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The Godfather is Back: Chuck Brown's New Tunes

"Chuck Baby," the catchiest tune on Chuck Brown's new album, "We're About the Business," features a guest vocal by KK, the daughter of the Godfather of Go-Go, in which she pays tribute to the one man other than Marion Barry who has managed to bridge the enormous generation gap on the streets of Washington.

KK, like her septuagenarian father, captures the beat of the city, the disaffection of all too many D.C. kids and the enduring appeal of the District's greatest contribution to pop music history--Chuck Brown, the man who put a vaguely Latin beat together with a Top 40 cover band's love of great melody and a churchman's instinctive love of the magic of call and response. The result was Brown's burst of genius, go-go, which amazingly survives as a uniquely Washingtonian music scene. Go-go is not just a particular beat, but a way of spending the night, a tradition that continues despite all manner of changes in musical taste and in the endless scrapping and feuding of inner-city neighborhoods.

But for the 70s hit "Bustin' Loose," Chuck Brown has remained largely a local taste. He has cult followings in Japan and Europe, and there are plenty of Americans who recognize what he has done, but he has never broken through to the U.S. pop audience the way he was expected to back in the disco era. The reason likely has much to do with the fact that go-go is as much a social phenomenon, a gathering of a community, as it is a musical genre. Going to the go-go is simply a very different experience from listening to the music that Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers created. It's all about the fact that the music does not stop, that the band and the crowd become one in an all-night escape from the pressures of the street. So when Brown's music is confined to a studio and put on a disc and divided up into separate cuts, something big is lost. The beat stops, which simply does not happen in real go-go.

Be that as it may, Brown's new disc has some splendid stuff on it, a couple of typical Brown go-go dance tunes, and a go-go rendition of the Theme from The Godfather that has instant classic written all over it--like his Woody Woodpecker theme years back, it's unashamedly sweet yet gritty enough to capture hearts across the generations.

On the jump: My 1994 profile of Chuck Brown for the Post's Sunday Arts section. Also, an audio interview with Brown from Joe's Pub in New York is here.

Bygone days: There was a beat that stuck in the little boy's head. He carried it with him, around town, on the streetcar and in the shower back home in "the country" -- Fairmont Heights, just over the District line in Prince George's. The beat never changed: a gospel rhythm he heard Sunday mornings, the regular thud of the bass drum, a clash of the cymbals, accented by a snare's pop. Krosh, pop, krosh, pop.

Chuck Brown, 8 years old, fresh up from North Carolina, his parents having traded migrant farm life for the capital city, ran with the other kids, selling the Washington Times-Herald and the Pittsburgh Courier (the great black weekly) in front of the Greyhound station downtown. And the beat always going in his mind. He stayed downtown until dark, and beyond. Stayed till the cops came and shooed him home. In those days, the police actually hauled kids off the streets after 10.

He shined shoes down near the Navy Yard, buffed them to satisfy a drill sergeant. Later, running with the bigger kids, he stationed himself outside the country-western joint across from the bus terminal, where there were famous shoes to be polished -- Hank Williams, Les Paul. Chuck heard their music leaking out the door, and he wrapped that music around his beat.

Chuck sang and played some piano then, joining his harmonica-blowing mother in song at Mount Zion Church in Fairmont Heights. He studied with Sister Louise Murray, the piano teacher who opened her star student's ears, dragging him along to Philadelphia church-music conventions.

In 1941, when the world was blowing up, word came over the radio about Pearl Harbor. "Mama made me get up under the bed," Brown remembers. "It was thousands of miles away and I looked out to the window, looking for the bombs."

Krosh, pop, krosh, pop. Straight-ahead gospel, no funk yet, rice without the beans. The missing ingredient was Grover Washington's mellow '70s number, "Mr. Magic," a gift on vinyl. It featured an upbeat that juiced the rhythm Brown had kept going since boyhood. He transferred the upbeat to a conga drum, syncopated the whole sequence, and created go-go.

Not girls in white boots dancing in cages, but a music that would separate first Brown and then a generation of D.C. bands from the numbing sameness of the cabaret scene. Brown took those cabaret Top 40 covers and pumped them up with James Brown-style funk and layers of African-style percussion. To make the shows livelier, his band didn't pause between songs; the result was a nonstop party groove that was distinctively D.C. Go-go was as unrelenting as the beat in Chuck Brown's head. Other bands -- Trouble Funk and E.U. among them -- picked up the beat, and by the time Brown scored a national hit with "Bustin' Loose" in 1979, the Capital City had spawned a new kind of black music.

