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Chuck Brown Day

Godfather of Go Go

 
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Louis "Chuck" Brown (August 22, 1936 May 16, 2012)

Musician, community hero

If you're from DC or spent time there, you KNOW Chuck Brown .

If not, maybe not.

He was an institution in the city, didn't travel or tour much by choice, and was a leader in his community.

"Purists" might say that it's not jazz so why is this on Jazz on the Tube?

Of course, it's not jazz, it's Go Go.

But listen...to the brass...to the solos...to his guitar riffs...to the tunes Brown includes in his medley.

The reality is Brown was a jazz musician and this is how he reached people and in the process probably put more "jazz' Into his community than any hundred traditional trios.

Note that around the 10 minute mark he has the crowd chanting "I'm not afraid, I'm not afraid" That's community healing which is what the music is all about.

- Jazz on the Tube




Chuck Brown, 'Godfather of go-go', dies aged 75
Singer famous for 1979 hit Bustin' Loose was a hugely influential figure on the Washington DC music scene

Chuck Brown, leader of Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers, who was widely known as "The Godfather of go-go", has died aged 75.

The singer is perhaps best remembered for his 1979 US hit Bustin' Loose (Part 1), which was later sampled by the rapper Nelly on Hot in Herre.

Brown was a hugely influential figure on the Washington DC music scene. After his death on Wednesday, following his hospitalisation for pneumonia, the Washington Post reported that his go-go anthems could be heard all over the city as hundreds gathered at the Soul Factory church and on the street that was named Chuck Brown Way in 2009.

He was also known to readers of crime novelist George P Pelecanos, who has often name-checked Brown in his books.

Go-go is a style of music related to funk, filled with heavy percussion, extended jams and call-and-response refrains. Considered an early forerunner of hip-hop, the sound has remained peculiarly local to Washington DC since its early 70s development. Brown himself said it got its name because "the music just goes and goes". The Soul Searchers are credited with inspiring several other local acts such as Trouble Funk.

Brown's other celebrated songs include We Need Some Money and It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Don't Got That Go-Go Swing), as well as 2007's Block Party, when the singer made a comeback on the R&B charts. But his biggest hit remains Bustin' Loose. In 2001 he said: "It was the one record I had so much confidence in. I messed with it for two years, wrote a hundred lines of lyrics and only ended up using two lines."

Brown and his band were also known for live shows that could last three hours or more, and while Brown performed less frequently in his final years, he still played gigs. "I'm not retired because I'm not tired. I'm still getting hired, and I'm still inspired," he said in 2006. "As long as I can walk up on that stage, I want to make people happy. I want to make people dance."

2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

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