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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Chuck Brown Go-Go

This past Saturday April 2 I was able to finally see longtime Washington DC music scene fixture Chuck Brown..the so-called "father of go-go".. go-go is considered washington dc's own contribution to music..i've wanted to check him out a for a long time.... he performed at the warner theatre and as part of the volunteer usher program i got to check it out...

never seen such a black show in my life!.. there must have been 10 white people in the crowd... out of i estimate approximately 1750-2000... refreshing to go to a predominantly black show....its so rare to interact with black people in this town... one funny note: when two of the first ladies walked in i told them "the gentleman at the foot of the second aisle will direct you to your seats...".. the woman turns to me and asks "the white guy?"... for some reason that cracked me up..

rarely have i seen a crowd as pumped up for a show... those in attendance where largely chuck brown devotees... singing and dancing along to most every word...there was a ton of energy...

i still don't get what the heck go-go is... from what i could tell its basically a mixture of blues-soul-rock'n'roll-jazz with the notable variant of bongos on which a klip-klop type rhythm is hammered out..still if you took away the bongos it sounds pretty much like soul music to me...even in dc when newspapers describe chuck brown they limit themselves to he is the "godfather of go-go" but they never describe what go-go is.. now if you ask 20 white people what go-go is they will tell you they don't know...

chuck brown is getting up there in years but like many musicians these days he seems to be in great shape... there is definetly a sort-a revolution going on as far as aging... old people no longer seem to act that old! i think i recently heard the phrase "60 is the new 40" and it sure seems true.. through a combination of improved health care, nutrition and exercise it seems that people aren't aging the way they used to in the US...(i take some personal comfort in this..)

chuck brown, from what i gather, played his classics including "bustin loose" and a song about money where he kept repeating mullah.....he began the show with a very bluesy "stormy monday" (the song with the "..eagle flies on friday but tuesday's just as bad.." line)..he also played a song with a "wind me up chuck" chorus for which his web site is named..

the concert promoter got the pricing wrong on this show..$46.50 for any ticket (in other words front row was $46.50 as was upper balcony).. well $46.50 is just too much for most people and this is why the show did not sell out....i think they would have been better off with at least a two tiered pricing system and balcony tickets at $29.99

the show had a sorta urban black party atmosphere... people drinking like fishes...definetly a good time..

here is the wikipedia entry on go-go

chuck brown's official site is here

an NPR story on chuck brown and go-go is here

an interesting article on chuck brown is here

for a history of go-go go here

an article on the violence that became part and parcel of the go go scene (and largely explains its inability to break out) here

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