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‘Pleasure’ is a raw, funk-filled album featuring the Ohio Players at their most unpolished.
And like on ‘Pain’, the opening track here too is reserved for a lengthy, loose jam session with sparse lyrics.
“Pleasure” rides a ferocious, rocking groove mainly due to Sugarfoot’s rollicking guitar figures and Greg Webster’s solid drumming.
There’s some nice blaxpo in the mix through the use of Hammond organ and flutes, as well.
A1 Pleasure 5:28
A2 Laid It 3:00
A3 Pride and Vanity 4:22
A4 Walt’s First Trip 3:08
B1 Varee Is Love 2:43
B2 Walked Away From You 2:29
B3 Paint Me 2:02
B4 Funky Worm 2:35
B5 Our Love Has Died 4:50
Review By Soulmakossa
Funk-rock at its craziest comes in the guise of the catchy “Laid It“, a rhythm riot of a groove with what at first listen seem to be nonsensical lyrics… But check it out a little deeper… Also dig the tongue-in-cheek old-school soul backing vox!
Things quiet down a bit with the mellow, jazzy work-out “Pride and Vanity“, which almost sounds like juke joint vaudeville at times. Superb piano playing, meaty bass chops and dreamy horn charts. But the smoothest point is reached with the lilting ballad “Varee Is Love”, which goes for the close harmony/Philly Soul bag.
The Players take off to Grooveland once more on the ridiculously infectious instrumental “Walt’s First Trip“, a horn-heavy romp that could have come out of the J.B.’s stable. That same crunching groove can be heard on the sweat-soaked “Walked Away From You“, with Sugarfoot adding some nice country guitar fills.
Low-down, nasty swamp funkin’ boogie is up next with the fatback strutter “Paint Me“, which has a strong, melodic, horn-filled bridge and an understated, but still powerful lead vocal by Junie Morisson.
The big hit naturally was the wacky “Funky Worm“, a titanic groove fest featuring Junie’s revolutionary use of high-pitched synth wails to mimick the wiggles of the guitar-playing (?) worm… Most hilarious of all is the granny character, who is the money-hungry manager of the wondrous creature. Like she says, this is as funky as ‘nine cans of shavin’ powder!’
But the album finishes on a serious note: the haunting, mid-tempo ballad “Our Love Has Died” is a creepy, world-weary venture into the soul of a heartbroken man.
A superior album yet again.
Buy the AlbumOhio Players - 1972 – Pleasure