Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers

Any Other Way to Go?

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Best known for their ferocious live gigging, Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers' recorded catalog often falls by the wayside. But still, live shows aside, their albums remain one of the strongest and best chronicles of Washington, D.C.'s go-go sound. And Any Other Way to Go?, coming as the scene's spark was dying, is an excellent, tight masterpiece -- easily as good as anything released in the frenzy of the genre's early days. Brown and his crew, alongside Trouble Funk and Rare Essence, constantly threatened to break the genre nationally during the 1980s without much luck. But, because this music and these songs fell so far below the radar at the time -- they were never completely co-opted by mainstream music -- they remain as vibrant as they ever were at the time of issue. And even at the end of go-go's party, the man who created the genre made sure this album was packed with goodies. Full of funk breaks, prominent drumbeats, and inspired raps, Any Other Way to Go? delivers. From the opening "Run Joe," an outstanding go-go-fied calypso, to "Go-Go Drug Free" and "Do That Stuff," Brown and the Searchers keep the groove moving. But Brown wasn't ready to stop there. He added a fresh trio of Sly Stone covers and put his own spin on them. The resulting "Stormy Monday," "Be Bumpin Fresh," and especially "Family Affair" are outstanding. Easily as good as their 1979 proto go-go smash Bustin' Loose, Any Other Way to Go? certainly capped a genre in ultimate style. Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers are a vital, vibrant reminder of how good music could be in an era often remembered for such little substance.

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