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Go-Go: The Beat of D.C.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Earlier this week, Washington D.C. music legend Chuck Brown died at age 75. Brown was known as the Godfather of Go-Go: the funky, bluesy sound that was born in, and helped define, African-American life in the city - particularly in the 1970s and '80s. These days, you’re more likely to find it in the suburbs, if you can find it at all. We talk with Natalie Hopkinson, author of the social history “Go-Go Live: The Musical Life and Death of a Chocolate City.”

Guests:

Natalie Hopkinson

Comments [8]

MC from LIC

It seems like a lot of Go-Go's funk sensibility is reminiscent of the early Third Wave Ska and rock-funk outfits like Fishbone. Any cross-pollination there?

May. 18 2012 02:34 PM
Platypus Daron from Astoria, NY

It's really, really hard to separate Go-Go from pure Funk as it actually is a form of heavy Funk. Just look at the work of Larry Blackmon and Cameo. EU basically copied Larry's vocal styles in that song.

May. 18 2012 02:28 PM

So glad you're covering Go-Go! As a Baltimore native and later a D.C. resident this music was part of the soundtrack of my youth. Talk about the '80s film "Good to Go" and the Go-Go versus hip-hop concerts that used to tour, and the Go-Go influence in hip-hop and R&B, like Jill Scott's music.

May. 18 2012 02:26 PM
Platypus Daron from Astoria, NY

EU's "Da Butt" from 1988 is a good example of where a Go-Go song temporarily superceded the rapidly growing rap/hip hop scene. Its' probably the biggest chart success for Go-Go, much aided by the film "School Daze."

May. 18 2012 02:24 PM
Platypus Daron from Astoria, NY

Pound for pound, Chuck Brown's "Bustin' Loose" is still one of the best dance tracks ever for getting wall flowers out on the floor. No one can resist!

May. 18 2012 02:14 PM
Neil from Vero Beach, FL

Talk about trouble funk a bit. Another amazing go-go band out of D.C.!

May. 18 2012 02:13 PM
Soundcheck producer

@Siouxie from Bronx

John wrote a blog post in reaction to Donna Summer's death yesterday - and how her music influenced many generations of musicians to come, particularly electronic musicians. You can read it here:

http://www.wnyc.org/shows/soundcheck/blogs/soundcheck-blog/2012/may/17/rip-donna-summer/

May. 18 2012 02:05 PM
Siouxie from Bronx

All due respect to Chuck Brown, but is Donna Summer going to get some recognition here? Let's hope so because, w/ Giorgio Moroder at the helm, she made put techno on the map. RIP

May. 18 2012 01:45 PM

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