Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Genuine Negro Jig

by Carolina Chocolate Drops

I spotted this album (or rather, its cute cardboard sleeve) in the Saffron Walden library. It has a modest CD section; even so, CDs are divided into categories (presumably made up by the music industry). This one was in the “country” section. Frankly, I don’t care that much about country music, it’s just happen to be located over the “folk” and that one is over the “jazz and blues”. I though it was misplaced. No prizes for guessing why: look at the cover picture, the title, and the name of the band.

What a lucky discovery. Of course Carolina Chocolate Drops ain’t no country act. They are old-time string band. Nominally it consists of Dom Flemons, Rhiannon Giddens (the beauty in the centre) and Justin Robinson, but five tracks on Genuine Negro Jig also feature Sule Greg Wilson. And their permutations. On a beautiful rendition of Why Don’t You Do Right? it is Giddens (vocal) and Flemons (guitar) plus Wilson providing “leg” percussion. On a title track, it is Giddens (fiddle), Robinson (hand clapping and foot percussion), Flemons (bones — wait, bones?) and Wilson (computer hard drive “triangle”). On Reynadine, Giddens sings unaccompanied. And so on. All wonderful through and through, but my favourite song here is an “acoustic hip hop version” of Hit ’Em Up Style.

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