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Unsung 2022 🎵 The Ohio Players I Want To Be Free 🎵 Unsung Episodes 2022

Unsung 2022 🎵 The Ohio Players   I Want To Be Free 🎵 Unsung Episodes 2022
picture in a whole host of other artists that and mentor them and bring them into the forum and that's part of what makes dayton

ohio

so unique as a medium-sized city but these cats were like they were real

players

we're trying to be like them you know we

want

to be

players

you know but we need players yet you know so we had to work on our skills the roots of the

ohio

players go back to georgia blues man robert ward beginning in 1959 ward assembled some of the best young musicians around bassist marshall jones clarence satchel on sax and peewee middlebrooks on horns they call themselves the ohio untouchables my dad used to take us to the clubs ohio untouchables were playing hey man that was that stuff was off the chain the music was so clear and so pure so good man i used to come millions of miles just to kill the boys play they would play walk on the wild side with just guitar bass and drums and two horns and you can't imagine how that would sound the ohio untouchables cut a handful of records on the tiny lupine label in detroit and backed wilson pickett and the falcons on the 1962 hit i found a love but robert ward turned out to be an unreliable leader they would be playing and he'd just unhook his guitar and walk off the stage just leave them there so naturally every time robert stopped playing you know they had to stop playing so they said the next time he does that we're going to keep playing after ward and bassist marshall jones got into a fist fight in 1964 the group broke up for good only three licks passed i hit him he hit me and i hit the ground and that was ward found new backups and the untouchables also rebounded vowing never again to be sidemen for a star they replaced ward with a 21 year old guitar phenom from nearby hamilton ohio leroy sugarfoot bonner sugarfoot was the oldest of 14 children he never went to high school but he taught himself how to play blues and jazz and he pulled the group in a new direction it was very important that we were able to play the kind of music that i

want

ed to play which is r b with a little glare to it we didn't want to do blues because we would be competing with robert ward and nobody in dayton could do that so we decided to change our format all together we practice religiously monday tuesday and wednesday thursday friday saturday and sunday we play they were always playing they weren't working in a hamilton foundry they weren't working at the hamburger shop they played music that's it by 1967 the band had a new vibe and a new name i wanted to be a musician i wanted to be a player and the other guys had the idea that they wanted to be players like pimping players all the cats were nice looking young men you know what i'm saying so women there always had an attraction for us just right off the bat when you say oh wow players you gotta throw untouchables away you know because i want to be a ohio player in 1968 the ohio players released their major label debut album observations in time for capital records but the record didn't sell much and capital cut them loose then in 1970 the players brought a teenage prodigy into the mix juni morrison who guided the group more aggressively into the land of funky with julie it just changed and marshall and sugar just fell right in where it seemed like it was like this is what we've been waiting for the payoff came in 1971 when the players landed a deal with westbound records also home for george clinton and released their first single titled payne that's when we met george clinton and we had this funkiness we had this uh pain boom boom boom boom and that's the sound i never heard such funky slushy groove with them high horns and the vocals pain and he's had so much pain when he was singing it you know pain is in my heart oh man that was pain i knew then that okay they gotta smash payne became the player's first top 40 hit and his album cover got at least as much attention as the song wow i can say wow who be this i was the girl on the album covers the girl with the shaving head they didn't describe what i was going to do they just came out with this little bikini and i thought oh my god i am in trouble the model pat evans really is so far ahead as far as a image that's not passive in terms of these notions of femininity and she's not a kind of response to men she's a primary actor the record sold because of the covers yeah they so because it's a woman with a bald head and no one had a bald head in those days that's why they sold the chick with the ball here i mean that's style you know it's funk but it's style you know who would have thought of that i mean you know nobody but the wild players you know and who could have got away with it nobody but the ohio player by 1972 13 years after they started as a band the ohio players were finally getting some buzz nationwide they followed their pain album with what else pleasure and then ecstasy two more albums with eye-popping covers but when drummer greg webster had to take a health break in 1974 he was permanently replaced by james diamond williams a groove-oriented drummer with a pretty falsetto they needed another drummer that could sing because i can't sing so they voted me out and that's how i left the group it was a thing well we can't stop and wait on you we got to keep going that's the band you wanted to be with the a-team the ohio players i was glad to get with them and started out at a whopping 25 a week but oh well i had a great job months later lead singer junie morrison quit the band to pursue a solo career he was replaced by a young keyboard whiz and ohio players fan named billy beck they could say okay let's play this and then didn't have to teach me in fact sometimes i said no that's not right because i studied all this stuff really backwards just uh god said you know you feel like god was playing when you heard billy backplate we worked so good together it was scary when that got in the group in 74 the band took off everything clicked we were burning on all cylinders wanting to be the best that you could be the core unit that would spin off 17 top 40 hits over the next several years was now set billy beck diamond williams sugarfoot bonner rock jones and horned players pee-wee middlebrooks and marvin pierce but singer and saxophone is clarence sach satchel was clearly the man in charge satch is the one that well he got up early every day and he made sure that they had everything they needed to go to work he's in their costumes he did the choreography uh he directed the band he was the leader of the group and usually whenever he said anything that's what we did we all respected that and did that just like that satch was very very humble that they would put that kind of trust in him and he liked you know doing things for the group because he loved those guys they all loved each other and they respected each other after three albums the players had a falling out with westbound records looking to bolster their r b roster mercury records quickly picked them up and they said well how many songs you got 40 we didn't have that one not one song we lost every we got 40 songs so for nine days straight the players went back and forth between gigs on the east coast and recording sessions in chicago where they jammed until they came up with fresh grooves we walk in the studio with nothing on our mind and take out our instrument and play it just like that writing all the songs right there in the studio and working at night 24 7 this is the time to shine the result was skin tight a nine-day wonder of an album that consisted of six long grooves and spun off three big hits jive turkey heaven must be like this and the title song skin type was kind of like the real blueprint for the ohio players sound james brown taught us the funk was on the one but i like the accent on the aim fun was a perfect example of that the

