could take for granted EVERYBODY having, and not only that, being able to cop a certain infectious bass line off of it to boot. One might even call the famous vamp from SKIN TIGHT the ghettoe version of CHOP STICKS.... you just had to know it... - - yet I'm surprised that there are some people these days who aren't quite down with the Player's, even though they paved the path for everything that came after - - including Prince and today's nu-soul.
First - - the concept - - hard core funk, but with a bit of everything thrown in... especially Jazz and Gospel harmony, and even touches of the pop/rock of the era - - and all this done with a distinct flavor of a new type of '70s soul- - There were also slow jams here and there, but slow not in the sense of sweet and lush (like Barry White and Issac Hayes) but NASTY and HARDCORE (complete with the latest and funkiest analogue synths of the era including plenty of MOOG, CLAVs and ARPS). . . That was the player's unique formula, and today its not something new, its THE RULE, and there is no doubt that when you see all the groups today who got their stuff from Cameo and Prince, you definitely have to be aware that THEY in turn got it from SUGAR and the Players.
SKIN TIGHT (recorded circa 1974) marks the begining of the FUNKY SLOW JAM and the Ohio's unique brand of Jived out Funk with a wicked Jazz edge... The PLAYER'S were also unique because even though they were doing ultra hard core funk along with their label mates P-FUNK on the WESTBOUND label, they were still quite underground when (like P-Funk) they jumped to Polydor - - even for a group who's tunes had a lot of pop and disco crossover appeal (the lyrics were mostly about the three Fs... the first two being fun and funk - - but I forget the third...)
When you listen to this album its great... a real journey - - it can be dance music, just as much as backround, dreaming or whatchamacallit making music, and you can follow the journey from begining to end... a lot is happening and there's a sound and production style hard edged yet smooth that no other group quite had - - For this reason, SKIN TIGHT is one of those albums that belongs in every true funk and soul collector's album - - and yes, bass players need to be studying that famous vamp one and again - - hard to believe almost 32 years later ! ! !
Now as for me and my favorite Polydor era OP albums, although SKIN TIGHT and FIRE set the precedent, actually HONEY and CONTRADICTION are my faves (Honey also being my favorite of their distinctly recognizable album covers !)"
The Ohio Players: Tighter than ever!
J-Funk | Stuart, FL. | 12/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Ohio Players took a big step up to a new level of funkiness with 'Skin Tight'. Not only did they make a move to a new record label, they also put out what was one of the best albums of 1974.
'Skin Tight' tapped into the jazz elements that were a big part of the Ohio Players' repertoire. This was the smoothest and funkiest album that the Players ever put out. Even though the Junie Morrison influence was missed, Billy Beck did a superb job not only with his keyboard work, but also with his fantastic range of falsetto singing (which he showcased on subsequent OP albums). 'Sugarfoot' Bonner put his indelible stamp on Funk music with his lead vocals on the title track. You can almost picture Larry Blackmon of Cameo and the lead singer of E.U. ("Doin' the Butt") listening intently to this record and taking notes. As far as ballads go, "Heaven Must Be Like This" ranks up there with the best. "Jive Turkey" is a hilarious Funk workout that'll have you singing along. "Streakin' Cheek To Cheek" is even Funkier. "It's Your Night" is a strip-you-down/sex-you-up ballad that's perfect for a candle-lit evening rendevous, and the piano rhapsody at the end of the song is breath-taking. The Players get downright churchified with the gospel-tinged "Is Anybody Gonna Be Saved?". Satch, Merv, and Pee-Wee's horn playing reached perfection on this LP, and Diamond was in rare form too. The underlying star of this album was bassist Marshall Jones. The bass-lines of "Skin Tight" were some of the best in R&B/Funk history. This was the closest that the Ohio Players came to putting out a genuine P-Funk album."