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Music Review: Trouble Funk – Live/Early Singles

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Look, it’s a documented medical fact. You can’t listen to Go-Go music without shaking your ass. Even white boys gotta move.

Go-Go originated in Washington, DC. It is a type of funk music with a syncopated rhythm and features a lot of horn. Although wildly popular in the DC area, it received little national attention with the exception of a couple of songs. Remember Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers’ radio hit “Bustin’ Loose?” And E.U.’s “Da Butt” from the film School Daze?

Yup. Go-Go music.

Trouble Funk is one DC’s best Go-Go bands. They were primarily active during the 80s, and while a mainstay of the DC go-go scene, also performed with hardcore bands such as Minor Threat. In fact, Henry Rollins of DC hardcore band State of Alarm caught a few Trouble Funk sets back in the day and recently re-released a two-CD set on his newly-established District Line label. This label is distributed by his long-time label 2.13.61 Records.

The first disc is a live recording.

It’s completely insane! These four fifteen minute songs give you a taste of what the live performances were like — with the call and response with the crowd, and the masterful musicianship. In “Part D,” the crowd chants with the band, “Shake that thing! Shake that thing! You got to shake that thing!” I defy you not to!

The second CD is a collection of eight early singles. The songs are more soulful and because they are studio versions, not as heavy or funky as the live performances. Still, the distinctive style of the band shines through. “Super Grit” has a New Orleans flavor, a typical motif you also hear in some of the live songs on the first disc. All eight tracks on this disc are straight up funk music with that characteristic syncopated go-go rhythm.

All of the songs on the band’s myspace page are on this release, so try before you buy.

Here is a live video of the 9:22 “Don’t Touch That Stereo.”

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