free

formness that they always had it was a little different kind of phone because their funk had style it wasn't sloppy but it was classy fun and i think it took the phone meter up a level or two or three a lot of that had to do with the player's new front man none other than sugarfoot bonner he of the giant afro and double neck guitar who took over on lead vocals when junie morrison quit i never did tell anybody i could sing i never wanted to sing that's not what i do he didn't have the confidence but we gave it to him and for you know what every band is singing was trying to sound like sugar we just made he was a front guy you know everybody needed a front guy he was our mick jagger afraid but the high harmony vocals that they did nobody was doing anything quite like that and that made it exciting too it took the ohio players a long time to come up with their special brand of funk but once they did it wasn't long before they established themselves as america's hottest band and we do mean hot skin tight had made it to number two on the r b charts but fire blazed the trail to the top in both r b and palm stevie wonder predicted the song would take off when he heard a demo before it had lyrics or names stevie said you could name this song anything it's a hit you can name this song rocks paper and they smoke it it is smoking so we name it fire fire the album also shot to number one on both the r b and the pop charts can anyone doubt that the lady with the fire hose was one reason why and that's basically all we had to think about we had no long discussion about it we appreciated the beauty of women there was a black awareness thing going on and so we used black models kind of all took off if you look at the jackets the westbound covers are kinky the mercury covers are adventurous i came home after the skin tight album and showed my mom and dad the almo cover and they're looking at me like oh this is why i sent you to school huh son and it was like yeah dad don't open it up please you know just listen to it then ironically the only grammy the ohio players ever won was the best album art award in 1975. there was one african-american oriented pornographic magazine interestingly enough it was called players magazine you could very well have substituted a player centerfold with an ohio player's album like skin type and then when you opened it up then you'd see pictures of the band members who were the quintessence of cool after 15 years of struggling to pay the bills the ohio players were suddenly rich and they weren't going to get too uptight about the reasons why people looked at me and he said marsha do you realize that you don't never have to worry about paying your rent no more and i thought i said oh man so people give me a hug we hugged each other man and i i i welled up again because we have went through so much it was surreal you're talking about a poor kid from the south side of youngstown all of a sudden i could buy a brand new 70 000 house catch a bus to a cadillac dealership walk in there and drive the one off of the showroom floor home there was not an italian sports car that we didn't have from the fries to the lamborghinis to the maseratis we had them all success brought the band even closer the players had a rule they would share equally in the songwriting credits and the royalties from their hits that was the whole idea of putting everybody's name down as writers not co-writers writers you know like everybody gets equal shares of everything here to keep the group together it was the camaraderie that the band had together i love those guys those guys were you know my brothers and that precipitated that idea of everybody getting the same it was really like a family everything and everybody we were very close all of the old ladies in the group we got together on the weekends and i did things with our children and um i mean i really loved all of them i loved all of them just like they were family members but for the ohio players there was no shortage of women willing to break that family apart there was a lot of women just women women women and uh i had an answering service and they'd leave messages they'd get the address and send letters they came to your home called you on the phone was like how do you hold on to a relationship and a marriage when you got you know all these women in love with your husband while fire was still burning its place in the music history the players came out with a different kind of masterpiece called sweet sticky thing song itself is a sweet sticky thing because it's got so many different pretty things in the background alongside again a very ad-libbed style there's horns although this that's ever played in his life is on three sticky things it swing you know it had that that groove feeling to it and it was laid back it was mellow you know you just kind of tuned you could listen to going down the road these are just songs that should be there and all our players just took them and just here this is what you need to hear right here