Saturday, May 03, 2014

Groove o' the day: more DC Go Go

Last year we looked at the quintessential Go-Go groove, in my mind, played by Ricky Wellman, with Chuck Brown. Trouble Funk is another major act in that style, and their drummer Emmett Nixon did things slightly differently. Today's grooves are from the group's 1981 record, Straight Up Funk Go Go Style; and as you'll hear, the song is a long open jam, with a lot of call-and-response with the audience, with section changes made on cue, rather than following a set structure. Swing the 16th notes— this style is very sixtuplet-y:

Nixon will frequently do this with the hihat— do the open note on 1 in the first measure, and on the & of 1 on the second measure. This pattern occurs on the fade out:

This cowbell part, played by a percussionist, is sort of interesting; it is basically the same rhythm as the standard Go Go bass drum pattern, but with the halves of the measure reversed. If that bass drum rhythm were the “clave” of Go Go music— you could make a case for that— then the cowbell would be reversing clave; a no-no in music that is actually clave-based.

This same rhythm happens to be used in Brazilian music, but as far as I know there is no direct connection between the styles.

Here's the track:


  1. Jerry Cornelius12:04 PM

    Another great post! Thanks for your brilliant work...

    What do you think of Jojo Mayer's drumming?

  2. Thanks, Jerry! I don't listen to Jojo much-- he's just not on any of the music I like spending time with. I had the original Screaming Headless Torsos record, back in the day, but that's about it. He's obviously a great drummer, but it's hard for me to get excited about players apart from their recordings. His technique video is a certainly a major contribution to the literature of drumming.

  3. Jerry Cornelius2:41 AM

    Thanks for the reply Todd - and yes, you're right of course. It's all about the music, not the chops. He seems pretty popular with a lot of my students who see him via vic firth shred vids and the like. It verges on your 'cult of amazingness' that I think is so spot on, although I'd take him over Mr. Lang any day!

    Looking forward to your new record by the way...