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The Ohio Players’ last album for Westbound, ‘Ecstasy’, shows the group already moving toward more commercial terrain. This was mostly evident through the swapping of drummers; heavy hitter Greg Webster was replaced by the more refined James ‘Diamond’ Williams during these sessions.
But it still contains plenty of that raw funky filth that had adorned the band’s two predecessing longplayers.
A1 Ecstasy 2:27
A2 You and Me 3:13
A3 (Not So) Sad and Lonely 3:20
A4 (I Wanna Know) Do You Feel It 4:23
A5 Black Cat 4:25
B1 Food Stamps Y’All 3:12
B2 Spinning 3:04
B3 Sleep Talk 3:15
B4 Silly Billy 4:26
B5 Short Change 2:55
Review By Soulmakossa
The rollicking “Ecstasy” is another semi-instrumental, this one hung up on Sugarfoot’s tumbling guitar pattern, a whining Hammond organ and Marshall Jones’ incessant bass riffs.
It gets decidedly more mellow with the soft soul ballad “You and Me“, with more of Junie’s falsetto lead, and plenty of embellishments, making it sound like a Chi-Lites track all the way through.
The sturdy blues-based funk of “(Not So) Sad and Lonely” is far better, with more emphasis on the horns, and, as a ballad, the mid-paced “(I Wanna Know) Do You Feel It” is way more satisfying, with its teasing build-up and suspenseful vibe.
The hardest funk here is delivered in a one-two punch: the fatback, greasy romp “Black Cat” struts mightily along, with the horn-filled instrumental “Foodstamps Y’all” quickly following suit, sounding somewhat similar to Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”.
“Spinning“, while definitely funky, already starts to show that gloss that would mark (and for me marr) their subsequential hit albums on Mercury: the grit seems to be consciously kept to a minimum, giving the tune a sterile overall sound.
I like the moody ballad “Sleep Talk” better, with its vicious wah wah guitars and colossal horn riffs. But ballad-wise there is a real clunker here too with the poppy, sugary “Silly Billy“.
Fortunately, their last Westbound set closes with a solid slice of funk rockin’ mayhem with the foot-stomping drums of “Short Change“… Both the guitars and layers of horns give this jam a nasty vibe quite akin to Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein”.