Friday, April 20, 2007

Chuck Brown and The Soul Searchers

Chuck Brown is to Go-Go music as the 4th duke of sandwich is to modern eating trends. What is Go-Go music you ask? Well Go-Go is a variation of Funk music developed in Washington DC by none other than Mr. Chuck Brown. The beats are typically laid back in a 4/4 signature with conga percussion beside a regular drum set. Sometimes it verges on a reggae-like or calypso percussion because of the syncopation. Also! The songs tend to bleed into one another so as to keep people shakin' they asses. Shows run very long because the artists work an element of jazz in there too, noodling around whatever foundation the song has laid down. Lyrics are sparse too, smidgeoned between keyboards and horns they are typically ad-libbed, call and response or just a repeated phrase.

Interestingly, because the music focuses on the live it seems like there are a lot of references to popular culture thrown in for almost no reason at all. For example when I saw Chuck Brown last night at Joe's Pub he worked in the Godfather theme as well as the Woody Woodpecker theme. and it was clear that the band and he had practiced it and worked it in beforehand because the three brass and two keyboardists all flowed through it perfectly. An intriguing bit of post-modern appropriation if you ask me. I would imagine theres a little bit of re-appropriation in the genre as well, but none of the songs last night "sampled", if you will, any tunes that could be poignantly deconstructed and I'm not familiar enough with live performances of Go-Go to say one way or the other.

Or this is just the last vestiges of my academic self, having crystallized into a kidney stone like obstruction, being pissed out onto this webpage. How many licks to the center of self-deprecation? one. Ah ta-hooo. Ah Three. The world may never know.

Brown basically just took his funk band in the 70s and completely and decisively created a new genre that people could dance to for a solid two hours straight. Thats right, fuck Pilates and swishy, neon track suits (okay, those can stay). Head to the 9:30 Club in DC which he apparently plays on a semi-regular basis and you'll see what I'm talking about.

He also has a new album coming out soon which apparently has some hip-hop influences on it. (he did have his daughter come on stage and do a little rappin' which sounded great) All in all imagine Go-Go as a kind of Funk paella that you can put anything delicious in and it'll taste just fine.

Heres Chuck Brown's big hit "bustin' Loose" from the album of the same title.

and another Go-Go band called Rare Essence for your listening pleasure

Also: get a load of Chuck Brown he is AMAZING!!!!


Ryan said...

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