sweet sticky thing was another crossover hit topping the r b charts and breaking into the top 40 in pop one of the more remarkable aspects of the ohio players superstar ride to the top was that they weren't products of a hit machine like motown or stacks the players were self-made and creatively they called their own shots we were breaking new ground breaking new ground to say we wanted to do it our way we wanted to produce it we wanted to write it and at the last moment they'd create the lyrics and finish the melody now songwriting usually works the other way around but this was just genius the way they put it together these guys were like role models as a group you know like we want to be like those cats they were in charge creatively musically any and everywhere you wanted to talk about they were in charge nobody ever gave us no resistance we didn't take no resistance it's futile in the studio the player's creative process was still a high wire act all the songs were developed in jams and lyrics were added at the end almost as an afterthought strict and severely disciplined is are not words that i would associate with that group they were lose excuses they believed that things came as a flow and that's how it happened fortunately sugarfoot bonner had a special gift for this got to the point where this everything come out of my mouth was just rhyming and i really had to stop it because people were saying that was crazy the lyrical content of the boys insane a lot of which had to be stepped down just to make it radio friendly explicit to a point of being incredible satchel would get sugar in the guys rolling by announcing one word titles for the songs once satch would drop the word basically like dropping a bomb and we would try to find ways to make it work and trying to do music that makes you feel like that word skin type honey fire roller coaster all in one word simplicity is the greatest design so he said we're going to call this roller coaster and that's all we said nothing else was said roller coaster that's it that's what helped me in 1975 the ohio players released their simplest and perhaps their most memorable players hit a song titled love roller coaster all you do is ride which put that little sexual connotation on it you know that might have been the peak of the ohio players sound because it don't get no better than that everybody goes on that roller coaster up and down any and everybody could relate to that song adding to the player's notoriety a rumor began to spread that an evil crime had been committed during the making of the song you hear this shrill this scream and it doesn't go along with a melody and the rumor was that a woman got stabbed in the studio and we would play that over and over again and it was conclusive evidence something happened there there was truth to any parts of that i'd probably been in jail for a couple of a couple of years you know what i'm saying you know people don't do things you know and the girl got stabbed on a roller coaster that's what i've heard this you know we don't do things like that i'm not a killer i'm a lover that is not true although it did help sell a lot of records that was uh me doing my imitation of like when you're on a roller coaster and what do people do they scream when they go down the hill so that was me honey had another unforgettable album cover and one with a backstory the model was on plexiglass when honey being poured all over after which because we were under the studio light so long she became glued to the plexiglass so we had to take warm water and pour over her and lift her up from the plexiglass it took hours of sweet sticky things the album honey also hit the top selling a million copies the group second platinum in a row the players who were now selling out venues like madison square garden and the superdome were at the very top of their ride the fall would be breathtaking in 1977 dayton's own ohio players international superstars of funk cut an anthem for their hometown fans it was just that sibling the whole state of ohio loved us you know and people in california were saying oh eats just like they was from ohio for ohio you know we got nothing i mean you know what compared to you know the big city we got nothing you know we got the wild players i think everybody in the ohio area is so proud of that at their peak you could almost think of the ohio players in dayton ohio as the city's ministry of culture they're almost a branch of government we don't want to go anywhere this is home we built this home and our children come up little funky tears right behind us all i'm doing just what we did and we're proud of that indeed people liked the players so much that they were always on tour since the beginning of the decade the group had booked about 200 gigs a year and as their success grew they had to confront the twin demons of big time life on the road burnout and drugs people just had money didn't care about that no more you know didn't care about rehearsing anymore i didn't care about