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Genuine Negro Jig CD

4.4 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (25 Jan. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B002U33GQU
  • Other Editions: Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,891 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Product Description

Product Description

The Carolina Chocolate Drops explore 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 Genuine Negro Jig, the Carolina Cholcolate Drops revive old standards, introduce new songs and reimagine contemporary hits from other artists in their own soulful style.

BBC Review

Carolina Chocolate Drops are one of the last exponents of Piedmont string’n’jug band music, an African-American rural style dating back to the early 20th century from the Piedmont Plateau, essentially the foothills of the southern Appalachian Mountains.

For the most part this album’s an unashamedly foot-stomping countrified fiddle-and-banjo racket, and with it the trio reclaim what is usually assumed to be exclusively hillbilly property. But this historic black style is mountain music with something more, as these 12 tracks show how it fits between the European quadrilles and the Anglo/Celtic folk that came across the Atlantic and the rural blues and ragtime jazz that grew out the American South, informing so much contemporary music. And in the hands of the Carolina Chocolate Drops this history lesson is far from dry.

The relatively youthful threesome learned their craft from original Piedmont players and swap instruments – banjo, fiddle, jug, harmonica, guitar, snare drum and kazoo – with ease, and although they all sing, the guys, Dom Flemons and Justin Robinson, leave most of the vocals to the opera-trained Rhiannon Giddens. Cleverly, the group mix traditional songs with original compositions and a couple of surprising covers, allowing them to honour the past, then subtly nudge it forward linking it to the modern music they grew up with.

Of the former, Cindy Gal, Cornbread and Butterbeans and Sandy Boys are joyous jigs, with lyrics about life in general, while Snowden’s Jig and the stunning, a cappella Reynadine show the pensive, bluesy side of the original style. New song Kissin’ and Cussin’ arranges the mountain instruments into what becomes an intriguing contemporary ballad, while their turning of Tom Waits’ Trampled Rose into syncopated country blues adds yet another layer of poignancy to an already heart-wrenching number.

The big surprise, though, is the pickin’, fiddlin’ and slappin’ version of Blu Cantrell’s Hit ‘em Up Style, which totally countrifies an urban classic to create a tune that would be just as at home in hoedown as any blinging city nightclub. It’s the highlight of an extraordinary and stylish album. --Lloyd Bradley

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The Carolina Chocolate Drops bring us a revival of a black string-band tradition that originated in the Piedmont region of the Carolinas in the nineteenth century. This tradition was a strong influence in popular music both in America and Britain in the early part of the last century but has now fallen into neglect.

Not one of the 12 tracks on this album is a miss. It gets off to a lively start with an ideal scene-setting instrumental, Peace Behind the Bridge, with fiddle, banjo and bones. The title track is actually renamed Snowden's Jig on the album, in honor of the Snowden family, from whom the tune was probably originally collected, back in the 1800s. It is another instrumental - syncopated, slow and haunting.

Reynadine is the track closest to the older British ballad tradition that forms an important part of this music's heritage. Fragmentary and mysterious, it may date back not much earlier than 1800, and exists in several versions. It is here sung a cappella by Rhiannon Giddens, and very beautiful it is, too. It showcases her wonderful voice better than any other track, and it's no surprise to learn that she was opera trained.

Hit 'em Up Style and Trampled Rose add contemporary influences into the mix, so that the collection comes across as a revived but continuing, living tradition.
[PeterReeve]
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The Applachians have always been associated with blue grass and the white music of the lost provinces of North Carolina and the Blue Ridge mountains. Slave labour was as useful in the mountains as the Mississippi Delta and by the mid 19th century there was a considerable black musical presence in North Carolina and Virginia which drew on the Scots and Irish music traditions as their African roots. The Carolina Chocolate Drops are superbly gifted musicians who bring alive this tradition along with rag-time blue grass and traditional British folk tunes. 'Snowden's Jig' (the genuine negro jig of the title) dates from Appalachia 1850 and sits comfortably with the up tempo novelty song 'Cornbread and Butterbeans', the 1920s torch song 'Why Don't You Do Right' and Papa Charlie Jackson's rag 'Your Baby Ain't Sweet Like Mine.'

This is not prissy perfect musical homage to a dead tradition but a vibrant reinterpretation of fabulous roots music. Just listen to 'Peace Behind the Bridge' or 'Hit 'em Up Style' if you need convincing.
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I bought this CD after attending their show in Glasgow. What a tremendous performance that was - exquisite skills, yet modest in manner and relaxed with the audience whom they encouraged to sing along, dance, or whatever. Superb entertainers as well as superb musicians. As an encore, encouraged by a standing ovation, the main vocalist, Rhiannon Giddens, knocked the socks off the locals with a high intensity rendition of Gaelic mouth music. Anyway, back to the CD. Glad I bought it - several of the tracks were in the Glasgow show and will help remind me of it. The recordings I suppose are technically excellent, but they do not capture the delightful stage presence and charm of this trio. Jump at any chance to see them in action, and failing that, buy their CDs!
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This wonderful CD guaranteed to make you dance around your kitchen trying to reach anything you can to make a musical instrument so that you can join in their joy of just living. At one time
we had four generations bouncing around the kitchen including Great Grandma who went out of the room briefly to come back with a washboard and wooden spoon!
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Like another reviewer on here, I also saw this band at St Georges, in Bristol, recently. They were indeed excellent and what a fabulous voice Rhiannon has?
The music is so varied; it's almost impossible not to enjoy it. I had already listened to the album, `East of Eden, `before I saw them live in the West Country.
On hearing them there, I decided to purchase this earlier album as well!
This album has a couple of instrumentals and a several ballads in the mix.
I particularly liked the tracks: Trouble in Your Mind, Cornbread & Butterbeans & Kissin' & Cussin'. As someone has already noted, there is not a dud song on here. I find it impossible to split the two albums mentioned. Both are first class listens; both reached number one in the American Bluegrass charts.
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BRILLIANT, such catchy tunes and lively music. First heard on BBC2 country and had to buy on the strength of one song (Hit em up style). They deserve to be more well known. Kissin' and Cussin' is brilliant, but Cornbread and Butterbeans will get you up on your feet.
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Just seen them live, in both the show and the recording the thing that comes across to me is the joy in their music. I can totally understand the politics in the background, so it is most ironic that I saw them in Bristol UK and if it had not been for the historic involvement of this city in the slave trade, the events that gave birth to this music means I might not be listening to it now
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I love it. Crackling with energy and authentic without being po-faced and overly respectful to the material, this album showcases a group of smart and dazzlingly skilled musicians doing what they love from their own perspective rather than adhering to the often ponderous stylings of the genre. Every track has to count on an album that comes in at under forty minutes - given the range of music they could have drawn on without any risk of filler, this seems a bit skimpy. It`s great but there isn`t enough of it.
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