Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: We recently had the Gap Band at our local Fall Fest, the Big Spring Jam in Huntsville, Alabama.

I was telling my wife and son that I recall at one time there being a group called Somebody (?) and the Gap Band, though I cannot for the life of me recall the name of that Somebody.

While I distinctly remember there was a group in the '70s with an artist backed by the Gap Band, I do not know if this was the same Gap Band that became popular.

In searching the Internet I could only find references to Gap Band members Charlie and Ronnie Wilson. They were the ones who had a big hit with “You dropped a Bomb on Me.”

Do you know the name of that mysterious Somebody who lead the Gap Band in the '70s?
—Chris Phillips, Huntsville, Ala.

DEAR CHRIS: Whether or not there is a gap in your memory is not clear.

What you do not indicate is the source of your recollection, which, I realize, you may also not recall.

If it were something you heard on a radio station, or read, it may have merely referred to the group as Charles Wilson and the Gap Band because Charlie has always been their leader.

Even before their lead singers were named on the record labels, dee jays and writers frequently credited Diana Ross and the Supremes, Eric Burdon and the Animals, and others. The media may have given Charlie Wilson similar credit.

Apart from that possibility, I find no examples of the three brothers — Charlie, Ronnie and Robert Wilson — being billed as anything other than the Gap Band.

It's a bit of a stretch, but for the record, none of your clues point toward Gary Puckett and the Union Gap.

DEAR JERRY: In the mid-'50s, my father bought a reel-to-reel tape recorder, which was not something found in many homes until four or five years later.

Putting it to good use, I taped live TV appearances of Elvis, Buddy Holly, Carl Perkins, and later the Beatles, Stones, and other pop stars.

Though long since retired to the attic, I still have boxes of these tapes. They may be too brittle to play, but before I even think about it, are any of these performances of any value?
—Charles Branford, Evansville, Ind.

DEAR CHARLES: Since Melvin E. Daniel, of Holiday, Fla., asks pretty much the same question, let me inform you both that virtually every network appearance by anyone of significance has already been issued. Most can be had on audio, and many are available on video — especially the bigger name acts.

A possible exception may be something recorded live — no lip sync — from a local channel. One legendary example would be a January '55 afternoon “TV Dance Party,” broadcast in the Midland-Odessa (Texas) market.

Many sources report the featured up-and-comers that day to be Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley.

Anyone who ever comes up with a recording of that show will probably be offered a blank check.

DEAR JERRY: Thank you for answering my question about Gypsy Jazz, and for the informative story about Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli.

I did find the CD you mentioned by Harmonious Wail, and they are terrific! Now I really understand what Gypsy Jazz is, as they really make it come alive!
—Dolores McMichael, Auburndale, Fla.

DEAR DOLORES: As much as we truly appreciate “thank you” notes, we don't usually run them in the column.

However, your reaction to the Harmonious Wail CD may be of great interest to others interested in Gypsy Swing and Gypsy Jazz.

Now it is I who thank you, this being the week for such things!

IZ ZAT SO? Sometimes the origin of a name can be interesting, and even informative.

In their hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Wilson brothers chose Gap as the name of their band because of three neighborhood streets.

Greenwood, which runs north and south, intersects with east-west streets Archer and Pine, thus inspiring their original name, Greenwood Archer Pine Band.

Finding that too much of a mouthful, they shortened it first to G.A.P. Band, then to Gap Band.

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