TAS Super LP List! Special Merit: Informal
The Carolina Chocolate Drops are as much about revelation as revival. On its Nonesuch debut, Genuine Negro Jig, the trio brings exuberance, humor, virtuosity and an infectious acoustic groove to its exploration of a near-forgotten brand of banjo-driven string-band music originating more than a century ago in the foothills of North Carolina, the Piedmont region where band members Rhiannon Giddens and Justin Robinson were raised. In this rural area, musicians, both black and white, once shared and swapped tunes. Over the decades, the importance of the African-American role in string-band music was diminished, its sound and significance co-opted by minstrel shows and segregated by record labels. CCD - under the tutelage of nonagenarian fiddler player Joe Thompson, one of the last surviving Piedmont musicians - have reclaimed the old-time songs, making them vital and fresh for right now, reasserting in the process the African roots of the banjo.
After two self-recorded independent releases, CCD chose to work with producer Joe Henry on Genuine Negro Jig. As with his production on Allen Toussaint's The Bright Mississippi, Henry emphasizes simplicity, clarity, interaction; with its striking lack of studio frills, the emphasis is on the spirit of these performances, which are often as intense as they are exhilarating. Uptempo numbers like live-show favorite "Cornbread and Butterbeans" and "Sandy Boys" are immediate standouts, though slow-burning, moody tracks like "Kissin' and Cussin'" and "Snowden's Jig (Genuine Negro Jig)" prove to be downright haunting. The versatile Giddens performs the Celtic-style balladry of "Reynadine" acapella; she's equally convincing taking lead on a brilliant recasting of the 2001 Blu Cantrell R&B-dance hit, "Hit 'Em Up Style".
Genuine Negro Jig starts out with the specific but winds up with the universal; this is music that has literally traveled continents and centuries to achieve a brand new relevance, a shared history still in the making.
- 140g Vinyl LP
- Single pocket Stoughton jacket
- Peace Behind The Bridge
- Trouble In Your Mind
- Your Baby Ain't Sweet Like Mine
- Hit 'Em Up Style
- Cornbread And Butterbeans
- Snowden's Jig (Genuine Negro Jig)
- Why Don't You Do Right?
- Cindy Gal
- Kissin' And Cussin'
- Sandy Boys
- Trampled Rose