|The Godfather of Go-Go
Onstage, October 1, 2005
|Birth name||Charles Louis Brown|
August 22, 1936|
Gaston, North Carolina
|Died||May 16, 2012
|Gibson Gibson ES-335 (blonde)|
Charles Louis "Chuck" Brown (August 22, 1936 – May 16, 2012) was an American guitarist, bandleader and singer who is has garnered the honorific nickname "The Godfather of Go-Go". Go-go is a subgenre of funk music developed in and around the Washington metropolitan area in the mid-70s. While its musical classification, influences, and origins are debated, Brown is regarded as the fundamental force behind the creation of go-go music.
Early life: 1936–1963
Charles Louis Brown was born on August 22, 1936 in Gaston, North Carolina. Brown's mother, Lyla Brown, was a housekeeper, and his father, Albert Louis Moody, was a United States Marine. Brown's father, however, was not present in his life, and Brown lived in poverty. When Chuck Brown was six years old, he moved to Washington, D.C. in 1942, and at 15 he started to live on the streets. He did not graduate high school; Brown quit school and decided to perform odd jobs to make money, including shining shoes.
In the 1950s, Brown was convicted of murder and served eight years in Lorton Correctional Complex. At first, the case was tried as aggravated assault; however, it was moved up to murder once the victim died. Brown stated that his actions were in self-defense. In prison, he traded cigarettes for a guitar, which was how his love for the instrument began. When Brown completed his sentence, he moved back to Washington, D.C. and worked as a truck driver, a bricklayer, and a sparring partner at multiple boxing gyms. He also started to perform at parties throughout the area; however, he could not play at venues that served liquor, because his probation officer would not allow it.
Chuck Brown died on Wednesday, May 16, 2012, at Baltimore's Johns Hopkins Hospital of multiple organ failure, including heart failure. He was 75 years old. Several weeks prior to his death, he had postponed and canceled shows due to hospitalization for pneumonia. His interment was at Trinity Memorial Gardens in Waldorf, Maryland.
Brown is called the "Godfather of Go-Go" and was considered a local legend in Washington, D.C. Darryl Brooks, a local promoter who worked with Chuck Brown during his career, stated, "He was a symbol of D.C. manhood, back in the day, because of the authority that he spoke with. He just spoke from a perspective that black men could understand." Andre Johnson, the leader of the go-go band Rare Essence, said that Chuck Brown "influenced generations of people—not just one—a few generations of musicians around here." Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said Brown was "Go-go's creator and, arguably, its most legendary artist."
Ricky "Sugarfoot" Wellman, longtime drummer for Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers, died of pancreatic cancer on November 23, 2013 at the age of 57.
- We the People (1972)
- Salt of the Earth (1974)
- Bustin' Loose (1979)
- Funk Express (1980)
- We Need Some Money (1984)
- Hah Man (1994)
- The Other Side (featuring Eva Cassidy) (1995)
- Timeless (1998)
- The Spirit of Christmas (1999)
- We're About the Business (2007)
- We Got This (2010)
- Beautiful Life (2014)
- Go Go Swing Live (1986)
- Any Other Way to Go? (1987)
- Live '87 – D.C. Bumpin' Y'all (1987)
- 90's Goin' Hard (1991)
- This Is a Journey...Into Time (1993)
- Your Game...Live at the 9:30 Club (2001)
- Put Your Hands Up! (2002)
- Go-Go Crankin' (1985)
- Good to Go (1986)
- Go Go Live at the Capital Centre (1987)
- The Go Go Posse (1988)
- Let's Go Go Christmas (1995)
- Greatest Hits (1998)
- Best of Chuck Brown (2005)
- "'Godfather of Go-Go,' Chuck Brown Dies". The Washington Informer. May 16, 2012.
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- Richards 2012, p. 1
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- 2012, p. 2
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- Bogdanov 2003, p. 853
- "Chuck Brown Dead: D.C.'s 'Godfather Of Go Go' Dies At 75". The Huffington Post. May 16, 2012. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
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- Bogdanov, Vladimir (2003). All Music Guide to Soul: The Definitive Guide to Randb and Soul. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 9780879307448.
- Lornell, Kip; Stephenson, Charles (2009). The Beat: Go-Go Music from Washington, D.C. University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 9781604732412.
- Price, Emmett (2010). Encyclopedia of African American Music. Volume 3. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9780313341991.
- Richards, Chris (May 16, 2012). "Chuck Brown dies: The 'Godfather of Go-Go' was 75". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
- "Chuck Brown: Go-Go Godfather's Gumbo". All Things Considered. Washington D.C. May 10, 2010. NPR. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
- Chang, Jeff. "Wind me up, Chuck!". San Francisco Bay Guardian. Archived from the original on March 15, 2005. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
- Baily, Nick (August 20, 2007). "Chuck Brown". Global Rhythm. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
- Pareles, Jon (April 21, 2007). "Still Soulful, Still Swinging, Still Ready to Bust Loose". The New York Times. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
- Chuck Brown at the Internet Movie Database