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Try a Little Tenderness

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Album Review

After being on nearly a two-year hiatus, the veteran R&B/funk aggregate signed with the now-defunct Boardwalk Records after being with Mercury for seven years and a brief stay with Arista. Hoping to jumpstart their once prosperous status, the Ohio Players recorded two Otis Redding classics: "Try a Little Tenderness" and "Sittin' on the Dock of Bay." Reduced to a quartet on this recording, they lay their patented style on the former. Beginning as a soulful ballad, the track kicks into high gear with Leroy "Sugar" Bonner's trademark baritone complemented by horns and a groovin' bassline. The single only managed to reach the number 40 position on the Billboard R&B charts after ten weeks, but it was truly deserving of a better outing. "Sittin' on the Dock of Bay" was never released. The Ohio Players did not present anything new on this single; this is probably more a tribute to Redding. There are also two other featured singles that were promoted by the label: "Sometimes I Cry" and "Skinny." The former is a slow, drifting song with a twist of country & western that is unlike any other Ohio Players recording; the single never charted. The latter, the title track, is a funky composition driven by Bonner's scratch baritone and a delayed, groovin' bassline; it posted a #46 rating after ten weeks.


Formed: 1959 in Dayton, OH

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

With their slinky, horn-powered grooves, impeccable musicianship, and eye-popping album covers, the Ohio Players were among the top funk bands of the mid-'70s. Emerging from the musical hotbed of Dayton in 1959, the group was originally dubbed the Ohio Untouchables, and initially comprised singer/guitarist Robert Ward, bassist Marshall "Rock" Jones, saxophonist/guitarist Clarence "Satch" Satchell, drummer Cornelius Johnson, and trumpeter/trombonist Ralph "Pee Wee" Middlebrooks. In late 1961, a relative...
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