No doubt about it, George Clinton and his Parliafunkadelicament Thang are responsible for creating some of the funkiest sounds on earth. In the '70s nobody could touch them, not even the more pop-friendly Ohio Players. But when Clinton's congregation began splintering in the 1980s, the only likely contenders to the funky throne were three brothers from Oklahoma: the Wilsons, better known as the Gap Band. They released their first album in 1977, at the height of Clinton-mania, so naturally it got lost in the shuffle. By their second album, they had established themselves with hits like "Steppin' Out", "Oops, Upside Your Head" and "Burn Rubber". The latter was their first #1 R&B hit, proving their superstar status throughout the R&B world. Their fourth album, appropriately titled THE GAP BAND IV, turned out to be the biggest one yet. This time, they won 3 #1 hits, all funky dance epics: "Early In The Morning" (later a top 20 pop hit for Robert Palmer), "Outstanding" (I dare you not to start swaying at the song's outset), and "You Dropped A Bomb On Me" (the most Clinton-esque song of the bunch). All three have been sampled to death by rappers, but there's no beating the real things, except for maybe Palmer's version of "Early In The Morning", which the Gap Band actually prefers over their own. While George Clinton emphasized the funk, the Wilson brothers (Ronnie, Charlie, and Robert) had a romantic streak in them as well. "Yearning for Your Love" was a delightful change of pace for them on their third album, and proved to the world they were no Parliament-Funkadelic knockoffs. THE GAP BAND IV has its share of slow jams that, inspite of their non-hit status, are still standards of "Midnight Love" shows on R&B radio. "Stay With Me", "Season's No Reason To Change" and "I Can't Get Over You" (which has a moving horn solo by Ronnie Wilson) are ideal songs to get your partner in a loving mood, and if you ever want your lover to come back to you, these tunes should be able to do the trick. With IV, The Gap Band reached the pinnacle of R&B stardom. After this, they wouldn't exactly go down, but they never reached heights like this again. FUNKIN' 'TIL 2000 COMZ is said to still prove that the Wilson brothers can funk up a storm into their golden years. I'd welcome any suggestions for that album, because if it's as flawlessly wonderful as IV, I'll be happy to listen to that one as well.