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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2006
Too much of the vision of Old Time Music, Black or white, is a misimpression set by the old veterans of the 1920s and 1930s music who were brought back to public attention in the late 1950s and 1960s as sixty, seventy, and even eighty-year olds. The idea of an old time musician was of a wizened old white man, playing music sometimes masterfully, sometimes in manner that reflected their age and distance from playing in a living tradition. In those years young old time musicians (remembering myself as a teenager now) affected the manners of the ancient, in an attempt to be "old timey." Sometimes, as I remember us back in the day, one would be afraid if we late teens on the band stand would keel over and die.

The Dock Boggs, Tom Ashleys, Roscoe Holcombs, and Maybelle Carters of the 1960s were paying music they played when they were hot young people, playing for other young people, playing music of the kind that wild folk who got in trouble, got wild, and played music for people to dance, party, and seek affection to.

My own generation is now reaching the age of the old performers we rediscovered in the 1960s. That and miseducation make too many of our performances even senile, museum piece replications with an educational purpose, rather than good music.

Such is not the case here. You may find this the kind of music to be played to wake the dead or even enliven old farts like me
The Carolina Chocolate drops reverse this trend.It's a good point and word for the wise that the drops indicate each one's age in the liner notes. It is not that they are African Americans playing string band music, but it is that their approach is of young people, thorough musicians, but young people playing this music the way it was intended to be played, as exciting, not always perfect, music to evoke fun, dancing, impure thoughts, and throwing your body and soul into joy.

The band's strength is the great fiddling of Rhiannon Giddens and Justin Robinson. Of course, that fiddling works best with the expert support from the guitar, banjo (tenor, five, and six-string),jug, drum, and general exhortation of musical savant and songster Dom Flemmons. Anyone interested in good old time rhythm banjo and guitar (the most neglected thing in the world of old time music) needs to study this CD.

The music isn't always over technical or overly masterful, but it is much more musical, dancing, bouncing, swinging and fun then a lot of recordings I have of more skilled fiddlers. It is really real. It makes even senile seat addicts like me know one is isn't alive if one does not dance and dance to music like this.

This is why I like the band pieces on this CD much better than the solo pieces, because I think they have a loseness and joy which a number of bands that have been together longer don't keep or find difficulty in achieving. Lets hope that they don't lose this as they become more practiced.

My personal favorites are the pieces that seem to be influenced by their collaboration with African American Heritage fiddler Joe Thompson of Mebane North Carolina. These include Dona Got a Ramblin Mind, Ol Corn Likker, Black Annie, Georgie Buck, and Black Eyed Daisy. I also am fond of their version of Sourwood Mountain, since that song has been done to death as a public school and camp song and by folkies who know nothing about old time music. They infuse the song with a lot of fun excitement and danciability that makes it a lot of fun.

If you can't get enough from the clips here, they are played regularly on the Old Time Music radio program on live 365 Internet radio. Listening to that will get you to buy this CD.

However, anyone with ears should buy this CD. If you dont have the money, get a job. If you cannot get that job, you may have to steal one, because you need it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2007
The Carolina Chocolate Drops are something of a throwback. This recording could have been made 75 years ago. All we're missing are the pops and scratches. A great listen and true to the genre.

My favorite track is "Dixie." CCD have chosen to record a song that we often associate with the Civil War and the Confederacy. There is a just enough of an improvisational feel to this track that you forget the negative undertones this song sometimes evokes. Very nicely done.

A nice mix of instrumental and vocal cuts.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2007
I have been following the Carolina Chocolate Drops for the last two years, and have been blown away by their talent, their respect and passion for the music and their love for performing. I have never seen a Carolina Chocolate Drops concert where the audience wasn't on their feet by the last song. The band members obviously enjoy performing and bringing this style of music to the listener. And they strive to make you a dancer as well!

