Friday, February 01, 2013
You can learn a lot from studying the masters, and today's music is built on the foundations of the past. Real funk fans are still studying the output of key groups from the 1970's - Kool and the Gang, Tower of Power, Parliament/Funkadelic, Earth Wind & Fire and, of course, the Ohio Players. When I was playing trombone in the Mystic Knights band during my college years, "Skin Tight" by the Ohio Players was one tune we covered on every gig. It always got the crowd dancing. And "Funky Worm," with its totally weird Moog synthesizer licks, is still being sampled by heaps of hip-hop artists. The Ohio Players hit the airwaves with "Fire," "Love Rollercoaster" and "O-H-I-O," all crazed funk explosions. I loved the fact that these fellas were from Dayton OH, not generally thought of as a hot-bed of acid funk. The OPs could play!
Well, the leader of the wild and crazy OPs has shuffled off this mortal coil. Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner sported a massive 'fro back in the mid-70's (you couldn't even see his eyes through the 'doo). He was fond of the double-necked electric guitar. He could sing his ass off. I think Sugarfoot ranks with George Clinton; maybe they came from a different planet.
Sugar was 69 years old and lost his battle with cancer. We won't see the likes of him again. Rest in peace, man.