The Carolina Chocolate Drops’ show at the Orange Peel in Asheville on December 4th 2011 was an exciting, foot stompin’, thigh slappin’, hoot hollerin’ event filled with old timey goodness.
Before the show, I’d listened a number of times to two of their albums, the more traditional Dona Got a Ramblin' Mind, their first album, and one of their newer albums, the 2010 Grammy winner Genuine Negro Jig, which puts a bit of modern spin on old timey music. I highly recommend both, but admit to a personal preference for the latter, with two, for me, standout tracks in “Hit 'em Up Style” and “Cornbread and Butterbeans”, but they’re all great. And as good as this album is, it doesn’t even begin to reflect how fantastic these folks are live. Simply wow!
Not only do they put on an amazing show, they do a phenomenal job of making the audience feel included, like we’re all hanging out in someone’s living room, listening to some great live tunes. Dom Flemons, Rhiannon Giddens, Hubby Jenkins and the newest member, a bassist whose name escapes my mind (and numerous Google searches), were amazing multi-instrumentalists, getting the crowd roaring with rockin’ tunes and a whirlwind of different instruments, from fiddle and banjo, bass and guitar, to more exotic instruments like kazoos, jugs and bones. They even had a local musician, a local busker I think, come out and play the saw. For a few numbers, the Green Grass Cloggers - a local clogging group - came out and made for an extra rollickin’ good time.
I took all the pictures here on the blog, though I didn’t take any video. If you want a little taste though of what you missed, someone took a video of the Drops’ version of Ethel Water’s No Man’s Mamma with surprisingly decent audio here.
In summary, you should pick up any of the Carolina Chocolate Drops’ albums, though my recommendation would be Genuine Negro Jig.