Genuine Negro Jig

Genuine Negro Jig

The first all African-American band to play the Grand Ole Opry, Carolina Chocolate Drops are an old-time revival trio specializing in the traditional ‘30s negro stringband songs that were originally played around campfires and on back porches after long days of toiling in the fields. Back in 2005, Rhiannon Giddens, Dom Flemons and Justin Robinson would travel to Mebane, NC every Thursday night to jam with Joe Thompson, a black fiddler in his 80s who shared with them generations of songs and their history. Genuine Negro Jig resonates with antiquated tones from the past — instruments like kazoo, jug and bones are played alongside banjo, fiddle and guitar as the trio sing in approximated bygone styles. A cover of the old standard “Trouble In Your Mind” was produced with the authentically aged sound of a field recording, and the more ragtime steeped “Your Baby Ain’t Sweet Like Mine” sounds like it’s playing off a thick vinyl 78rpm platter. The trio gives contemporary R&B singer Blu Cantrell’s “Hit ‘Em Up Style” an old-fashioned makeover. (Robinson has stated that for their music, tradition is a guide, not a jailer.)

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