This album is a wonderful example of what this talented group can do, and what string band music was intended to be...joyous, rambunctious and full of fun. I highly recommend this CD, and encourage you to see this group live if you have the opportunity. They are worth every penny of your admission! But make sure you wear your dancin' won't be able to stay in your seat.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2007
I had never heard of this band, opening for Crooked Still at a concert in Boston. They gave the audience a demonstration of the power of traditional music, to move you to your heart or to your feet. The sheer joy was infectious, and I am afraid the clips from the record available at amazon do not transmit the power of their live performance. I don`t agree with other reviewers peresenting it as a throwback to the old days: These are contemporary young musicians performing at a much higher level of musicianship than some other reviewers have presented. In the middle of a mountain tune, Dom erupts into some of the most amazing monoglian overtone chant I have heard, and in general inserts small gems of wry humor thorughout the whole session. The fiddles give the main musical impetus, but at the concert I attended, Rhiannon`s vocals gave some unfergettable gripping moments, soaring, passionate, coming from a body that obviously lives and loves this form of music. At the end, they had us all on our feet. Give yourself a treat - try the Chocolate Drops!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2007
I listened to Garrison Keillor's "Prairie Home Companion" this past week, and was bowled over by the Carolina Chocolate Drops. I've replayed their segments on the Internet several times since then and I just keep getting more enthusiastic about them.

I haven't heard their CD, but based upon what I've heard on PHC, it's going to be a "must buy."

I was fortunate enough to hear John Hartford, who died a few years ago, live in concert about 10 years or so ago, and I remember one of his stock lines, after playing a lot of his newer -- or unfamiliar -- stuff, he told about a young woman who walked up to the stage after they were about to begin the second half of their program and said "Could y'all play something we know so we can tell if you're any good or not?"

Hartford's tongue was firmly in cheek, of course, but I can't imagine anyone having heard what I did from the Carolina Chocolate Drops would dare assume that they had anything to prove.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2007
This is a wonderful CD i saw them at the live Preformance they did for NPR. This CD is not to be missed!. the music surpasses generations and just is fun and lively to listen to and it is a must to see them in person if at all possible they have such energy and presence on stage and that comes through on the CD as well. After i saw them preform i bought 3 coppies on this CD one for my parents, one for my boyfried and one for me :) i played it for my parents and asked if they liked it and said how could you not like it! i can't say enough good things about the CD or the group, so just buy the CD already.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2008
Having seen this talented group, I was eagerly awaiting this CD to arrive in the mail. Unfortunately, the recording quality is, to my ear, poor. It has a flat somewhat muffled sound, making it sound like it came from a do-it-yourself garage studio. Maybe that was done on purpose? The vibrancy of their stage performance and vocals is just not captured in this recording. I guess my complaint really is about the recording and sound quality issues. Otherwise, I am hoping this amazing group, that is keeping to the true old-timey music tradtions, will continue to prosper and perform. I gave it three stars due to sound quality.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2008
I don't care how many string bands you've listened to, you ain't heard nothing like the Carolina Chocolate Drops. By resurrecting the African-American "Piedmont" style of string-band music, they've brought an electrifying new energy to the genre. The trio add their own enormous musicianship and rootsy attitude to produce a sound that is just breathtaking. Buy the CD -- and if you get a chance to see the band in person, run, don't walk.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2008
I ran across these guys by accident on MySpace and I am SO glad I did! Both this and the related Sankofa Strings album, _Colored Aristocracy_ are great. I am so glad to see people my age that know what old-time is and are out there playing it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2014
This is my second Carolina Chocolate Drops CD. If you truly enjoy music with a hard driving African rhythm, and a Scot-Irish fiddle screaming, then throw in a back mountain banjo, jug, guitar, harmonica and drum, plus quick-worded lyrics, this is your go-to CD. All of the songs and music are great listening, and you will hear different renditions of "Tom Dooley" and "Another Man Done Gone." This group has been around several years and have appeared on TV, most recently on the Marty Stuart Show. I plan on purchasing more of their CDs, I love 'em!
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