Brown's creation became a point of pride ("The D.C. Sound"), frustration (never quite breaking out beyond the city) and failure (the music was unfairly blamed for drug trade violence of the late '80s). Through two decades, as dance music thumped off in other directions, Brown always managed to keep his beat going. There were generational strains, kids who preferred to play the harsh rap that Brown calls "noise," but for a 59-year-old, he still commands extraordinary loyalty from young musicians.

Even now, Brown's nonstop beat -- boom-pa-chukka-boom-chuk -- is the rhythm track of a city. Little kids bang it out on plastic drums on F Street NW and in front of D.C. General Hospital. Two UDC students, one from Northeast and one from Nigeria, play it on a newspaper box and a pile of textbooks on the college campus. And over at the Stouffer Concourse Hotel in Crystal City, Chuck Brown, just gearing up at 1:45 on this particular Sunday morning, plays it for 600 kids, some of whom haven't a clue that the man they are hearing is the inventor, the master, the Godfather of Go-Go.

Out of His Element

Go-go nights: A dozen large, thick men dressed in black patrol the dance floor, occasionally muttering commands into their headset microphones. Everyone in the room has been frisked and been passed through a metal detector. You can't be sure enough, even in the burbs, even in a good hotel, far from streets where shots ring out so often that mothers must remind their children to stay clear of the windows.

The go-gos, the all-night dances that attract thousands of area kids along with the occasional itchy-fingered executioner, became a convenient scapegoat in the late '80s. Shootings had a way of happening near go-gos, as they would later explode near schools and pools. In fact, wherever large numbers of young people hung out. No matter: Clubs and public halls where the go-gos flourished were hit with curfews and closings. Some lost liquor licenses. Cops were under pressure to do something, anything.

Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers watched night after night from the bandstand while the crews posed, cocked and ready. Dangerous scene. One night in '92, at Kilimanjaro in Adams-Morgan, right in front of Brown, a man walked in and blew away Dannie Rogers, a 20-year-old from Northeast. Irony was, a bunch of cops had just walked into the club a little before the shooting. And this: Brown was playing at Kilimanjaro, in supposedly safer Northwest, because a bunch of go-go clubs in Southeast and Northeast had been shut down as a result of the violence.

Brown won't play go-go in the city anymore. He has learned over the years exactly which tunes get the audience too riled up. "Sometimes the music makes them fight, if we play too loud or too hyper," he says. "People start bumping and we have to cool it down. After a while, it scared me too much and I stopped playing those shoot'em-up joints. It got so bad, even in places I'd played for 20 years. I pulled out. I don't need the guns. I just want good joints -- hotels, nice clubs, nice rec centers. I want a crowd that dresses right."

Now, two years later, Brown is in Virginia. The crowd is from all over, mostly just kids -- late teens, early twenties -- forking over $ 25 each for a dance. There are some guys packing beepers and cold stares, hanging back from the dance floor, nodding silently to the beat. The dancers are almost all girls, done up in lame' and heels, showing lots of leg.

"Who the [expletive] is Chuck Brown?" says a girl whose three-inch-high gold necklace spells out "Charille." "I just want to hear the go-go."

But up front, a small cluster of fans waits for the man. "I used to watch Chuck Brown 20 years ago outside on the street in Fredericksburg," says a 35-year-old hotel manager from Alexandria. "He loves to play, play all night. Man has the funk."

Brown is an old man in this line of work. He gets away with it because the sound is his. He drives up to a gig in the white stretch Lincoln Town Car limousine he bought when the music was good to go. That was in '87, after "I Want Some Money," the tune the whole town was singing, the chant that unfortunately -- inevitably? -- became an anthem for killers and hustlers. Brown had a chauffeur then. Flush times.

But it slipped away. So there is no more driver. Chuck drives the limo himself. No passengers, no one lounging in that great expanse of white leather. The man likes the car. Chuck is a tough guy up onstage -- cowboy hat, bronze shades, silver-studded black alligator boots, a sharp, wispy goatee. He's slim, taut, with strong hands and a trim, tight ponytail.

But he fools no one. He is a softy, a throwback, a guy who pumps a wad of Juicy Fruit between his Marlboro Lights. Go-go is call and response. Chants shoot back and forth during percussion breakdowns: "Do the Right Thing," "Wind Me Up, Chuck." If the crowd offers something rowdy, Chuck goes along. But mostly, he treats them like the kids they are. Chuck shouts, "Let's scream!" and the crowd screams.

He picks up scraps of paper handed up to him, and he calls out messages like a Top 40 deejay. "The boys are here from Addison Road." "Bladensburg's in the house." "Latisha's ready to play." And then Chuck segues into something shockingly sweet, "A Foggy Day" or "My Funny Valentine." His voice dives into his Arthur Prysock tones, all husky baritone. He slips in 10 bars of Billy Eckstine, even a snatch of Gershwin. He lifts the guitar and gets off some tasty licks in the manner of Charlie Christian or early George Benson.

