Last week was AOR-sex songs. I couldn't help but remember my youthful shopping days in record stores (you remember those, don't you?) and the discovery of the Ohio Players album covers. Like this one . . .
While such an album photo might be considered way too sexist today, at the time (mid- to late-1970's) what these and their other album covers did, at least for this rural-living white boy, was teach us about the beauty of the African-American woman. I would probably be a bit concerned about some of the imagery should something like this happen to pop up on a CD cover of a major artist, but at the time there was something liberating and radical about this. This is "Black is Beautiful" taken to an erotic extreme; it was also the kind of education that was necessary for many a young male, black and white, to have.
The good thing is, they had some awesome music, too! The Red Hot Chili Peppers covered this one, "Love Roller Coaster":
They seemed to channel Stevie Wonder a lot musically, even as they channeled James Brown and P-Funk lyrically. This song, "Skin Tight", reminds me of some of Wonder's best work, with the lyrical directness of George Clinton.
Their best-known song was, and remains, "Fire", and with good reason. It's just about as funky and danceable as they come.