We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
The celebrated Christmas go-go festivals at Washington Coliseum now belong to the ghosts of Christmas past, but plenty of new go-go tracks have arrived to crank up the holiday cheer.
In the second BET nod to go-go culture this year (for the first, see June’s BET awards), Rare Essence vocalist Charles “Shorty Corleone” Garris was enlisted to serve as the music supervisor for the network’s holiday comedy ‘Twas the Chaos Before Christmas, which premiered earlier this month and will be shown again on Christmas Eve. Shorty Corleone is also credited as an executive producer for the film’s soundtrack, which features several go-go tracks, starting with his smooth, laid-back “Go Go Christmas.” Another Shorty Corleone song, “Christmas Fairy,” is a collaboration with Ms. Kim and Tamika Joy—and a seasonal valentine that owes no small debt to Beyoncé. Most engaging, though, is the lovely “That Time of Year” by Sirius Company featuring Scooby & Ms. Kim, which catalogues the joys of the holiday season and captures the shared experiences of so many families—“Uncle Mike passed out on the couch again, that time of year.” The track borrows a line from the Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne classic “Let it Snow,” features a holiday menu roll call that would make anyone hungry, and doubles as a New Year’s Eve song as it closes with that holiday’s countdown. Gospel go-go ensemble Tru Potential also appears on the soundtrack with the prayerful original “Christmas is Here.”
Not on the soundtrack but definitely worth any holiday playlist is Michelle Blackwell’s inventive “Housetop (Crank Nick Remix),” which updates the old holiday chestnut, “Up on the Housetop.” Written in 1857 by Benjamin Russell Hanby (the son of a minister involved with the Underground Railroad), “Up on the Housetop” has already been go-go-fied at least once before by Hot Cold Sweat. Their version is included on the 1991 Let’s Go Go Christmas compilation that also features Junk Yard Band’s “Happy Holiday to You,” Chuck Brown’s go-go take of Otis Redding’s “Merry Christmas Baby,” and the all-female band Pleasure’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” all of which hold up extremely well after all these years.
To Do This Week is your twice-weekly email roundup of arts and cultural events. It’s the perfect way to know what’s going on, and subscribing is a great way to support us.