Chuck Brown

This Is a Journey...Into Time

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Given the music's focus on live performance, most go-go bands with any longevity have several live albums in their catalogs, and D.C. go-go institution Chuck Brown is no exception. While not his finest live outing, This Is a Journey...Into Time is a pretty good representation of what Brown and his Soul Searchers can do onstage. It has the sound of a P.A. tape, the preferred recorded currency of go-go; the drumming of the legendary William "Juju" House is front and center, while other elements (bass, most noticeably) are sometimes submerged in the mix. Still, the album offers an interestingly diverse program that spotlights Brown's many musical interests in long, go-go-powered versions. He tackles T-Bone Walker's blues standard "Stormy Monday," Marcus Miller's brooding fusion piece "Tutu" (written for Miles Davis), and even the Gershwins' "Foggy Day" with good humor and infectious beats, wrapping his big, raw-throated shout around the different styles with ease. Only on "Since I Fell for You" does the swinging groove cease, replaced with a standard slow-jam approach. Perhaps surprisingly, the most straight-ahead go-go tune on this collection (which lacks essential hits like "Bustin' Loose" and "Run Joe") is also the least effective -- "We Need Some Money," a Brown original that's one of the true classics of the genre, is delivered here in a sluggish version devoid of the energy this anthem for the little guy usually generates. But for those looking to catch the flavor of go-go in its rawer, more authentic form could do much worse than this collection, at least for starters.

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