energized their D.C. home with the sound of go-go music, an uproarious blend of swinging, up-tempo '70s funk and a '60s-style horn section. The band formed in 1978, and the lineup coalesced around drummer Emmet Nixon, percussionists
earned a loyal fan base for their notoriously can't-miss live act, a raw, party friendly version of dance and funk with few songs but plenty of extensive jams organized around audience-friendly vocal tags and call-out hooks.
The first go-go record released outside
of D.C., Trouble Funk
's 1982 debut Drop the Bomb
appeared on Sugar Hill, the same label then championing early hip-hop. (The two styles had very similar origins, in the breakbeat culture of urban block parties.) Though the band's second album, In Times of Trouble
, appeared only on the local label D.E.T.T., Trouble Funk
earned national distribution with a prescient concert record, 1985's Saturday Night (Live from Washington, D.C.)
, released through Island. After taking the live act nationwide and even worldwide (they played the 1986 Montreux Jazz Festival), Trouble Funk
returned in 1987 with the boundary breaking Trouble Over Here, Trouble Over There
, featuring sympathetic heads like Bootsy Collins
and Kurtis Blow
. It was a bit of a stylistic misstep, however, and Island released the group from its contract. Undeterred, Trouble Funk
kept on grooving around the city, playing often, even into the '90s, for nostalgic party goers as well as the musically curious.