Sunday, May 12, 2019

"Take De Funk Off, Fly" By The Ohio Players

As the 1970s were drawing to a close, the Ohio Players were still funkin’ as hard as ever. The legendary band dropped the gargantuan funk groove “Take De Funk Off, Fly” in 1979. This is nasty uncut funk as only the Ohio Players could do it. Marshall Jones steers the groove with a massively funky bass line, and the horn section rains down pure fire with some tight horn salvos. And Sugarfoot puts an exclamation point on the funk with his scorching lead guitar work.

Also, this track  features one of the coldest bridges I’ve ever heard. The sleek synth line coupled with a dope rock-tinged guitar riff elevates the bridge to pimp-level smoothness.

And there’s a bit of P-Funk flavor on this track with a Bootsy-esque spoken-word vocal, as well as possibly a Mu-Tron effect on Jones’ bass to give it a rubbery Bootsy Space Bass feel; or it could even be a synth bass shadowing Jones’ real bass. This illustrates just how much P-Funk dominated the funk game from the mid to late ‘70s that even an established band with their own original sound like the Ohio Players copped a bit of the Funk Mob’s swagger.  Don’t get me wrong, it still sounds like an Ohio Players joint, but the P-Funk influence is undeniable.

“Take De Funk Off, Fly” is a track from the Ohio Players’ Everybody Up album, which was released on Arista Records in 1979. The album's title song peaked at #33 on Billboard’s R&B singles chart. The catchy, upbeat groove was probably the most disco-y cut the band had ever recorded. The album climbed to #19 Billboard’s R&B album chart and #80 on the pop album charts. Everybody Up was produced by the Ohio Players and was the only album that the band released on Arista.

The band lineup for Everybody Up was Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner (guitar, lead vocals); Ralph “Pee Wee” Middlebrooks (trumpet); William “Billy” Beck (keyboards, synthesizer, lead vocals); Marshall “Rock” Jones (bass); James “Diamond” Williams (drums, backing vocals);  Clarence "Satch" Satchell (saxophone, backing vocals); Marvin “Merv” Pierce (trumpet) and Clarence "Chet" Willis (guitar, backing vocals).

“Take De Funk Off, Fly” was written by Bonner, Jones, Beck, Middlebrooks, Pierce, Satchell and Williams.

“Take De Funk Off, Fly” at Amazon

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