Wednesday, May 16, 2012

RIP Chuck Brown, Godfather of Go-go

I last saw Chuck Brown, who passed away today, outdoors for free at the Reagan Building in 2010.  It was a 5 pm show and I couldn't find anyone who could make it or who wanted to go.  Chuck played so much, his gigs were often taken for granted. But I rushed out of work and went anyway.  It was the Godfather of go-go for free.  I was of course glad I went.  Chuck's laidback, rough-voiced vocals, his guitar playing , that go-go swing of he and  his band, and those only in DC call and response chants with the audience.  That's one of my many memories of him. Hearing "Run Joe" on a radio tribute tonight reminded me of  when I used to play his songs on the University of Maryland radio station WMUC, or would hear his songs on the all go-go evening radio programming of the long gone WOL AM, or from passing car windows.  I also have fond memories of hearing on WPFW and on cd Chuck's jazzy, wistful side--his takes on classic blues and the American songbook.  His duets with Eva Cassidy are just gorgeous.  Over the years, I also wrote a preview or 2 about him for the Washington City Paper. Plus there was his charismatic presence in those DC lottery tv commercials. Busy with family, I missed his gig last year with the National Symphony Orchestra on the Capitol grounds that exposed his warm manner and relaxed funky sound to a new audience as well  as demonstrating again to his longtime partisans the skills and charm they had long seen.  For decades Chuck Brown symbolized and encapsulated the non-political side of Washington D.C.  Farewell Godfather of Go-Go, you will be missed.  

No comments:

Post a Comment