Last night, we got the chance to check out Chuck Brown–the “Godfather of Go Go music”–at NYC’s Joe’s Pub; Brown was there to promote next week’s We’re About the Business, his first CD of new material in several decades.
For those of you who don’t know what Go Go is, take your typical funk song, slow the tempo down about half, and add a lot more audience call-and-response. It originated in Washington D.C. (yes, this is my second post about D.C. today. One guess where I went to college) but never expanded beyond the city, which is a shame because it’s incredibly danceable and, if last night’s show was any indication, rowdy fun as all hell. People were dancing on the chairs at Joe’s Pub (and if you know anything about Joe’s Pub, it’s that people do NOT dance there–instead, they usually sit, sip Campari, and hold out their hands in a vague “there would be a cigarette here were it not illegal to smoke” hand motion.)! Just imagine the guy pictured above wearing all black doing a funky version of “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” and having everyone in the place loudly shout back, “Do wop do wop do wop do wop do wop do wop do wop do waaaaa” (We counted the wops.). It’s that kind of music. Below are two classic tracks–including “Bustin’ Loose,” which was sampled in a slightly ridiculous/slightly awesome hit song from 2002. You’ll know the one.