TROUBLE FUNK Trouble Funk Live (1981/1996)

frontTrouble Funk Live (1981/1996)
Monster Funk That Never Caught On

Go-Go was born and bred in the back alley discos of Washington, DC’s ghettos. Its signature characteristic was the non-stop percussion marathons that, for decades, forged and fortified its local rep. This massively funky, pre-rap sub-genre never managed to take off beyond DC, largely because its lifeblood energy was far too dependent on its local, home turf audience. And… it was way too black for early-80s media (back in the days when MTV still refused to play black music). This live set from the masters of Go-Go, Trouble Funk, is a prime example. An hour-long performance, split into four parts (originally a 2LP set), that starts funky, gets funkier and never lets up until the drummer cries uncle. There are no songs, per se, just unending percussion, scattered horn outbursts, chants, shouts and tons of call & response. Henry Rollins tells a story in this CD’s liner notes (HERE) about how heads turned when he first saw TF in 1982, since he and his pals were the only white guys in the house. I had the exact same experience three years later at The Black Hole in DC’s Northwest section. The scene was repeated later that same (early) morning at WUST, an old cabaret on the corner of Florida and 9th Street. I caught Trouble Funk, Experience Unlimited and Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers during the most exhilarating concert weekend of my life. This disc, on Rick Rubin’s (and Rollins’) defunct Infinite Zero label, captures the action about as well as can be expected, since the genre’s major drawback was the inability to fully replicate the live experience on vinyl, in the studio or on the road (outside the beltway) – so this release is about as close as you’re going to get. An underground taste of what James Brown’s improv funk hath wrought upon our times. Thanks JB. It’s at Amazon, HERE.

Part A (14:03)
Part B (13:44)
Part C (14:57)
Part D (15:14)



  • Anonymous
    December 7, 2009 - 12:45 | Permalink

    They were great I had the early 12" singles & album at the time a great driving hard sound be great to hear these again top choice and the best of the bunch by far………………….Drop the funk on the boat crew drop the funk drop the funk

  • ksn
    December 7, 2009 - 16:09 | Permalink

    sounds like there are some bangers in here. thanks a ton for posting.

    cheers from NYC,

  • Bombshelter Slim
    December 7, 2009 - 16:46 | Permalink

    Willard: thanks for this, it's kinda hard locating ANY go-go these days, let alone something by the TF juggernaut.

  • Capt. Willard
    December 7, 2009 - 12:31 | Permalink

    Search HERE

  • tony O
    December 8, 2009 - 02:02 | Permalink

    Damn. This is so funky.

    Thanks so much.

  • Anonymous
    December 8, 2009 - 08:07 | Permalink

    Willard you have never failed to post some excellent funk. Trouble Funk were a party favorite back when I was a dancing fool. "Hey Fellas" being a particular favorite. Keep up the good work. I haven't heard this, it's fantastic.

  • Festus
    December 8, 2009 - 12:58 | Permalink

    A Real Gem Thanks!!

  • Capt. Willard
    December 8, 2009 - 14:27 | Permalink

    Thanks for all the comments.

  • phil uk
    December 8, 2009 - 15:16 | Permalink

    Really enjoying this and the P-Funk you've also posted…thanks for the blog

  • scoddy
    December 9, 2009 - 16:59 | Permalink

    outrageously good. this is the sort of thing I was expecting 10 years ago when I bought the Parliament collection you posted today … I enjoy the Parliament, but this: full throttle no prisoners funk is what I thought it ought to be all along. thanks a bunch.

  • Capt. Willard
    December 9, 2009 - 18:40 | Permalink

    We know what you mean. Parliament is a lot more colorful and wacky. Trouble Funk is the hard core shit. The kind of nightmares James Brown used to have after a 4 show and matinee weekend on the chitlin circuit.

  • Anonymous
    December 11, 2009 - 01:19 | Permalink

    This has been one of my ALL TIME FAVORITES for a number of years now.

    I remember seeing shows at WUST before they converted it to the 9:30 club.

    Keep up the great work!

  • Capt. Willard
    December 11, 2009 - 01:27 | Permalink

    Ahhh… didn't know the 9:30 used to be WUST. Thanks

  • buzzbabyjesus
    December 16, 2010 - 14:42 | Permalink

    I had a Troublefunk lp called "Drop The Bomb" back in the day that rocked one end to the other, which I sorely miss. I previewed what you posted for about 5 seconds before clicking "acquire". I could tell it's the shit. Thanks as always.

  • buzzbabyjesus
    December 19, 2010 - 17:08 | Permalink

    I was at a party last night talking about this which I said, "It sounds like what you expect when you put on P-Funk instead of what you actually hear". Just now I noticed scoddy already hit on that.

    • Willard
      November 21, 2011 - 11:27 | Permalink

      You didn’t say it to scoddy at the party, did you?

  • freakypete
    October 7, 2011 - 08:44 | Permalink

    fabtastic. i love tf. saw them 3 times once at glastonbury festival 84 on pyramid stage. the crowd of 60 000 wouldnt let them leave !
    the third best show of my life after the gd wembly 11/11/90, van the man again glastonbury 81
    tf at hammersmith apollo 86

  • r
    November 29, 2011 - 05:47 | Permalink

    This one really intrigues me. I discovered Parliament etc not that long ago, tho I’ve always loved Sly since the late 60s (that gives the age away), plus its always been remote since I’m in Australia (not much REAL funk there…). And I’m as white as they get. But I’m addicted to Jack Johnson and Bitches Brew era Miles, since 1970. So… See how it listens, but I’m intrigued.

  • Muddy
    December 8, 2011 - 02:02 | Permalink

    This is startlingly excellent. If I could travel back in time, I would make sure to catch Trouble Funk early and often. Why have I never heard this before? This is pure unadulterated hot funk.

  • Anonymous
    August 24, 2014 - 00:54 | Permalink

    Glad to be hearing this stuff again. I used to see them live every year or so in DC when I lived near there. Saw ’em on a new year’s eve one time and they literally played pretty much nonstop for a good five or six hours! As far as this CD goes, I didn’t even know it existed so I’m double glad you’ve got it here. Very cool find.

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