Chuck Brown: Tiny Desk Concert In Washington D.C., Brown is revered as the Godfather of Go-Go. So to have Brown play in a corner of the NPR Music offices with an 11-member group was dream come true for a lot of NPR staffers.

Chuck Brown Tiny Desk Concert

Tiny Desk

Chuck Brown

The name Chuck Brown might not mean a whole lot to people outside the Washington, D.C., area. That would be their loss. In D.C., Brown is widely known, even revered, as the Godfather of Go-Go, a title he's held since the late '70s. Though he started out as a jazz guitarist, Brown invented go-go, a style that incorporates funk, jazz, R&B, hip-hop and dancehall, and has mostly stuck with it ever since.

No one in D.C. can really explain why go-go hasn't traveled beyond the city's environs — we love it here, it's all over our commercial R&B and hip-hop radio stations and, at least when I was in high school, a go-go in a school's gym was the most packed party of the weekend. Chuck Brown is a local hero. A few days after he played our offices, Brown and his whole band played at the Redskins' stadium for the halftime show.

So to have Brown play a corner of our office — not a 90,000-capacity football stadium — was like a dream come true for a lot of NPR staffers. Sweat started pouring immediately, between the 11 musicians (that's congas and a stripped-down kit; saxophone, trumpet and trombone; two backup singers and a rapper) and all the go-go-heads in our building.

It's not like the band was going to slow down, though. It played "Bustin' Loose," which got everyone singing the refrain: "Gimmethebridgenow, gimmethebridgenow." The song has been a hit in D.C. since 1979, so nobody was standing still. The crowd was yelling out requests, too: "Chuck Baby" and "Run Joe," a go-go cover of the Louis Jordan song. Go-go is based on a syncopated beat and the use of congas in addition to drums. A lot of it is call-and-response, some of which was led by Brown (his web address is in fact windmeupchuck.com).

Go-go is mostly about the groove, though, and Chuck Brown just settles in and leans back. He showed up looking like a million bucks in a vest, Dior shades and his signature hat, and then he did what he does best — get the crowd on his side and hand its members something to dance to.

This story originally ran on Sept. 28, 2010.

Set List

  • "Senorita"
  • "Chuck Baby"
  • "Wind Me Up!" / "Bustin' Loose"
[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Christone "KINGFISH" Ingram plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Kingfish (Home) Concert

The blues prodigy performs a special Tiny Desk show at the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Miss.

Gracie and Rachel perform a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Gracie And Rachel (Home) Concert

The pop-meet-classical duo perform a quarantine concert from their New York City apartment.

Ozuna plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Ozuna (Home) Concert

Global superstar Ozuna performs five songs in quarantine for Tiny Desk.

Bebel Gilberto plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Bebel Gilberto (Home) Concert

Two members of Brazilian musical royalty unite for a special Tiny Desk quarantine performance (and a heck of a view).

Carlos Vives plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Carlos Vives (Home) Concert

Colombian actor and singer Carlos Vives has been performing Latin American hits for almost 30 years. His Tiny Desk (home) concert is part of our Hispanic Heritage Month extravaganza.

Lido Pimienta plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Lido Pimienta (Home) Concert

The Polaris Music Prize winner kicks off our week-long Tiny Desk celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

The Flaming Lips perform a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

The Flaming Lips (Home) Concert

Wayne Coyne has been preparing for this era of social distancing for 10 years. Watch The Flaming Lips perform in bubbles for our Tiny Desk quarantine series.

Angel Olsen plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Angel Olsen (Home) Concert

The singer-songwriter performs four songs on her porch in Asheville, N.C., for Tiny Desk's quarantine series.

Little Big Town plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Little Big Town (Home) Concert

Little Big Town, one of the biggest bands in country music, perform a Tiny Desk quarantine show, and they bring the hits.

Back To Top