Thursday, September 5, 2013


YEAR:  2010
LABEL:  Nonesuch
TRACK LISTING:  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,  Reynadine,  Trampled Rose
BONUS TRACKS:  Memphis Shakedown,  City of Refuge
IMPRESSIONS:  I've always been a fan of folk music and old 78 recordings such as those featured in Harry Smith's "ANTHOLOGY OF AMERICAN FOLK MUSIC" etc.  That's probably why this album was such a joy to me.  Oftentimes, when modern performers attempt to do old blues songs or jug band stomps or country blues, the results can sound dead or academic; but here, the Carolina Chocolate Drops recordings sound alive and authentic as this music should.  After all, this music shouldn't be considered a museum piece (as often happens) but instead should be just as enjoyable as any other music one listens to today.  And that's where the Carolina Chocolate Drops triumph over their competitors; the music sounds fresh and vital and not at all like some dusty music archeologist's attempts to catalogue lost folk tunes.  This album is just a solidly great listen; an almost perfect album in every way.  The song selections are pretty flawless; country blues and jug band hootenannies ("Trouble In Your Mind", "Your Baby Ain't Sweet Like Mine") with new compositions "Kissin' and Cussin'"), modern covers, instrumentals and even British folk music.  We're used to hearing Peggy Lee's big band version of "Why Don't You Do Right?" but here the exquisite voice of Rhiannon Giddens renders it into a melancholy blues.  There is murder ballad-stuff here as well as a hilariously incongruous but still tasty cover of Blu Cantrell's hit from about a decade ago "Hit 'Em Up Style" which somehow works.  Rhiannon also provides us with an a cappella rendition of the Brit-folk standard "Reynadine" which I'm familiar with in versions by Fairport Convention and Bert Jansch all the way through to the Folktellers' version "Mr. Fox" on their "CHILLERS" album.  A superb collection of country blues.
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS:  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?,  Kissin' and Cussin',  Reynadine,  Trampled Rose
FACT SHEET:  GENUINE NEGRO JIG is the Carolina Chocolate Drops' fourth album.  The group at this time consisted of the trio of vocalist Rhiannon Giddens, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Dom Flemons and percussionist/banjoist Sule Greg Wilson with occasional guest appearances by Justin Robinson.  The Carolina Chocolate Drops are one of the few existing African-American string bands whose stated purpose is to celebrate and bring attention to the history of string band music from the North and South Carolina Piedmont region which they learned at the feet of respected old-time fiddler Joe Thompson.  In Giddens' words:  "it seems that two things get left out of the history books. One, that there was string band music in the Piedmont, period. (And that) black folk was such a huge part of string tradition."  Critically acclaimed, (The 9513 described the album as "an album of feistily complex, yet endearingly soulful songs that have ages of history behind them and a bright future as well.") the album was number 9 on Roots magazine's "Top 10 Albums of the Year" and was the first all-black group to appear at the Grand Ole Opry.  "Peace Behind the Bridge" is an Etta Baker song.  "Trouble In Your Mind" is a cover of a song originally done by Frank Blevins and the Tar Heel Rattlers.  "Your Baby Ain't Sweet Like Mine" is a Papa Charlie Jackson song.  "Hit 'Em Up Style" is a cover of a Blu Cantrell song.  "Cornbread and Butterbeans" was originally recorded by the Carolina Sunshine Trio.  "Why Don't You Do Right?" was recorded by multiple artists including most famously Peggy Lee.  "Reynadine" is a traditional folk ballad; the version here was learned from a recording by Annie Briggs.  "Trampled Rose" is a Tom Waits cover.  In 2010, GENUINE NEGRO JIG won the Grammy Award for "Best Traditional Folk Album" and the Penguin Award for "Album of the Year".

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