THE FIRST go-go records were really just one-dimensional souvenirs of the exuberant live experience. Those all-night give-and-take jams didn't translate into 20 minutes of vinyl -- you just had to have been there.
But Washington's go-go go-getters are rethinking their stance, using newly acquired expertise and putting out records that are more than just long live recordings.
Here's a recent sampling; many of the bands will be performing at Saturday's "Out of School Boogie" go-go summit at RFK Stadium.
The grandfathers of go-go, Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers, who scored a chart hit with "I Need Money," could very well cross over to pop territory again with "Day-O," a funny and infectious revision of Harry Belafonte's hit. In Brown's calypso-flavored go-go version, he's the party-man, and when daylight come he don' wanna go home.
On "Stone Cold Hustler" (Kolossal KA 869496), D.C. Scorpio growls out some vehemently anti-drug nightmare tales over a slickly produced big-sounding session track.
On "Mind Your Business" (Checkpoint CP 763) sassy Sweet Cookie puts together a string of vivid comic vignettes about gossips and other busybodies and sets it to some busy body music, with funny human-beatbox effects.
It's acted to the beat by Trisie Gee and Rene' Garrett, with Keith Jones supplying the rude male raps.
On the moody "Go-Go Drug Free" (Future F-0025), the Go-Go Drug Free Participants are doing much more for the anti-crack campaign than Just Saying No: the assembled go-go eminences stretch out on a spare, organ-driven, horn-graced groove -- the first side is an instrumental workout, the flip features good advice from go-go's Big Names, recorded live at Triples nightclub in Hillcrest Heights.
"Knock 'Em Out Sugar Ray '87" (T.T.E.D 3025) by Maxx Kidd/T.T.E.D All Stars may not be as socially relevant, but it's one of the best-sounding go-go records and a good example of go-go's instant response to current events. There are some funny boxing in-jokes -- bells and punches -- in the mix, and the track features tough talk from E.U.'s Sugar Bear, TF Crews' Big Tony and AM/FM's J-Rard Butler.
Speaking of E.U. (aka Experience Unlimited), the big band shines on a relatively short (4:38) and irresistible dance number on "Doing the Cabbage Patch" (T.T.E.D. 3022), with the added bonus of vibes and the whole group chanting gruffly along on the chorus. On "Do Your Thing" (Future 0024) Hot Cold Sweat turns out a summery, simmering track with echoey vocals and plenty of cowbells and congas. OUT OF SCHOOL BOOGIE -- Rare Essence, E.U., Sweet Cookie, Big Tony and the T.F. Crew, Little Benny and the Masters, Hot Cold Sweat, D.C. Scorpio, AM/FM, Kool Moe Dee. All appearing from 2 to 9 Saturday at RFK Stadium.