The Gap Band ‎- 1980 – Gap Band III

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When Gap Band III came out in 1980, the Wilson Brothers were widely regarded as true heavyweights in the funk field. Many funk experts will tell you that creatively, they were right up there with the likes of Cameo, Rick James, the Isley Brothers, and the Bar-Kays in the early ’80s. Over the years, The Gap Band III (which was the group’s fifth album, not its third) has often been described as the ultimate Gap Band album — and it’s hard to disagree with that assertion.

Produced by Lonnie Simmons, this exceptional album boasts three of the Wilson Brothers’ biggest radio hits: “Burn Rubber on Me” (a funk classic), the Parliament-minded “Humpin’” and the quiet storm slow jam “Yearning for Your Love“. But The Gap Band III is also full of gems that weren’t big radio hits, including “Gash Gash Gash” (another funk classic), the perky, Earth, Wind & Fire-ish “Are You Living” and the ballad “Nothin’ Comes to Sleepers“.

There isn’t a dull moment on The Gap Band III, which is excellent from start to finish and is essential listening for funk addicts.

Tracks
A1 When I Look In Your Eyes 4:58
A2 Yearning For Your Love 5:41
A3 Burn Rubber On Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me) 5:16
A4 Nothin’ Comes To Sleepers 5:34
B1 Are You Living 4:24
B2 Sweet Caroline 3:21
B3 Humpin’ 5:06
B4 The Way 4:46
B5 Gash Gash Gash 5:18

By Daryl Easlea

Although now principally remembered for their party anthem I Don’t Believe You Want to Get Up and Dance – known by its colloquial title Oops Upside Your Head – The Gap Band were a marvellous addition to the US 70s funk scene. Originating from Tulsa, the brothers Wilson – Charlie, Ronnie and Robert – were raised in the church and were made to learn music from an early age. Their early outfit, the Greenwood, Archer and Pine Street Band soon abbreviated its name to the more straightforward Gap Band, and their multi-instrumental approach made them one of the most exciting groups of the era.

Signing to Mercury in 1979, and working with long-time mentor Lonnie Simmons, The Gap Band III (actually their fifth album) was their most complete offering to date, bringing together their strident funk, party jams and sensual ballads.

Their US R&B number one single Burn Rubber on Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me) arrives amid the screech of tyres. High and mighty, it is probably the single greatest Gap Band song, with its dirty synth bass – played by Cavin Yarbrough of Yarbrough and Peoples’ fame – and climatic hand-claps. It features the ultimate example of Charlie Wilson’s deep, mannered funk vocal style.

If Oops had established a template for them, then Humpin’ and the improbably titled Gash Gash Gash found them mining this seam even further, with loose raps over squelchy party anthems, complete with Charlie’s trademark chuckle. When I Look in Your Eyes is similar to Earth, Wind & Fire of the era, while Yearning for Your Love emphases the sweet ballad side of the group. An almost otherworldly listen, it manages simultaneously to be tremendously mellow yet somehow slightly unsettling.

By 1980 The Gap Band were much in demand – for example, Charlie and Robert provided backing vocals for Stevie Wonder’s I Ain’t Gonna Stand for It that year. Their good-time, propulsive groove commercialised P-Funk and paved the way for the later commercial period of acts such as Cameo. It was also a key influence on later New Jack Swing artists.

If you want to go beyond the hits, The Gap Band III is the best place to start.

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16 Comments
  • Monky56
    Posted at 19:49h, 11 November 2019 Reply

    What a powerful band. This is what you call music.

  • Gamer
    Posted at 19:53h, 11 November 2019 Reply

    Nothing but great funky music for all ride that funk Baby

  • Dragon
    Posted at 20:12h, 11 November 2019 Reply

    Brings back memories from the 80’s, running around with my friends.

  • aJAX
    Posted at 12:42h, 12 November 2019 Reply

    Finally had time to listen to the tracks. One word: Fantastic!

  • Ian Peters
    Posted at 16:02h, 12 November 2019 Reply

    Great great LP – with “When I look in your eyes” being one of my favourites from any LP by the band. And a major influence on the male vocal sound of 90s RnB. Essential stuff indeed.

  • Luke
    Posted at 22:21h, 12 November 2019 Reply

    back in the dayz!! this was crazy and serious funk grew up into,

  • pavlos
    Posted at 19:43h, 13 November 2019 Reply

    This is when real talent was around.

  • Luiz
    Posted at 20:05h, 13 November 2019 Reply

    still gets my head and shoulders movin’

  • Jill
    Posted at 13:05h, 14 November 2019 Reply

    This is a very nice album! Thank you as always for your hard work and passion for great funk music.

  • cAGE
    Posted at 11:03h, 15 November 2019 Reply

    thanks gap band for making a classic

  • Kirk
    Posted at 11:14h, 15 November 2019 Reply

    Still jamming these in.

  • Moss
    Posted at 18:57h, 15 November 2019 Reply

    What’s amazing is that still sounds exactly the same as it did back then.

  • Lataya
    Posted at 18:58h, 15 November 2019 Reply

    So funky and groovy with a mellow taste. So outstanding.

  • rich
    Posted at 01:05h, 17 November 2019 Reply

    thank you, nikos

  • MisterLong
    Posted at 09:04h, 17 November 2019 Reply

    Excellent LP and band.

  • Aston
    Posted at 10:38h, 19 November 2019 Reply

    Quality as ever from The Gap Band. The group lived in the groove!

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