"New Sound,Same Gap Band"
M. Spencer | Stockbridge, GA by way of D.C. | 02/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 1983 the Gap Band released their first album without producer Lonnie Simmons and from the looks of thing the time was well worth spent. With Ronnie now taking over the producer reigns the Gap Band display a slightly different sound but still keeping the funk alive. On this album you can really see where Aaron Hall got his influence from and also wher Charlie Wilson got his. The first song "Shake A Leg" is a well arranged funk number with its nice horn section and Charlie's Stevie Wonder like vocals. The second song "I'm Ready (If Your Ready) with its smooth lead vocal by Charlie and hanclaps throughout the song should have been a major hit but still recieved a lot of airplay in the D.C. area when I was kid back in the early 80's. Although their were no number one singles on this album(first time in two years) "Party Train" still snuck it way in the top ten on the r&b charts. The first ballad off the album "You're My Everything" is good but is not one of their best ballads, still a good listen. The reggae inflenced "Jammin In America" is okay but is a little to 80's sounding for me with all the synthensizers. Charlie Wilson displays a great vocal on the touching "Smile" but again is overly synthensized(thank goodness its only 3 minutes 'cause who knows where they have took this). The hit "Party Train" is the highlight of the album and like many of their hits features some superb drumming from Raymond "Moon" Calhoun. After two more funk numbers "Jam The Motha" and "I Expect More From You" things slow down a little for "Your Something Special" which features a change of pace with a rare lead vocal from brother Ronnie. The closer "Someday" an emotional tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. follows Stevie Wonder's(who also helps out on backgound vocals and harmonica) "Happy Birthday" theme three years earlier fom his Hotter Than July Lp and like his Lp also ends the album on a high note with a great message. Ronnie really shows off his production skills but would never again duplicate this as would the Wilson brothers ability to create such a excellent album, which was also their last album on Mercury/Total Experience before moving over to Total Experience exclusively on the next album. Great way to end their tenure on Mercury and although they were still a great group throught the 80' while having some hits, this was truly the last of the great roman numeral Gap Band Albums. I originally recieved this album on tape during the Christmas of 1983 I still had to run and get the cd reissue with its excellent remastering years later. And I'm glad I did purchase this cd because as I write this review its currently going for [...](Ouch!), considering I originally purchase this cd for [...] in 1997 and again two months ago for [...] here on amazon.com. Great album if you can find it for a reasonable price, but definitely not worth [...]."
Much Preferred Follow Up
Andre' S Grindle | Bangor,ME. | 09/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The SONGS on "V" (as opposed to grooves) are far more
interesting that what it followed up."Shake A Leg","Party Train"
and "Jammin' In America" are movers of the first degree while
"Smile" far supersedes the slow ballads on previous albums.The
whole affair closes with a poignant tribute to MLK in the
Stevie Wonder-inspired "Someday We'll All Be free",featuring that artist in fact.Recommneded over "IV" in EVERY respect!"