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Chuck Brown

It starts with Chuck talking about the influence of Grover Washington, Jr.’s song “Mister Magic” because it reminded him of the beat of the church music he used to hear.  He was playing with Los Latinos at the time and he decided to get his own band and really use that beat.  He took the Latin feel and the African feel and locked it in as well as the call-and-response and kept going.

He latched onto the call-and-response because people wouldn’t dance until they got a little tipsy, but they started coming in the door dancing when they heard the beat.  Go-Go always attracted a mixed audience because of the location it came from, which was mixed, and when it spread around town it caught on from other bands playing it.  When other bands came in, he was just looking for a sound for himself but was happy to have other musicians taking part in that movement.The only disappointment was when other bands recorded his own stuff.  

He talks about his beginning and how guitar was his first instrument at 24 years old, when he first got serious. He used to play cookouts in people’s backyards each weekend, then he started playing with a couple of bands before getting his own and taking his own sound with him.  When he called it Go-Go music because it keeps going, the call-and-response with the audience made the audience a great inspiration to the band because they could steal their sayings. The fans really made it happen by giving them ideas. 

The song that the whole country knows was “Bustin’ Loose” and you worked with the beat by syncopating it, but he had trouble getting a drummer to play it.  Once the 19-year-old drummer played the simplified beat – the son of Chuck’s original drummer – everything fell into place because the whole band was flowing.  They released the Bustin’ Loose album and then they became known.  The phrase “bustin’ loose” took a while to get the right feel for the song and the musicians, and if that was the title, it would be a hit.  After playing “Bustin’ Loose” from CD, David reintros Chuck Brown and mentions the box set called We Got This.  David asks about starting out on U Street (now known as Chuck Brown Way), Chuck used to shine shoes and he once shined Hank Williams’ shoes. The police used to run him off of corners and Hank saw him get run off, then flagged him down to shine his shoes and gave him a dollar when a shine cost 10 cents then.  David thanks Chuck and Chuck thanks Philadelphia.

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