Thank you for visiting our band website.
Raw Deal Band 954 is making history in the music industry and we are glad you are apart of this amazing venture. It has been a 30+ year journey to get to this point but every single moment was worth the time and effort to create a true authentic GOGO sound outside of the DMV area. The following is brief history on the journey.
The summer of my freshman year at University Maryland Eastern Shore (1988) I was invited to play with a start-up GoGo band that was forming in the PG County area. I played with a few bands before so I thought It would be nice to jam with some musicians from ‘around-the-way’ while we took breaks at college. The plan was to play a few campus parties at UMES and eventually play back in the city during the summer and winter school breaks. The original Raw Deal members include: Markel Pharms, Bunk, Mark ‘Saki Marki’ Hollingsworth, Jamie ‘Jaymo’ Clark (Urban Government) Greg ‘Fat Greg’ White and myself. We started practicing in my moms basement for a few sessions. We added in other musicians and played our first shows throughout the DMV area. As time went and some players moved on to other things, Jaymo and I remained and kept the RAW DEAL name going for several more years.
With the addition of Den Den, Gerald, and Pie from Brightseat Road- Raw Deal (1991- 1997) gained a respectable following from the Landover and Glenarden, Maryland neighborhoods just a few miles outside of the District of Columbia in Prince Georges County. We organized and became efficient under the management of Terrence and Thias as our capacity grew. We accepted the opportunity to be the house band for the iconic . nightclub Barnetts on Benning Road N.E. During that era we opened up for Backyard, Rare Essence, Northeast Groovers and Junkyard on more than a number of occasions. We had a few pinnacle moments in the early 2000's including: (1) Recording a song under the BAD BOY Records / Ivan Goff Production collaboration. We Recorded the GoGo cover of Craig Macks ‘Flava In Ya Ear’. The 'Flava' track made DMV airwaves the summer of 1996. (2) We gained a spot on the famous GoGo Live at the DC armory in 1996. We were billed on top the up-and-coming Huck-A Bucks, as we had several friendly crank battles just before their hit (BUD) came out. (3) We played the 1996 UMES homecoming opening up for Tribe Called Quest and (3) we started the party scene on the Eastern Shore when we played with the famous all girl GoGo group Pleasure at the Princess Anne Social Center and hosted several parties throughout the Wicomoco County area. Despite the many accomplishments and accolades I believe our proudest moment was starting Raw Deal Band 954 in Fort Lauderdale in 2017.
After a 20 year hiatus Den Den (Dennis Littleton) posted a Raw Deal reunion event flyer and scheduled a show at Fast Eddies for the summer of 2018. That reignited the fire and many of the former members and fans started planning for a return of the band. While working through logistics and trying to locate all of the past band members I decided to start putting together a recording of the old Raw Deal classic originals to accompany the reunion show. The 2018 reunion did not come to fruition as planned; but as with any great idea it's hard to put out a fire that comes from within the soul. So I contacted some musicians in Fort Lauderdale with the intention of starting a GoGo band based in South Florida.
The fundamental GoGo sound must include Congos, a drummer with a GoGo swing, and a lead talker (#1); all other musical parts are typically interchangeable. I switched from playing keys to percussion. I found a Miami rapper who had ties to the DMV area and was familiar with the genre of music. Lastly I found out my church back-up drummer was a huge fan of STOMP and BUGGY. Thomas 'stickx' Bradshaw actually had Stomps’ videos in his YouTube play list and often watched videos of Buggy to try and learn to play GoGo. It took a year of practice and rehearsals to get the Florida Raw Deal musicians the skillset and fundamentals to play authentic GoGo. We played a few shows and continued rehearsing as a band. In 2019 we connected with another Washingtonian- Barry (Chosen) Baker to handle the #1 position. With Barry at the lead the band went to the next level and our unique sound started to take notice in the DMV. We were invited to open up at the ‘SKINS Vs. Fins’ DC Takeover event in October 2019. From that weekend we knew Raw Deal 954 had what it took to actually make history of being the 1st authentic GoGo band to become relevant outside of the DMV. The band was scheduled to be featured at the ‘Summer 2020 Miami Takeover’ and we also were planning a band Tour Date in the DC area in the spring of 2020. However as the country faced a pandemic (which basically shut down the gig music industry for a few months) we decided to focus our concentration on an album and build our musical catalogue. I connected with the extremely talented Willie Howell, who traveled from DC to Fort Lauderdale and gave Raw Deal 954 a three-day tutorial on the fundamentals of the GoGo swing. After six months of long, hard and strenuous studio work including post production - we are proud to release RAW DEAL's debut 17 track album titled ‘AHAB & SANE’ (The Relationship)
The “Ahab “album is the telling of a love story and all the success and pitfalls that come with loving and losing someone. ‘Ahab is Hebrew for “To Love” - Sane’ is Hebrew for “To Hate”. We hope you enjoy our first album and we look forward to our second album release tentatively scheduled for the winter of 2021.