Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Gap Band - Party Train

Originally called the Greenwood, Archer and Pine Street Band, after their neighborhood in Tulsa, the Gap Band produced some of the catchiest funk this side of Rick James.  The band was centered around three brothers -- Charlie, Ronnie and Robert Wilson, who started playing music in the late 1960's.  They eventually moved to LA, and released their first album in 1974.  However, it wasn't until the early 1980's that the band really took off.

"Party Train" is from 1983's Gap Band 5: Jammin', the last of 4 straight gold or platinum albums for the band. While the song peaked at #3 on the R&B charts, it surprisingly did not break the top 100 on the Billboard pop charts.  The album peaked at #28, although it did hit #2 on the R&B album charts.

The video is classic Gap Band -- flashy, exuberant and fun.  Yes, the Wilsons loved their cowboy hats and boots (they were, after all, from Tulsa).  However, the video is just a crazy, funky California beach scene.  With the exception of Charlie Wilson's ill-advised (really small) bathing suit, this clip is a winner.  And there is even dancing with roller skates (briefly, around 4:37).

Although the Gap Band's popularity declined after the 1980's, they continued to perform until Robert Wilson's untimely death from a heart attack in 2010.

A rarer Gap Band classic, "Burn Rubber on Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)" was posted on ERV in January 2014.