Ohio Players, Gold

The best of their work for a general audience, not least of which for being one of their few album covers you can actually show in public (that is, if your mother's fairly open minded, or if she previously appeared in Playboy). Most of the big hits made it — one glaring exception to be noted — like "Love Rollercoaster," "Skin Tight" and "Fire," but there are also two decent new tracks ("Feel The Beat (Everybody Disco)" and the disordered but earnest "Only A Child Can Love") and a couple excellent album cuts, notably "Far East Mississippi," which fully captures the sweat and seamy menace after dark of the 1970s Deep South like no other song. Plus, by being a mid-career compilation, they managed to avoid including the crap the band churned out after it. The funk is fabulous and the beat is solid, but it loses a fifth star for two omissions: "O-H-I-O," from Angel immediately following, so we'll partially forgive that, but I can't abide them failing to add "Funky Worm." ("Jive Turkey," which is included, is zippy but no comparison.) After all, if they really did to Ester Cordet what rumour says they did, surely that reputation would have induced Westbound sniveling in fear to negotiate its inclusion. (Content: mild adult themes.)