On January 26th, 2013 Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner, the legendary singer and guitar player of the Ohio Players band passed away. We lost a giant of 70′s music, a pioneer whose voice and awesome guitar skills personified rock-funk of the era.
Last week I wrote an article disparaging and mocking the so called “artists” of today’s mainstream music. Today I will reinforce my assertions and explore what separates musicians of Sugarfoot’s caliber from today’s dime a dozen riff raff.
The 70′s is known for many classics and skilled artists, there is a parallel that can been seen with today’s music industry. Disco can be considered an approximation for the horrible auto-tune laden instrument devoid party songs we are bombarded with today. The Ohio Players songs while lyrically simplistic, were musically layered with complex instrumental arrangements, and ingenious riffs and hooks. The unique quality of Sugarfoot’s voice added a whole other realm to the excellent music of the band.
There’s no mainstream artist or band out right now that can even come close to the Ohio Players in terms of style, unique sound and skill. It may appear that I am biased against party songs but nothing could be further from the truth. I just dislike shallow party songs with no redeeming qualities.
After 2009′s coma inducing hit (I’m not sure how it achieve that status) “I Gotta Feeling” by The Black Eyed Peas I thought party songs couldn’t get any worse until I heard the group One Direction.
At this point my faith in mainstream music is so low that it’s depressing how such music could be so popular but when I put on some Ohio Players it instantly changes my attitude to an upbeat and optimistic one as I realize in the era of disco such jewels as “Fire”, “Fopp” and “Skin Tight” were produced.
Maybe some musician out there will hear Sugarfoot’s instantly recognizable voice and blazing guitar and become inspired to break away from the crap we’ve become accustomed to hearing.