90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Go Go-Go

The black church plus blues plus funk meant go-go music in 1970s Washington DC.  We’ll get the soundtrack and story of a tough time.

 In this Jan. 18, 2010 file photo, master of ceremonies Chuck Brown speaks during a program to celebrate the legacy of the late Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington. Brown, who styled a unique brand of funk music as a singer, guitarist and songwriter known as the "godfather of go-go," died Wednesday, May 16, 2012 after suffering from pneumonia. He was 75. (AP)

In this Jan. 18, 2010 file photo, master of ceremonies Chuck Brown speaks during a program to celebrate the legacy of the late Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington. Brown, who styled a unique brand of funk music as a singer, guitarist and songwriter known as the “godfather of go-go,” died Wednesday, May 16, 2012 after suffering from pneumonia. He was 75. (AP)

The 1970s and ‘80s were tough times in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.  Old economics and certainties were falling away.  Segregation and desegregation were in major flux.  And the capital, not so far from the gleaming monuments and domes, was a very self-consciously black city.  African-American.  The “Chocolate City,” as the DJs had it.

And the soundtrack was Washington’s own “go-go” music.  It was power and freedom and funk and conga drums.  Call and response.

This hour, On Point:  go-go, and the life of the Chocolate City.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Natalie Hopkinson, contributing editor for The Root and author of Go-Go Live: The Musical Life and Death of a Chocolate City.

Nico Hobson, go-go historian and archivist and co-owner of gogoradio.com.

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post “Summertime, with its steamy air and sinuous rhythms, cries out for a soundtrack — and whether it’s rap or go-go, R&B or hip-hop, the music is more than likely to have African American roots. Two recent books about black culture are excellent guides to the sounds booming from the club, the car or the headphones.”

New York Times “In the mid-1970s, with disco luring dancers away from live bands, Mr. Brown drew on James Brown’s funk, Latin rhythms and the crowd-pleasing good humor of Cab Calloway-era big bands to create go-go.”

Video

Hopkinson describes her introduction to the world of go-go music and what she hopes readers will gain from reading “Go-Go Live: The Musical Life and Death of a Chocolate City”

GO-GO LIVE: The Musical Life and Death of a Chocolate City.

Chuck Brown preforms Wind Me Up.

Excerpt: Go-Go-Live

Playlist

“Bustin’ Loose” by Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers

“Chocolate City” by Parliament

“It Don’t Mean A Thing” (LIVE) by Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers

“Run Joe” by Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers

“One on One” by Rare Essence

“Cat in the Hat” by Little Benny and the Masters

“Good to Go” by Trouble Funk

“Let Me Clear My Throat” by D. J. Kool

“Diamond in the Black” by Suttle Thoughts

“Pretty Girls” by Wale

“Keep It Gangsta” by Backyard Band

“U Go” by TCB aka The Bounce Beat Kingz

“Welcome to DC” by Mambo Sauce

 

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Apr 27, 2015
Flowers and ribbons adorn a tree outside the Weinstein family house in Rockville, Md. last week. Earlier, President Barack Obama ook full responsibility for the counterterror missions and offered his "grief and condolences" to the families of the hostages, Warren Weinstein of Rockville, Maryland, and Giovanni Lo Porto who were inadvertently killed by CIA drone strikes early this year. (Jose Luis Magana/AP)

American drone policy and consequences. We’ll look at secret strikes and the evolution of drone war.

Apr 27, 2015
Former Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner at a charity event in 2013. (Mark Von Holden/Invision/AP)

Bruce Jenner opens up about his gender journey. We’ll look at the big picture of transgender life in America now.

RECENT
SHOWS
Apr 24, 2015
Dick West (Dr. Walter Richard West, Wah-pah-nah-yah or Wapah Nahya, Light Foot Runner), 1912−1996, Southern Cheyenne, Oklahoma. Cheyenne Sun Dance—The Third Day, 1949. Paper, casein, 24 5/8 x 35 1/8 inches. © 2013 Philbrook Museum of Art, Inc., Museum purchase, 1949.20, Photo: John Lamberton.

Artists of earth and sky. Rawhide, bear claw, eagle feathers and the glory of America’s Plans Indians, on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 
Apr 24, 2015
The Rev. Jamal Bryant leads a rally outside of the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station during a march and vigil for Freddie Gray, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP)

Loretta Lynch gets a vote. Race and anger in Baltimore. Migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. Petraeus, sentenced. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Your Favorite Musical Memories Of Rain
Wednesday, Apr 22, 2015

When we say ‘rain,’ you say ‘…?’ (Here’s what you really said when we said ‘rain.’)

More »
6 Comments
 
Three LIVE Tracks From Flor De Toloache
Friday, Apr 17, 2015

Fantastic live tracks from the amazing women of Flor de Toloache.

More »
1 Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: April 17, 2015
Friday, Apr 17, 2015

Interactions on Facebook, campaign time begins and a truck full of bees.

More »
2 Comments