Genuine Negro Jig Carolina Chocolate Drops

Cover Genuine Negro Jig

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  • 1Peace Behind the Bridge02:34
  • 2Trouble in Your Mind02:56
  • 3Your Baby Ain't Sweet Like Mine03:00
  • 4Hit 'Em up Style03:57
  • 5Cornbread and Butterbeans03:10
  • 6Snowden's Jig (Genuine Negro Jig)03:52
  • 7Why Don't You Do Right?03:37
  • 8Cindy Gal02:28
  • 9Kissin' and Cussin'03:21
  • 10Sandy Boys02:25
  • 11Reynadine02:37
  • 12Trampled Rose04:35
  • 13Memphis Shakedown03:07
  • 14City of Refuge02:50
  • Total Runtime44:29

Info for Genuine Negro Jig

Morning Edition, talking about the Carolina Chocolate Drops 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.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops have won over crowds at the Newport Folk Festival, on such National Public Radio shows as Mountain Stage and A Prairie Home Companion, and on tours through Europe. Denzel Washington personally selected the trio to appear in his critically acclaimed 2007 directorial effort, The Great Debaters. In a review of a CCD Kennedy Center performance, The Washington Post declared, "Their set was anything but academic...these instrument-swapping residents of Durham, N.C., kept the audience active with speedy strumming, jug-blowing and percussion via carved hand-held bones and foot-banging syncopation." The Boston Globe concurred: "The acoustic trio - banjo, fiddle, guitar - managed the minor miracle of evoking a sepia- drenched era of mountain music... Giddens, Robinson and Dom Flemons, all multi- instrumentalists and vocalists, conveyed their deep knowledge with a sense of reverence and studied antiquity- including their simple, era-appropriate costumes - and a contagious, abundant joy."

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.

"It will do your heart good, do your spirits good, do your life good to come out and check them out and see this joyous music." (Taj Mahal on NPR)

Justin Robinson, fiddle, vocal, beatbox, hand clapping, foot percussion, autoharp
Rhiannon Giddens, 5-string banjo, vocal, kazoo, fiddle
Dom Flemons, bones, guitar, vocal, throat singing, 4-string banjo, jug, guitar, bass drum
Sule Greg Wilson, tambourine, frame drum set, computer hard drive “triangle”, percussion

Recorded January 9-16, 2009 and mixed February 17-20, 2009 by Ryan Freeland at The Garfield House, South Pasadena, CA
Studio assistance provided by Julian Cubillos
Mastered by Robert C. Ludwig at Gateway Mastering, Portland, ME
Produced by Joe Henry

Carolina Chocolate Drops
In early 2012, Grammy award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops released their studio album Leaving Eden (Nonesuch Records) produced by Buddy Miller. The traditional African-American string band's album was recorded in Nashville and featured founding members Rhiannon Giddens and Dom Flemons, along with multi-instrumentalist Hubby Jenkins and cellist Leyla McCalla, already a familiar presence at the group's live shows. With Flemons and McCalla now concentrating on solo work, the group's 2014 lineup will feature two more virtuosic players alongside Giddens and Jenkins - cellist Malcolm Parson and multi-instrumentalist Rowan Corbett -- illustrating the expansive, continually exploratory nature of the Chocolate Drops' music. Expect a new disc from this quartet in 2015.

The Chocolate Drops got their start in 2005 with Giddens, Flemons and fiddle player Justin Robinson, who amicably left the group in 2011. The Durham, North Carolina-based trio would travel every Thursday night to the home of old-time fiddler and songster Joe Thompson to learn tunes, listen to stories and, most importantly, to jam. Joe was in his 80s, a black fiddler with a short bowing style that he inherited from generations of family musicians. Now he was passing those same lessons onto a new generation. When the three students decided to form a band, they didn’t have big plans. It was mostly a tribute to Joe, a chance to bring his music back out of the house again and into dancehalls and public places.

With their 2010 Nonesuch debut, Genuine Negro Jig—which garnered a Best Traditional Folk Album Grammy—the Carolina Chocolate Drops proved that the old-time, fiddle and banjo-based music they’d so scrupulously researched and passionately performed could be a living, breathing, ever-evolving sound. Starting with material culled from the Piedmont region of the Carolinas, they sought to freshly interpret this work, not merely recreate it, highlighting the central role African-Americans played in shaping our nation’s popular music from its beginnings more than a century ago. The virtuosic trio’s approach was provocative and revelatory. Their concerts, The New York Times declared, were “an end-to-end display of excellence... They dip into styles of southern black music from the 1920s and ’30s—string- band music, jug-band music, fife and drum, early jazz—and beam their curiosity outward. They make short work of their instructive mission and spend their energy on things that require it: flatfoot dancing, jug playing, shouting.”

Rolling Stone Magazine described the Carolina Chocolate Drops’ style as “dirt-floor-dance electricity.” If you ask the band, that is what matters most. Yes, banjos and black string musicians first got here on slave ships, but now this is everyone’s music. It’s okay to mix it up and go where the spirit moves.

“An appealing grab-bag of antique country, blues, jug band hits and gospel hollers, all given an agreeably downhome production. The Carolina Chocolate Drops are still the most electrifying acoustic act around.” (The Guardian)

“The Carolina Chocolate Drops are...revisiting, with a joyful vengeance, black string-band and jug-band music of the Twenties and Thirties—the dirt-floor dance electricity of the Mississippi Sheiks and Cannon’s Jug Stompers.” (Rolling Stone, Michael Hill)

Booklet for Genuine Negro Jig

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