The Gap Band

The 12" Collection & More

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Although they are best known as funk band, the Gap Band was successfully marketed to a disco audience during their heyday via 12" remixes of their songs. Most of these versions were confined to the discotheques, but this has been remedied with the release of The 12" Collection and More. This handy volume allows casual Gap Band fans get a new perspective on this group's grasp of the groove by compiling five 12" remixes and throwing in three album-length long versions to flesh the set out. The 12" versions reveal a band that approached the remix of a song as a method of redefining it: "Outstanding" cranks up the percussion to show off the hidden danceable edge to that slow jam, and "Early in the Morning" pushes the interplay between rhythm guitar and bass to the song's forefront and proves that the group's ability to craft complex, hypnotic grooves was just as important to their success as their knack for capitalizing on then-current soul music trends. However, the most impressive of the 12" mixes is "You Dropped a Bomb on Me," which transforms the original tune into a 13-minute epic, complete with new percussion breaks and a lengthy instrumental break featuring war-battle sound effects overdubbed atop the song's churning, synth bass groove. The full-length album versions aren't as revelatory as the 12" mixes, but fit in with them nicely: the highlight in this arena is the eight-plus minutes of "I Don't Believe You Want to Get up and Dance (Oops!)," which shows off the relentlessness of the song's hooks (the "oops, upside your head" chant, some surprising acoustic guitar riffs) to their fullest. The 12" Collection could have added a few more rarities (the non-sound effects version of "Beep a Freak" and the legendary "munchkin version" of "Jam the Motha" are missing in action) but this collection remains a solid portrait of the Gap Band's gifts in the 12" arena. In the end, The 12" Collection and More will be of greater interest to the devoted fan than a casual listener, but it makes a great supplement to a greatest hits collection for those who want to go beyond the hits.

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