the things they used to care about they left town and came back and all of them were using the same drug and that had never happened before and the drug was cocaine come time to do the gig you got to be really up you got to have energy you know and then if somebody says well here take a little head to this a little hint of that and here for you know it this is hitting you believe it or not the record executives were the ones that turned them on to a lot of the drugs you know because it showed them how they could record in the daytime and play at night and that's when i realized that you know we were going to have problems the worth ethic uh definitely started to slip a little uh folks were you know living large and enjoying it and uh that's about the time when folks started getting in trouble too billy beck knew there was trouble when he saw satch and sugarfoot and sugar's lotus surrounded by cops i think marvin pulls up and he says i said what i said how much about three or four ounces that was huge for dayton fortunately for the players no one went to jail and the band kept touring wow their next albums angel and contradiction both went top ten featuring hits like body vibes and a mellow funk jam called huchiku that original take was about 25 to 30 minutes long i had to get rid of all the dead spots and tie all of the pieces that best fit still had no idea what to call it end walks mr one word man sash ushiku okay let's roll with it we'll make it work the beauty of the ohio players is that you never feel that they're trying to create a hit they sound like a group that's always having fun doing what they love to do gave the players another number one r b hit but it would be their last one day marshall jones the treasurer of the group got a call from an investigator with the irs he said now you can avoid me but you can't invade mr jones do you understand what i'm saying yes sir i said well what's the problem my records are impeccable what's the problem have you seen this check before no have you seen this check before messaging it appeared that someone in the band was using undeclared income lots of it to write unauthorized checks we're paying for penthouses in chicago la uh limousine service that we didn't need or he didn't even use them went straight to mississippi um horizontal um is it don't look good man he said he said i said why didn't you tell me man you know you could have told me he said well just don't mention it to the fellas and i'll pay for your house sasha and i had filed a joint return so when the irs came you know the man was saying uh you have the assets so we're gonna you know take your house your car and this that and the other you know and all i knew about was money that satch brought home he bought a check home every week and that's the money that i lived on other members of the ohio players also took aim at the man who had been their leader marshall jones had called me one night and told me that uh they were going to get set you know and i said get sad i said what do you mean he said well we're going to get set and we'll take care of you but we're going to have to you know put satch out of the group sach satchel was fired from the band but he wasn't the only one in trouble with the irs they got a payment form from the record company they split the money up among themselves and kept it mercury never withheld taxes from their royalties and if there had been a thought on mercury's part they wouldn't have listened to it the same man did everybody's taxes and when irs came at them individually they were charged with the money that they each did not report and the players paid the price i lost my house all the cars i lost everything first i i was the first one out on the street literally when i realized what it what all i had worked for and all that i had accomplished and seeing it go up and smoke with a for sale sign in my yard and sitting there with my wife i broke down and cried like a baby we never got over that we never got over that point that we had everything in one second like that it was just gone and i don't know if you understand that feeling that you know everything gone and i've been working all my life since then trying to put it back together more than 50 years after first coming together on a dating stage the ohio players in one version or another are still performing for enthusiastic crowds i'd rather do this than anything else in the world you know this is my life it's like my breath this is sugarfoot bonners ohio players sugar is the only original member but the band does boast the support of grammy-winning bassist trey pierce i've studied the music for 30 years 30 years of history and now i'm actually living it every inch in my heart all the soul i got i think i try to put all the feeling i have in my little body into what i'm doing up here and whether anybody understands it or not sometimes they do and sometimes they don't i still try to just
unsung 2022 the ohio players i want to be free unsung episodes 2022

Source : Unsung 2022