The Carolina Chocolate Drops just keep getting better. Having seen some recent performances, I figured it was only a matter of time before they released a finely honed album that would be an amalgamation of their modern day musical influences crossed with their hallmark Piedmont String Band sound from the foothills of the southern Appalachian Mountains. That very music was shaped by many influences, so it is only natural that the Carolina Chocolate Drops introduce some of their own modern day influences, with the help of some fine production of course!
Genuine Negro Jig is released on Nonesuch Records. They throw some heavy weight production behind the album with the help Joe Henry (Allen Toussaint, Elvis Costello, Solomon Burke). There is a brigter sound to this album as a result, but they maintain their string band sound with some clever flourishes and modern day cross-over influences.
There are some great surprises on the album, including a great a cappella performance of Reynardine which reminded me very much of some old recordings. There are still some hallmark sounding tunes such as Trouble in Your Mind, but they also do some great covers such as Tom Waits’ Trampled Rose and Blu Cantrell’s beat-box driven R&B single Hit ‘Em Up Style.
Hit ‘Em Up Style
[audio:http://www.box.net/shared/static/n7rfpx2bm0.mp3|titles=Hit ‘Em Up Style|artists=Carolina Chocolate Drops]
[audio:http://www.box.net/shared/static/8x0sisnkir.mp3|titles=Trampled Rose|artists=Carolina Chocolate Drops]
Snowden’s Jig is a haunting instrumental which is followed by that well covered blues-jazz classic Why You Don’t Do Right. Cindy Gal is right back into their old stompin’ ground whilst the finale is a less expected downtempo track Kissin and Cussin.
This album is certainly a step out of their usual zone, but the mark of a great artist, for me at least, is not the ability to replicate but to invent. The Carolina Chocolate Drops have certainly re-invented a sound which is in territory that they have staked-out. The album is nothing short of brilliant!
Links: Artist Site