Junkyard

I’m still posting from 1986 for some reason… I’d definitely mark it as a landmark year in my life: first job, first car, no first love though… that would have to wait until the year change. But this music, this group, hell all the Go-Go groups from D.C. I and many of my co-horts were straight up go-go heads. Everything from the fashion to the dialect and of course the music emanating from the Nation’s Capitol became our identifiers, our way of navigating our small little world some 100 miles from the source. That just illustrates the power of music and how she can hold sway.

As a teen I didn’t necessarily contextualize this gem from The Junkyard Band as protest music but that’s exactly what it is… I mean for us what the group is talking about was really the word on the street. I don’t have to imagine what the world was like during the Reagan Administration – I lived through both terms. Interesting times indeed. Mostly though, the appeal of “The Word” was the beat and what a stark difference it was to the multi-instrument sophistication of say a Chuck Brown. The Good Junk was of and by the youngins’ and they were definitely ushering in a new sound and era of Go-Go. Out of the two song set (produced by Rick Rubin and released on Def Jam) “Sardines” is probably the more famous of the two, but the songs offer an interesting study in contrasts old an new. “The Word” is more steeped in older first generation of go-go as far as tempo and rhythm are concerned – a much faster pulse, whereas “Sardines” helped to usher in the slower “pocket” that became the standard for the late 1980’s into the 1990’s.

I’ve known for many a decade that Go-Go for some can be an acquired taste. It has been a part of my musical DNA for a very long time, I make no apologizes for when the beat is crankin’ and that’s truly the word these days and everyday.

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.