Go Go Crankin’

Go Go Crankin’ – Various (Island Records) 1985. I think George Clinton once described soul music as a “ham hock in your cornflakes”. This most apt description could easily be applied to the go-go music scene of 1980′s era DC. Early hip-hop from NYC and other places up north was influenced by disco and the urbane funk of bands like Material (among many other things). I don’t believe DC was. Have you ever been to DC in the summer? It’s a freakin’ swamp. This music is swamp-funk. It’s dirty, sloppy (in a good way), loud and funky as hell. If Pumpkin had a cousin from the Deep South, he woulda played like the percussionists in Trouble Funk.

Was DC the first localized hip-hop scene to hit the national spotlight outside of New York? I know Schooly D broke out in the mid-80s from Philly but I don’t think there was a scene built around what he was doing that got national attention. I can’t think of other towns besides NYC representing this early on. South Central was still a few years off in the future and the Dirty South was not even being considered yet.

I mean, I know this is go-go music, not rap…but let’s face it, I think at the time, people still thought rap was a trend and they were trying to hype go-go as the replacement. Now though, go-go should be viewed as part of hip-hop history.

Trouble Funk

On another note, I believe the folks at Dischord staged a cross-cultural event with some hardcore bands and some Go-Go Bands in DC back in the early 80s. What a great show that woulda been; Government Issue and Trouble Funk. It went well except that the DC straight-edgers had their limits tested by the literal mountains of coke some of these go-go dudes were doing backstage.

I wouldn’t expect anything less, really. Go-Go represented the last call for the party records and what a party it was. It’s hot outside. Crank this shit up.

Track Listing:

Slim – Good To Go
Hot, Cold Sweat-Meet Me At The Go Go
Trouble Funk-Let’s Get Small
Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers We Need Some Money
E.U. Ooh La La La
Trouble Funk Drop The Bomb
Slim Good To Go
E.U. Somebody’s Ringing That Door Bell
Trouble Funk Say What?
Mass Extension – Happy Feet

Special thanks has got to go to Otto. He supplied me with this and the Real Enemy demo a while back. Clearly a person of impeccable tastes despite his Sword transgressions.

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11 Responses to Go Go Crankin’

  1. ikiro says:

    Let the drums speak, [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVqtzFi0Wgw]let the drums speak[/url].

    Big up for not just dropping a .rar and a cover but actually contemplating over the music and were you place it in history.

  2. Joe says:

    Ikiro — you KNOW that I don’t do that man. I’ve gotta share my thoughts! :)

    PLUS I only share things that are out of print. Otherwise you just get a couple of tracks…

  3. Lil Mike says:

    This album was the bomb back in the day, thanks for ressurrecting it. Who knows what happened to my copy.

    Jeff Chang, as astute as he may be, wasn’t there…

    The reason Go-Go didn’t make it big is it’s impossible to profit from.

    Hip Hop was easy to market, and cheap and deriviative and mostly a talentless musician free void and still is.

    Think about it, one lone ego maniac in a Kangol touching his pee-pee playing the cream of stolen Go-Go riffs is way more profitable than shlepping 10-12 guys around and all their hardware.

    Go-Go music was by a community and for a community, and really no one was the star…the emcees worked the crowd to get a call and response going, the crowd was as much a part of the show.

    The whole set up is based on a group of synchronized musicians, and that is the antithesis of hip-hop’s vapid self centered push button nazi sampling shtick.

    Now I can’t vouch for much backstage shenanigans, but the musicians were usually on the serious one all the time, and not some drunk or high as kites mofos stumbling around. The fans got a lil wild, but those bands played solid hour long sets with no breaks… no time to be slipping off much to be doing any blow…seriously. These guys were working, not that you’d see that see that in hip hop.

    I grew up and saw numerous lil unknown Go Go groups and some like the legendary Junkyard who played lard buckets on street corners for pocket change before getting picked up by Def Jam. I caught Trouble Funk and Government Issue playing together at least twice, as well as paying the whole $5 for the afforementioned final Minor Threat/TF/Big Boys show.

    That music was intense, huge & pleasurable and indescribale. It just doesn’t translate to legend or record very well… explaining Go Go with wax is like trying to demonstrate a Concorde Supersonic Jet experience with a two seater Hyundai.

  4. Mike says:

    Wow!!Never had this,but I have the soundtrack to GOOD TO GO,I never saw the movie and I doubt it was ever really released. Henry&Ian re-released all the early Trouble Funk EPs a few years ago….Mike

  5. Thomas says:

    Thanks for this – I have it on vinyl from back in the day but it’s in the loft and been wanting to hear it again for a while. A band called Nasty Rox Inc. sampled We Need Some Money in a biog way on their single Escape From New York which you can download on bit torrent (though that’s the album version – better version was the 12″/CD single version which you can get on ebay – a different recording).

  6. Thomas says:

    Also check out the Age of Chance – also mid-late ’80s English band – their entire catalogue of record artwork was totally influenced by this one record! Their music was too a bit – check out Don’t Get Mad Get Even by them – there was a great import 12″ with go go remixes… also about ’87/’88.

  7. Joe says:

    I remember Age of Chance. They did a cover of Prince’s Kiss

  8. reggie says:

    Thanks for this rare gems.
    we need more Go Go, i remember that day in Paris when TF came for their first show, it was da bomb,na mean. Powerfull, one of the best live performance i ever seen, can’t forget that. Peace to all Go Go heads, keep the faith.

  9. eamon says:

    thanks for this
    a classis album,still got this on tape..wish someone would reissue the whole of max kidd’s record labels,t.t.e.d,d.e.t.t. go-go usa etc

  10. bertrand says:

    I was always proud to have this LP back when it was new, along w/ Trouble Funk’s ‘Saturday Night Live!’, also on DETT. The people that made those records really knew what they were doing; the musicians, producers, engineers, graphic artists—everybody.
    Thanks for printing the tracklist.

  11. Tim Alborn says:

    I bought this on cassette tape in 1985 in a record store in Leeds (I think it was Red Rhino). A friend of mine at the radio station where I was working in Boston at the time swore by go go and this confirmed my faith in it. The tape wore out before the ipod era, as tapes do, so the only artist from the LP that I still listen to is Trouble Funk. But tonight (and many days and nights in the last 25 years) lines like “I ain’t got nothin ‘gainst no credit cards / But cash is the best” (Chuck Brown) have often come in handy.

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