The Gap Band II

The Gap Band

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The Gap Band II Review

by Alex Henderson

The Gap Band II has often been described as the Wilson Brothers' second album, but truth be told, it was their fourth. However, the vast majority of fans that they acquired with 1979's The Gap Band never heard the little-known albums they had recorded in 1974 and 1975. So even though that 1979 breakthrough wasn't really their debut album, it was the first Gap Band album that enjoyed a great deal of attention -- arguably, that self-titled album was to the Wilson Brothers what Meet the Beatles was to John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. And with the gold The Gap Band II, they continued to forge ahead commercially and creatively. Produced by Lonnie Simmons, this excellent album boasts five-star funk gems like "Party Lights," "Steppin' (Out)," "Who Do You Call," and the Parliament-minded hit "I Don't Believe You Want to Get Up and Dance (Oops)." George Clinton and the Ohio Players are both strong influences on the funk tracks, while Earth, Wind & Fire's influence asserts itself on the smooth quiet storm slow jam "No Hiding Place." But the Gap Band never sounds like it is going out of its way to emulate any of its influences; in fact, the Wilson Brothers are recognizable and distinctive regardless of who is influencing a particular song. Even when they make a surprising, totally unexpected detour into pop/rock/soft rock on "The Boys Are Back in Town," they're recognizable as the Gap Band. Not to be confused with the Thin Lizzy smash, this congenial tune wouldn't have been out of place on a Billy Joel, Elton John, or Chicago album. But R&B, not pop/rock, was the Gap Band's forte, and Gap Band II is a funk/soul album first and foremost. It is also among the Wilson Brothers' most essential releases.

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