Many Gap Band fans think that 1979's The Gap Band was the Wilson Brothers' first album, but, in fact, it was their third. Before becoming well-known, they recorded 1974's Magician's Holiday for Shelter and 1977's The Gap Band (which shouldn't be confused with this album, although both are self-titled) for Tattoo. However, this release marked several firsts for the Gap Band -- it was their first album for Mercury, their first collaboration with producer Lonnie Simmons, and the first Gap Band album that was commercially successful. The funk gems "Shake" and "Open Up Your Mind (Wide)" became the Wilson Brothers' first hit singles, earning them a sizable following. And for the first time, the Wilson Brothers provided an album that was generally excellent instead of merely competent. This LP is, without question, stronger and more consistent than the Gap Band's previous albums of 1974 and 1977. The above-mentioned hits established the Gap Band as funk heavyweights, and yet not everything on this album is hardcore funk -- equally appealing are tracks that range from the hypnotic disco number "Baby Baba Boogie" and the soul ballad "You Can Count on Me" to the jazzy quiet storm item "Messin' With My Mind." Now, here's the ironic part: As strong as this album is, it isn't as essential as the Wilson Brothers' next three albums. The Gap Band is impressive, but 1979's Gap Band II, 1980's Gap Band III, and 1982's Gap Band IV are even more impressive. Nonetheless, this album was definitely a major step forward for the Gap Band -- both creatively and commercially.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson