Friday, March 15, 2013

Groove o' the day: DC Go-go

In the late 80's my old friend and cohort Kirk Ross went off to Berklee and brought back some tapes of Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers, and Trouble Funk— Go-go, Washington DC's special variety of funk. All the songs had this same swinging groove on them, and the word was that bands would play all night over this same beat without breaking. The version of it that stuck with me the most was Ricky Wellman's, playing with Chuck Brown, which is what we're going to look at here.

The hihat is generally played two handed, with a lot of embellishment and improvisation over the relatively static snare and bass groove; the hihat part here is just a starting place— listen to the music to see where to go with it. Swing the 16ths on all of these, and play the open hihat strongly. Catch the snare with your right hand.

I forgot to put in the key to the staff, as I sometimes do— see the other GOTD's if you don't know what to hit.

Here's an alternative place for the open hihat:

Here's a favorite variation of mine— this occurs at 2:10 in the audio. Play the hihat strongly all the way through on this one:

The same thing with a triplet embellishment; stick that RRL, accenting the left:

Audio after the break:

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