THOUGH TROUBLE FUNK has put in 10 years as the premier exponent of D.C.'s home-grown go-go sound, the group hasn't been able to score significantly on the commercial charts or radio.
But then neither has any other go-go outfit, perhaps because go-go never really translated well to vinyl, relying as it does on all-night jams and live and lusty audience response. Now, with the studio finesse and freewheeling energy of "Trouble Over Here, Trouble Over There," it sounds like Trouble Funk finally has its slam-dunk.
With producing and performing assists from Bootsy Collins and Kurtis Blow, go-go's flagship band is all over the musical map, dipping playfully into rap, reggae, balladry and funny funk a la Cameo, Fatback and Parliament-Funkadelic.
The LP opens with a chaotic cutup of sound that abruptly slams into "Trouble," produced by Collins with big stomping bass and layers of clean electro-texture. Trouble Funk maintains its tough rhythm foundations, but isn't afraid to goof around with the sound, resulting in some serious funny business, like the Larry Blackmon-like vocals on "Woman of Principle," the mock reggae of "All Over the World," and the rap braggadocio of "Break It Up," produced by rapmaster Blow, who saves a few of the choicest lines for himself.
Still, there's plenty of purist go-go here: "Sexy" and "Hey Tee Bone" may be studio-buffed and contained within a radio-ready five minutes, but they still have that unmistakable D.C. beat and dancefloor heat.
TROUBLE FUNK -- "Trouble Over Here, Trouble Over There" (Island 7 90608). Appearing Saturday at 9:30 Club.