Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bluesy Christmas Wishes from The Godfather of Go-Go

With his reputation as the “Godfather of Go-Go,” it’s easy to forget that Chuck Brown is also a bluesman.
But the 75-year-old Brown, who last year received a Grammy nomination for “Love,” his collaboration with singer Jill Scott and bassist Marcus Miller, does get into a blue mood every once in a while.
One such time was last Saturday at the Cultural Arts Center of Maryland’s Montgomery College, when Brown and harmonica player Phil Wiggins provided part of the entertainment at a ceremony marking this year’s presentation of the Maryland Traditions 2011 Alta Awards.
Brown, credited with single-handedly creating go-go, a funk style of music based in D.C. that is known for energetic live performances, had included his version of “Every day I Have the Blues” on his 2007 CD, We’re about the Business. At the ceremony, he and Wiggins, who for several years had performed with the late guitarist John Cephas as part of the Cephas and Wiggins acoustic blues duo, delivered another standard, “Key to the Highway:”

Brown and Wiggins also acknowledged the time of year in a bluesy way by playing “Merry Christmas, Baby:

At the ceremony, three recipients received the awards “for their ongoing efforts to preserve and maintain the state’s living heritage.”
The winners were:
• Singing and Praying Bands of Maryland, a group of performers singing a style of music with origins in West African religion, Christianity and African-American ring shout tradition.
• The Patterson Bowling Center, Baltimore’s sole duckpin alley and the oldest duckpin center in the world.
• Rich Smoker, who carves hunting decoys.
Also performing at the ceremony was singer/guitar Warner Williams, who this year was recognized as a National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment of the Arts. Chuck Brown received the same award from the NEA in 2005.

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