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Go-Go is a subgenre of funk music developed in and around Washington, D.C. in the mid and late 1970s. While its musical classification, influences, and origins are debated, Chuck Brown (b. 1934) is regarded as the fundamental force behind the creation of go-go music.

Go-go is defined by continuous, complex, heavy rhythm arrangements focused through two motifs performed on multiple congas, tumbadoras, and rototoms, interspersed with timbale and cowbell parts, driven by heavy-footed drumming and punctuated by crowd call-and-response. A swing rhythm is often implied (if not explicitly stated).

Some go-go bands have seen varying degrees of success nationally and worldwide, but Washington, D.C. remains the preeminent center for the music.

Contents

History

Go-go pioneer Chuck Brown perfoming at the 2005 Duke Ellington Jazz Festival. Go-go pioneer Chuck Brown perfoming at the 2005 Duke Ellington Jazz Festival.

Chuck Brown, a fixture on the Washington music scene with Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers ("We the People", "Ashley's Roachclip"), inspired other local bands in the mid-1970s to incorporate go-go music more and more into their standard live shows. This included the funk-driven Trouble Funk and the rock-influenced E.U., who became the most popular bands on the go-go music scene by the end of the 70s. Brown's 1979 hit single "Bustin' Loose" was the culmination of go-go music's early success. Trouble Funk briefly signed with New Jersey's Sugar Hill Records, where they released the minor hit "Pump Me Up". E.U. scored a national hit when they performed their song "Da Butt" in the motion picture School Daze in 1988.

The next generation of go-go featured The Junk Yard Band and Rare Essence, two enduring bands that gained popularity after go-go had become established. The Junk Yard Band began as a group of children as young as nine years old, performing music on a hodge-podge of discarded items fashioned into musical instruments. They signed and toured with New York's Def Jam Records, where they released the 12-inch single "The Word". Rare Essence, who was mentored at a young age by Chuck Brown, signed briefly with Mercury Records, but both bands' prominence were primarily established in and around Washington and the Mid-Atlantic area.

Many of these bands still perform today, along with successive generations of bands. Go-Go is always performed live at nightclubs, neighborhood parties, and sometimes with famous singers. Go-Go initially spread through the distribution of free cassette tapes, and is now found locally in the Maryland, Washington D.C., and Virginia area for sale on CDs.

Go-go clubs sometimes acquired a reputation for violence, and in some areas of Washington, clubs are not permitted to play go-go or have go-go bands appear. One well-publicized venue with trouble was Club U, located inside a DC government building at the corner of 14th Street NW and U Street NW, where a murder and other incidents happened before the club was closed.[1]

Popular go-go bands and songs

First generation

  • Chuck Brown ("Bustin Loose," "That'll Work," "Money")
  • E.U. (Experience Unlimited) ("Da Butt," "EU Freeze," "Future Funk")
  • Trouble Funk ("Pump Me Up," "Drop the Bomb," "E Flat Boogie")
  • Little Benny and the Masters ("Who came to boogie")

Second generation

  • Backyard Band ("91 Dope Jam", "Unibomber", "Skillet", "Thug Passion", "Keep it Gangsta", "Pretty Girls", "Fakin Like")
  • Junk Yard Band ("Sardines," "Rough it Off," "Go Hard")
  • Northeast Groovers ("The Rumble," "Off the Muscle," "The Water")
  • Rare Essence ("Lock It," "Work the Walls," "Body Moves," "Overnight Scenario")

Hybrid Go-go and R&B bands

  • After Hours Band
  • Da Measures Band/DrasticMeasuresBand
  • Familiar Faces
  • L!SSEN Band
  • Soul Patrol
  • Suttle Thought

External links


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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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