ARTIST: Ohio Players
TITLE: Observations in Time
YEAR RELEASED: 1968
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Here Today and Gone Tomorrow
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Covers of Over the Rainbow and Summertime, because of course.
LINEUP: Sugarfoot Bonner, Pee Wee Middlebrooks, Dutch Robinson, Satch Satchell, Gary Webster, Rock Jones, Andrew Noland, Bobby Lee Fears
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First record from 70’s funk / soul pioneers is more classic R&B than their later work. Covering ballady standards aren’t in their wheelhouse.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Sounding more like they came from Stax or Muscle Shoals, this incarnation of the Ohio Players were definitely not groundbreaking or anything but ordinary.
Yes, they were soulful and showcased their chops, and they definitely pulled off the uptempo numbers without a hitch. Whether it’s the arrangements, or the vocalists (Fears and Robinson and not Sugarfoot) the slower jams fell short. “Over the Rainbow” just doesn’t work, and some of the slower originals also don’t quite mesh. There’s a mix problem in “Summertime” as well.
This is a decent historical artifact. It’s always interesting to see where a band started to where it wound up. Just don’t expect the funk.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: By 1970 or so, the band had split, and re-constituted in Dayton without Fears, Noland and Robinson.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: C+: It’s not horrible. It’s generic late 60’s sould, which isn’t bad. It’s just not anything special.