Commute Music of the Week 6/6/14: Smokey Robinson and The Miracles “Going to a Go Go”

My 20 year old daughter rode in to work with me this week and this song came up on shuffle.   She turned to me and said “Why is your music so much better than mine?”

While I was only three when this song debuted, it was on heavy rotation on the home stereo and AM radio during my childhood.  Written and performed by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, its been covered by many artists(most notably the Rolling Stones) but the original version is still my favorite.  Its an uptempo invitation to party and dance, and never fails to get the people out on the dance floor at a party.

It starts with Benny Benjamin’s almost tribal tom work leading to James Jamerson’s bouncy bass intro.  While one of the more simple Funk Brother’s songs, Motown’s famous rhythm section drove this dance tune like a well run train chugging towards its destination.  Its heavy on the bottom end, and its probably why its one of those tunes to quote Larry Graham “where the dancers just can’t hide”.  When I was first studying James Jamerson’s bass lines, this song was one of the first I learned on bass.  Its deceptively simple but Jamerson’s ability to keep it locked and loaded throughout the song make it incredibly effective.

While “Tears of a Clown” is still my favorite Miracles tune, this is a close second.  So lets get out there this weekend and join Smokey and the gang at the local dance club!

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