Release Date: Feb 16, 2010
Record label: Nonesuch
Genre(s): Country, Folk, Blues
Two years on from their debut album Heritage, Carolina Chocolate Drops are now recording for a more high-profile label, have acquired a more high-profile producer (Joe Henry, who has worked with Allen Toussaint and Elvis Costello) but are sounding as fresh and enthusiastic as ever. When they first emerged, they were inevitably seen as something of a novelty – a young black trio determined to show that black musicians played an important role in the history of American string band music – but the strength of their playing and singing showed that they meant business. If anything, this set is even better and is certainly more varied.
Musical adventurers reclaim important chapter of black Americana There’s a long tradition of African-Americans playing old-time music, from blues legends Blind Blake, the Reverend Gary Davis and Josh White to artists such as the Mississippi Mud Steppers and Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong, whose early ragtime outfit, the Tennessee Chocolate Drops, has provided a lasting influence—and this modern-day act with its name. The Carolina Chocolate Drops formed in 2005 at the Black Banjo Gathering in Boone, N. C.
The problem with flirting with old music styles in the digital speedway of the 21st century is the curse of revivalism, a tendency to reduce contemporary stresses and pressures to a perceived better time in the safe and distant past when things were simpler, clearer, and, well, more pure. But of course it’s always now -- it’s never then or when -- and musical revivalism can suffer from a kind of strictly enforced and ultimately empty artifice. A facsimile is still a facsimile -- it can never, by definition, be the thing itself.
On occasion, when talented younger musicians attempt to revive fading anachronistic musical styles, they can come across all wrong. These efforts, while mostly well-meaning, can mix the dusty detritus of the archivist with the self-important privilege of the urban alternative artiste, and wind up telling us much more about the latter than they do about the former. Most of the hipster heroes of current American indie-folk fall victim to this effect when they venture deeper into those dark woods (Conor Oberst, M.
An extraordinary and stylish history lesson of an album. Lloyd Bradley 2010 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.