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Go-Go Live: The Musical Life and Death of a Chocolate City Paperback – May 22, 2012
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"Natalie Hopkinson's Go-Go Live: The Musical Life and Death of a Chocolate City demonstrates the essential connections between culture and community in an American city. For generations now, go-go music in Washington D.C. has not only given the authentic, nonfederal parts of that city its musical milestones, but it has—in the voice of so many great lead talkers—marked the civic and political time. From Chuck Brown forward, go-go has proven resilient and real. They say you can't understand this music unless you are there in the club, in the moment, but this book comes close."—David Simon, creator of the television series The Wire and Treme
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Top Customer Reviews
The book finally arrived and I started reading expecting that the book would in some way chronicle my own go-go experiences. It did not take long to determine that the book is less about go-go and more about the idea that DC is dying or dead as a Chocolate City. While go-go is certainly DC and DC is not DC without go-go, I was not convinced of a link between go-go and the so-called death of the Chocolate City DC.
There are numerous references to ethnographic and sociological studies and theories and, in places, this book reads like one of them. That DC, or black DC, had/has its own (sub)culture, complete with its own form of music, was obvious to many Howard Univ. students, especially those who lived off-campus in the neighborhoods of DC. With respect to its go-go music tradition, DC is a sort of Galapagos.Read more ›
Too bad the book and its author are both total jokes. First off, this book is far more a collection of newspaper articles than a cohesive narrative. And they're not very good articles either, in terms of writing ability (bland) and content (preposterous). For example, she inexplicably spends a chapter in this already rather meager volume on religious go-go, which is probably not as important as, say, a sketchbook history of the genre. So she profiles an ex-stripper and pimp who run some bama go-go after they've found Jesus for two weeks, yet she seems oblivious to the existence of seminal figures like the Northeast Groovers and Junkyard Band, who get a couple of mentions in passing. I honestly don't think she's aware of anything iconic or seminal in the music itself. It's like hearing a middle-aged high school principal try to explain hip-hop culture or something.
Which is probably the book's biggest flaw: Hopkinson doesn't really understand the music she proclaims to be protective of. She grew up in Indiana or someplace in cow country and had never heard of go-go until her freshman year at Howard (which even she admits is not a go-go hotspot for DC). Yet she chest-thumps protectively about go-go and DC as if she owns the place and is the gatekeeper of the music. In other words, she's a dilettante who understands neither the music nor the area.Read more ›
Great gift. Even if the person isn't an avid reader, reading about this can surely bring back some memories and create appreciation. Long live old dc!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Go-go Live is a must read for everyone living in the nation's capitol. A fly medley of go-go music, politics and the soul of a city in flux. Read morePublished on August 21, 2013 by Renise A. Walker
I purchased it as a gift and he is truly a go-go fan. It's a quick read. Go-Go is here to stay.Published on July 23, 2013 by carla
I read it from the perspective of someone who was born in Washington, DC and who has lived in the area for most of my life. Read morePublished on February 13, 2013 by S. Brown