An audience raised on rap can't catch the references. Brown cites the jazz masters nonetheless. He hires musicians who can solo smartly, guys who can play the "Woody Woodpecker" song and then work the changes for eight minutes each. He has worked with some of the best, including the horns from Parliament Funkadelic.

They love all that in Japan, where Chuck Brown is available on collector-quality CDs, complete with discography and photo album. When he tours Europe and the Far East, Chuck still lives large. Here, where he started it all, his distributor is in a small warehouse in Laurel. He's a regional act.

"Chuck is a survivor," says Breeze -- real name, Daniel Clayton -- a longtime District music entrepreneur (currently he owns Deno's in Northeast) who gave Brown one of his first big breaks. "Chuck has the disadvantage now of playing for people who just don't understand what he's trying to do. But he's got to come back to the city. The go-go is part of our heritage. The kids might like reggae now, but the basis is that stomp-down funk of the go-go sound, and Chuck is that sound."

But Chuck has escaped the city. Now he's splitting his performance time between go-gos and the upscale club scene, where he plays jazz and blues with a 30-year-old smoky soprano from Prince George's County, Eva Cassidy. "The Other Side," released 1992, is their first recording, sounds the kids don't care to hear, tunes Brown needs to play.

In an exasperated moment, Brown swears, "I'm not going to do the weekly go-go anymore. I'm doing what I'd always wanted to." With Cassidy and solo, he's belting out standards, his smoker's voice husky, his intonation rich with the Carolina countryside, his energy a throwback to Ray Charles at his peak. He swings on Charles's "Drown in My Tears," Lionel Hampton's "Red Top," Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child."

" 'The Other Side' is what he's really about," says Joe Manley, who teaches martial arts in Fairmont Heights these days, but once ran Los Latinos, a Top 40 band with a salsa touch. Brown played with the band, and Manley has been his mentor since the early '60s. Manley believes Chuck's return to jazz is his only path.

"I often felt for him being up there with all those young toughs," Manley says. "Those kids know him for the go-go beat and that's all they want to hear. I don't want to be with that crowd, and I don't think Chuck does either."

A Prison Epiphany

Hustler times: After the war, the District was filled with kids up from the Carolinas. There were dances at Turner's Arena and the Suburban Garden, streetcars to take you home, doo-wop on the corner. Chuck's friends sang -- and boxed. They fought over girls, they fought over the wrong kind of stare. They fought like the stars they saw on screen at the Dunbar and Alamo theaters, where kids went when they played hooky from school. They'd draw thin mustaches under their noses, the better to fool the movie-house ushers.

Chuck had to help his parents raise the $ 3 they needed for groceries each week. Besides his shoeshine box, he worked the watermelon wagon, still horse-drawn then, singing "Watermelon, watermelon." Later, Chuck cut logs, delivered ice and drove a truck.

He first realized work could be lovely when he pocketed $ 30 one day for sparring with a prizefighter. "I had good skin, didn't cut easy," he says. Brown was the punching bag for Harold Smith and Bobby Foster, later a light-heavyweight champion.

"No shooters then, we used fists," Brown says. "Kids now seem to hate each other. We fought 'cause the girls used to like to see us fight. But then you'd get up, shake hands and go out together. We didn't fight over drugs. We drank wine and fought over girls. If anybody reached for a rock or into a pocket, the whole crowd would be on you."

In 1948, when he was 13, Chuck left home. His mother fretted that her boy had strayed from the church. Chuck already fancied himself a hustler. Shot craps, played pool for food money. Lied about his age, did a stint in the Marines and got tossed out. By the time he was 17, he was in jail for armed robbery. As a robber he worked solo, and not with his fists, knocking over jewelry stores and pawn shops. New York, Norfolk, Richmond -- he could write a Fodor's Guide to penitentiaries of the East Coast. He did the whole act: gold teeth, big gun, prison bravado.

And then he landed at Lorton. Did four years for assault with a deadly weapon, which was bumped up to murder when the guy Brown shot -- in self-defense, he says -- died after six months in the hospital. Brown says he was a fool-headed hustler back then. And then, something you won't hear much these days: "I loved Lorton. Last jail I ever went to. Best jail I ever went to. That's where I started playing guitar, on an instrument made by a guy in the carpenter shop. Worked in the tailor shop, model prisoner. A guy inspired me. I listened to Sister Rosetta Tharpe. I learned to play like Charlie Christian. I became the number one entertainer at Lorton."

Can't Catch a Break

Bustin' Loose: The '60s, mythologized as years of innovation and anarchy, were more a time of suffocating conformity on the music scene. Aside from a handful of revolutionaries, musicians were sentenced to play an endless series of covers. Brown and his guitar landed spots with Jerry Butler, the Earls of Rhythm and Los Latinos, cover bands on Washington's Top 40 circuit.

Chuck could play Lou Rawls, the Four Tops, Jimi Hendrix, Chicago -- whatever the radio ordained. He played back-yard cookouts and hotel dates, school gyms and neighborhood rec centers, the Rocket Room and the Coat Lounge. With Los Latinos, Brown did three and four gigs a night, cocktail hours and cabarets, weddings and breakfast shows where headliners from the Howard Theater -- Gene Chandler, Sammy Davis, Isaac Hayes -- turned up after hours.

His friend Manley pushed him out front as a singer and then, in 1966, as a band leader. Chuck Brown -- now with his Soul Searchers -- played the Ebony Inn in Fairmont Heights for $ 10 a man, plus beer and barbecue. Before long, the guys wanted a raise. They got a boost to $ 12 each, but had to sacrifice the chow.

Along came Breeze, already an operator in the District music scene. Breeze wanted Chuck to play Pitts Red Carpet Lounge at 15th and Belmont NW. Brown and the guys in the band liked Breeze's swagger -- and his offer: $ 15 each, with barbecue and beer.

Pitts was a happening place. In those days of dashikis and dreams, Marion Barry and the whole Pride Inc. gang were regulars. Music and politics were converging, and Brown met the future mayor and dozens of others who would one day become players after the dawn of home rule. Brown played benefits for Pride, the youth program that made the future mayor famous, and Barry's people got gigs for the Soul Searchers.

Tired of Top 40, Brown was ready to break the rules. "They all wanted what was on the radio," he says. "I gave it to them, but I'd keep the congas and drums going between songs. I added chants. I could talk to the audience over the beat and hear if they said something slick. We got the call and response going."

The beat became endless, and Brown called it go-go. Breeze put Brown on TV, on "Teenorama," a local dance show. At school dances, he layered licks and hooks over the percussion, and he and the kids fed off each other. Chants became songs. There were a couple of hits, first "We the People" and then the first national go-go seller, "Bustin' Loose."

The Question then remains The Question now, 15 years later: When will the music go wide, break the bubble of D.C.? Brown is still waiting, still recording. His first studio go-go album in four years is due out this fall. He troops up to Trammp's in New York every month or so to keep his beat going there. But he knows: Go-go's national breakout has never happened and -- face it -- never will.

"The purpose of the music has been defeated," Brown says, and it hurts to say it, because this is his music. "I don't know how to say it without offending other musicians, but where are the other bands? It's just noise out there. Some of these young [go-go] musicians have never learned to play their instruments." And with rap, the word and the beat are all. Melody, improvisation, the expression of emotion through a horn or some strings -- things of the past.

But Reo Edwards, producer of many of Brown's early hits, believes Chuck still connects to a generation many older musicians have dismissed. He's got the beat, now he needs a message.

"I'll tell you why it didn't happen for go-go," Edwards says. "For years, go-go didn't tell a story. If I'm a teenager and I want to say something to a girl, I'll go buy a record that says what I need to say. It ain't too late for Chuck. He's just got to have stuff they can relate to now, today."

After 20 years of go-go all-nighters and audiences that seem less and less interested, Brown is still there. At the Stouffer that Sunday morning, he would have played till 7 if the cops hadn't ordered him to shut down at 4.

He takes his jazz act to the older crowd at Wolf Trap and Carter Barron, at the new Fleetwood's in Alexandria and to the Birchmere. And he still plays go-go for the kids. Neither is quite the audience he wants, but Chuck Brown can't stop going out. That's what he does. The beat's still in his head.

He looks down from each stage, searching in vain for the cats he grew up with. Like Chuck Brown, they, sadly, have left the city. Unlike Chuck, they have pretty much stopped going out.

By Marc Fisher |  March 28, 2007; 7:26 AM ET
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Comments

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Thanks, Marc. I grew up on Chuck and go-go's earlier version. I'm glad to hear Chuck back on the radio.

Posted by: Omar | March 28, 2007 9:05 AM

Hahaha! Staple of D.C culture and nightlife! What a joke. Nobody cares about GoGo and nobody will.

Posted by: Soloviov | March 28, 2007 9:25 AM

Slow news day Mark?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 9:46 AM

Soloviov - you clearly know nothing about this city. Go back to Kansas. Anyone who came up in this city in the 80's and 90's - and yes I'm including everyone from folks down in Barry Farm to preppies in Spring Valley - has some gogo in their blood. God bless you Chuck. Here's to a revival.

Posted by: Moss | March 28, 2007 9:47 AM

Yay! New Chuck Brown album! I must cop now! I know Chuck isn't so in love with the beat anymore, but I sure am.

I've heard Chuck doing the "Godfather" cover and agree with Mark's assessment, though I don't think it reaches the same high boil as "Woody Woodpecker." The "Godfather" cover is something that will be real nice to bump in my car on a slow sweet summer night.

Posted by: Lindemann | March 28, 2007 9:57 AM

Though I remember "Bustin' Loose" and "Run Joe" back in the day, I first was introduced to Chuck Brown's jazz side when he did a cover of "Misty" back in the 90s; the album it appeared on included "You've Changed," a lovely, melancholy track he did with Eva Cassidy before "The Other Side" came out.

The man is a genius, and he represents a part of DC that we'll miss when he's gone, for good and bad. I love the free-flowing party vibe you get from go-go, but hate the violence that has prompted people to drive it out of DC.

Twenty years ago, go-go was so big it was part of a huge concert at the Capital Centre. Between the changes in the music (more reliance on covers, greater use of a harder, more menacing beat) and the violence, I can't see something like that happening at the former MCI Center.

Truly sad. But for now, I'm going to have to cop this new album!

Posted by: dirrtysw | March 28, 2007 10:16 AM

Marc, where's the sizzle? Where's the cold splash?

Posted by: Boring! | March 28, 2007 10:18 AM

It's only boring to you becuase you don't know what the heck he's talking about. Maybe if he wrote about Dolly Parton you'd perk up. News flash: there are other things in this world that are outside of your small world.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 10:24 AM

Yo Soloviov, apparently by your name you definitely can go back to your origin (Europe),you bastard.

Anyhow, bring your racist body to the 9:30 club, and i guarantee you'll be approached not by blacks, but you'll be beaten badly by whites.

Go Go, is a DC tradition and we are proud to have our own sound, compared to NY and Rap and Chicago and house music.

Plain and simple you are young (obviously) and not from DC and have no respect for other cultures but your own. Selfish peon.

Go back to Europe!!!

Posted by: DC Man | March 28, 2007 10:31 AM

Left out of almost all Chuck Brown stories is that the man is a guitar player with serious skills. His band is tight as a drum, and Chuck has always been able to have more fun onstage than any other artist I've ever seen. To go to a Chuck Brown show is to see DC at it's most local, inclusive, and wonderful best. Wind me up, Chuck!

Posted by: Louis The Rogue | March 28, 2007 10:32 AM

Hey 10:24 Am poster, fiy: I don't care for Dolly Parton. You must have large boobs on your mind today.

Posted by: Boring! | March 28, 2007 10:34 AM

Love Chuck Brown! Love Go-Go!

Posted by: Kamantha | March 28, 2007 10:35 AM

I am a DC native born in the 50's. I was never a gogo music fan. I always loved R&B, Jazz, and Gospel. Was this story worth writing about, because I don*t think most Washington Post readers care?

Posted by: Ward 4 Resident | March 28, 2007 10:35 AM

Chuck Brown is a gifted arranger, but the DC School system no longer produces the horn players he used in his early show bands. Chuck uses seasoned players today, but younger bands make do with two or three keyboard players poking away at sad imitations of the kind of sax and trumpet lines Chuck helped create.

Posted by: Mike Licht | March 28, 2007 10:45 AM

DC Man - you're the only post so far that has painted people in white and black colors. People can type anything they want in the "Name" field of a post so you know nothing about who that person is, let alone their color, except that you don't agree with them. You're the one who has been exposed as the racist c0@ksucker.

Oh, and if you're going to make huge assumptions, then "Soloviov" is much more likely to be Russian in origin, not European, so lets assume you're an ignorant douchebag too.

Posted by: Stugats | March 28, 2007 11:04 AM

Ward 4 Resident: Judging by the comments, they obviously do care. Just because you don't doesn't mean it's not fit to print. There are a dozen articles that I'm not interested in everyday in the Post, but I don't say "don't print it because I'M not interested in it." Somebody else may be.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 11:06 AM

What a great column! I thoroughly enjoyed this....

Posted by: deeloe | March 28, 2007 11:10 AM

DC Man, if I were you, I wouldn't call myself a "man". If the 9:30 club is full of people like you, I'll stay far away - no matter how good the music may be.

Posted by: Sane | March 28, 2007 11:26 AM

If you were in the "phone booth" for the Prince show a couple of years ago I know you can't forget the musical tribute the Purple One paid to Chuck Brown. One of the many highlights of an incredible concert.

Posted by: 20782 | March 28, 2007 11:29 AM

Does Jim Graham intend to introduce legislation banning this dangerous Go-Go album as soon as possible? I'm sure he thinks it is far too dangerous to be played in nightclubs, dance halls, iPods, or automobiles.

Posted by: Snarky | March 28, 2007 11:39 AM

Looking forward to the new album. Love the music - hate the crowd it attracts.

Posted by: DC Man Touched My Private Parts and Told Me Not to Tell Mommie | March 28, 2007 11:56 AM

Born in DC, raised in Takoma Park, MD! 70's funk with Chuck Brown! He'll ALWAYS be the King of Go-Go! Wind me up Chuck!

Posted by: dcdolly | March 28, 2007 11:56 AM

To Stugats, you mother is a douchbag.

Oh I don't pretend slug, you're the one that wants to pretend there are no white racist, or there are no white people who really rather not deal with black people. It is what it is, idiot brain.

As for European vs. Russian, come on main man, where you been, there all the same. White is White, a hole. You don't know about the "EU forum", now who's the idiot.

As for you, trying to call me out, how about a meet up? UFC style? Seriously, but you gotta come to SE white boy.

Posted by: DC MAN | March 28, 2007 11:57 AM

To Sane, your easy "blow".....

You're a weak coward who probably still breast feeds.

You are a racist as well.

Posted by: DC Man | March 28, 2007 11:59 AM

I look forward to the album, and his concert coming up.

Plain and simple freedom!

Posted by: DC Man | March 28, 2007 12:04 PM

For some of us, Chuck made the difference between beating up or getting beat up, in his music, of course. We needed to 'talk to him quick before we'd forget, because he knew doggone well, that we were doing that ____.

Posted by: Southeast Soldier | March 28, 2007 12:05 PM

DC Man - you have no idea what color I am -but your rush to judgement says a lot about you. Why are you so angry and threatened by anyone that might be different or have a different opinion than you? If I were ignorant I'd say what does that say about your own race - this invitation to fight and be violent - but I'm smart enough to know that one ignorant sh*tstain doesn't represent a whole race of people. You are what you make of yourself - color has nothing to do with it.

Posted by: Stugats | March 28, 2007 12:08 PM

To Stugats, you getting soft!!!

That's funny, if we were locked up you know what you would be for me.

Go away boy, you are trying to play both sides, and i really don't care about what color you are, obviously white or white like.

Leave me alone, and i will leave you alone.

You called me a douchbag, and a s*#tstain, go back and read. And, you started it with the insults. So, I offered you the opportunity to say it in my face. Insults are for fighting.

Violence does work, look at Iraq, it's reality and its human nature to fight and kill, idiot you are.

This is just too easy...keep going and I will reflect you.

Posted by: DC Man | March 28, 2007 12:22 PM


Great column!!! Chuck Brown is true legend and I appreciate his musical innovations. Go-Go is the heartbeat of DC and is one of the things that make the city unique. Currently, I live in Oregon and I would fork over a week's pay to hear Chuck play live. When I think of DC, the following comes to mind: Go-Go, Chuck Brown, Mumbo Sauce, Ben's Chili Bowl, the Redskins, and Marion Barry.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 12:39 PM

"white or white-like"

Are you kidding me? You actually hate a whole race of people and anyone that acts like that race? Do you make any exceptions?

And by your logic - you want to fight me to prove what? How do you know I'm not a woman? Do you beat women? And what if I win? Would that change your mind about me? If we fought, and I won, would you be my best friend and come to the realization that there's nothing wrong with being "white-like"?

Of course not - violence breeds violence and the only thing that could change your mind is education, which you have none, and unfortunately, probably have no motivation (read "lazy") to get one. That's really sad if the way by which you make choices and define yourself is to not be "white like".

I guarantee that I'm bigger than you sunshine, and while it would be immensely satisfying to pound you in the sand, it would prove nothing except I was dumb enough to play into your game.

Posted by: Stugats | March 28, 2007 12:49 PM

DC Man - Why are you ignoring me? Tell them what you did to me.

Posted by: DC Man Touched My Private Parts and Told Me Not to Tell Mommie | March 28, 2007 12:58 PM

DC Man - Frankey, is that you?!! Have you been skipping your medicine again?

Just exactly what race are you representing? Do you think that "your" race appreciates the comments that you are making?

Posted by: Sane | March 28, 2007 1:01 PM

Stugats - Women or not, I hope DC Man pounds you into the sand. Know-it-alls like you deserve nothing less.

Posted by: DC Man Touched My Private Parts and Told Me Not to Tell Mommie | March 28, 2007 1:09 PM

Stugats - Women or not, I hope DC Man pounds you into the sand. Know-it-alls like you deserve nothing less.

Posted by: DC Man Touched My Private Parts and Told Me Not to Tell Mommie | March 28, 2007 1:10 PM

Hey DC Man, where you at? In the bathroom trying to find yourself?

Posted by: Get a microscope | March 28, 2007 1:17 PM

Sorry to come across as a know it all - I'll limit my posts from now on to short,witty, useless remarks.

Posted by: Stugats | March 28, 2007 1:24 PM

DC Man, what is an intelligent being such as yourself doing in this city? You should be solving world famine and curing diseases. You probably have a Nobel awaiting you.

Posted by: News flash | March 28, 2007 1:29 PM

In newspaper articles about Go-Go music it seems compulsory to mention violence (guess reporters don't go to country bars), but blogging about Go-Go seems to make posts violent.

Take it outside, dudes.

Posted by: Mike | March 28, 2007 1:45 PM

Go-go is alive! Thanks for the article. As a freshman at GWU, I can remember we had the Junk Yard Band at the Spring Fling. "Good to Go" was in the theatres and "Da Butt" was playing in the clubs. I appreciate Chuck Brown and your article!

Posted by: Joe8track | March 28, 2007 2:14 PM

Where can I buy this album when released? Will it be on Amazon?

Posted by: andrew | March 28, 2007 2:15 PM

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is so sadly ironic that an article about one of the premier institutions of D.C. appears to have incited the exact type of reaction that has caused Chuck not to want to play inside the city any longer.

I grew up on go-go. Native Washingtonian. Was in Junior High (not "Middle", Jr. High) when Bustin' Loose came out. Used to love listening to Peacemakers. But I very rarely went to see a lot of performances because it always seemed like violence and the bands were linked.

And, in a blog, it seems like some folks are bent on proving the detractors and stereotypers of D.C. right.

Like the man said: Take it outside.

Posted by: The Geek | March 28, 2007 2:21 PM

Ah, the blog police are alive and well.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 2:27 PM

GO-GO IS THE MUSIC OF DC BUT IT HAS CHANGED OVER THE YEARS. THE POWERS THAT BE REALLY NEED TO REALIZE THAT IT S THE PEOPLE NOT THE MUSIC. I USED TO JUDGE IF I WOULD GO TO CERTAINS CLUBS BY IF THEY PLAYED GO GO OR NOT AND IF NOT I WAS NOT GOING. BUT NOW GOING ON 30 I JUST DONT HAVE TIME TO DUCK SHOTS AND HOPE THAT THE FIGHT IS NOT ON MY SIDE OF THE CLUB. STILL AND ALWAYS WILL LOVE THE MUSIC BUT INSTEAD OF LIVE I JUST BUMP IT IN MY JEEP.

Posted by: BOOTS | March 28, 2007 2:38 PM

BOOTS, DO YOU HAVE TO YELL?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 2:49 PM

When and where?

You're still weak, no matter if your woman or a man or a man trying to be a woman, or whatever.

You talking it, bring it.

Posted by: DC Man | March 28, 2007 3:01 PM

To Sane, I simply repeat my comment to you, again, and again....

Posted by: DC Man | March 28, 2007 3:02 PM

I don't like white people like you. I have white friends, remember i said if you come to the 9:30 club who will jump in your throat.

I am strickly talking about people like you that happen to be white.

Your kind make me sick to my stomach.

Posted by: DC Man | March 28, 2007 3:04 PM

I will give credit when it is due. One thing I can say about Chuck, he hasn't left and forgotton about the DC Metropolitan area. Nor has he let anyone try and change is style and/or music. He is the GODFATHER OF GO-GO and he will always be. Continue to do your thing Mr. Brown. You got my vote.

Posted by: Rosebud | March 28, 2007 3:09 PM

Thanks for the story. Chuck is a solid musician and a master showman, and his contribution to the DC music scene cannot be overstated. However, I take exception to crowning him "the District's greatest contribution to pop music history." That title would have to go the late and most great Marvin Gaye.

Posted by: Blue Son | March 28, 2007 3:26 PM

It appears that the album will not actually be released until April 24, which I would have known had I bothered to read the press release. This does explain why Chuck is appearing at the 9:30 Club on the 27th, though.

Posted by: Lindemann | March 28, 2007 3:52 PM

Ward 4 resident, crawl back under your rock 'cause CHUCK BABY DON'T GIVE A FU*K what you think!

Posted by: Ward 8 resident | March 28, 2007 3:56 PM

I noticed that the article mentioned that Chuck is mostly known in this area, but he was also recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts with a 2005 National Heritage Fellowship Award - one of their highest honors. He also was featured in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival concert series in 2000, when the culture of DC was a featured exhibit. He is truly a living legend.

Posted by: ML | March 28, 2007 4:34 PM

It's a damn shame that some of the posters to this blog perpetuate conflict, racism, and violence -- all issues that the Chuck Brown I grew up on (and still is a living legend to me) completely abhors. The man went down that road, learned his lesson, and imparted that lesson to my generation (and this one) through his music. No disrespect to other go-go bands, but even they have always recognized Chuck as "a cut above." Yet, he has played on the same ticket as many of them, and has been given the proper respect by most.

Chuck has always promoted unity, uplift and Black Pride -- AND he is a consummate MUSICIAN. His musical diversity helped encouraged young 'uns like me to learn about classics, standards, and the musicians responsible for their creation. Going to see a "Chuck" show is going to an event -- a classy affair -- even if he's playing in a park, a rec center, or a parking lot. You can tell that his shows command respect, 'cause folk follow him ALL UP AND DOWN THE EAST COAST, just to see him play. I've partied to Chuck in jeans, sweats, AND suits -- it's always a classy affair.

Stop w/the gun and knuckle talk -- Chuck ain't about that, and you disrespect his legacy when you do that.

Finally, for the "ignorati" who seem to think Marc Fisher "has nothing better to write about," you...just...don't...GET IT.

PS: The previous blogger was right about Marvin! ;-)

Ntlekt

Posted by: Ntlekt | March 28, 2007 4:34 PM

Geek, stay as you are, stay as you are...

There is a reality to Go Go, thats it and thats all.

Nobody is trying to sell violence, but we exposing our ignorance as human beings.

Sterotypes of racial differences is every where in this country.

Again, wake up people and stop walking your dogs, it's the stuff you pick up after your (un-human) dogs do that make you small minded people.

Posted by: DC Man | March 28, 2007 4:52 PM

The album will be a smash and the DJ Kool single will be the song of the summer. It is already being played in some of the clubs by Dirty Hands and Chris Styles at Fly and Modern. This album has a ton of crossover appeal and this might just help get the go-go sound the national respect it deserves. Although Luda and Nelly have both sampled go-go in the last few years. Go buy that joint!

Posted by: Jeremy | March 28, 2007 5:16 PM

Ntlekt, well, I guess that "I just don't get it". Nor do I want to "get it" from the looks of some of the posts on this chat. If Go-Go draws a crowd of DC Man's, I relaly, relaly, don't want to "get it".

Posted by: Have a Great Day | March 28, 2007 8:36 PM

Chuck Brown is not only a Washington institution, but an exceptional jazz musician who has performed with a wide range of other greats from the late Eva Cassidy to Carlos Santana. Show some respect.

Posted by: DC Native | March 28, 2007 8:43 PM

Ward 8 resident, I am not surprised by your ghetto remark. Most people in Ward 8 don't vote, and many don't hold professional Degrees. Your remarks don't hurt or affect me! LOL

Posted by: Ward 4 Resident | March 29, 2007 12:48 AM

Great article... broughtt back fabulous memories of growing up in Suitland. Chuck has been a big part of my life's soundtrack. He is a living legend and an example of the uniquenesss and vitality of the DC metro region.

The negative comments are about as entertaining as the cavemen Geico commercials. Not a fan, but I do understand. If you don't like or love Chuck...its really okay. Enough of us do, that I'm sure he feels the good vibrations.

Posted by: Chuck fan foreever | March 29, 2007 5:08 AM

stugats-your obviously a rascist cracker and your stuck inside of that shell you all live in. Continue to walk around and pick sh!t up after your dogs that you kiss on the lips and eat after.....and continue to put your nose in other peoples business just as you do best. Oh yeah come on down to 930 Club and bring your comments in with you......

Posted by: Stephanie | March 29, 2007 9:13 AM

Cut the racist comments, guys. Completely unacceptable.

Posted by: Yo | March 29, 2007 10:58 AM

stugats my man, everything in Russia west of the Urals is in Europe.

And Russia considers itself to be a European country, not an Asian one.

Posted by: South Loudounian | March 29, 2007 12:16 PM

I stumbled across Chuck Brown's new song "Chuck Baby" the other night on my ride home while scanning through the radio. Great song and great article. There definitely needs to be more attention to the Go-Go scene, as it is STILL big in D.C., and if you don't believe me just turn on 93.9FM or 95.5FM after 9 or 10pm.

Posted by: KRHilferty | April 4, 2007 10:00 PM

So I axed her if she had a man...she didn't answer so I axed again

and baby I'm ain't tryin to force your hand...baby I'm just tryin to understand..

Why, you try, to play so hard to get...ha

My name ain't no Romeo and you ain't Juliet...

Chukie baby don't give a what!!

Posted by: Romeo | April 12, 2007 9:54 PM

grew up on Chuck 1971/72/73 summer in the parks 10th & u masonic temple- aint no party like a chuck brown party- wind me up i love me some chuck and i'm happy that he back with this new cd because chuck baby is all that - that's keeping it real - i have been all over the world & the chocolate city stands out from all the rest because of go go all prop's go to the one & only godfather of go go chuck.....

Posted by: DebraBlondee of Va | April 17, 2007 5:55 PM

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