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Leaving Eden

4.6 out of 5 stars 136 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Leaving Eden, CCD's second full-length Nonesuch disc, was produced by Nashville stalwart Buddy Miller, the go-to guy for artists ranging from Solomon Burke to Robert Plant to Emmylou Harris. On this 15-song collection, recorded live in the studio with all the players in a single room, the Carolina Chocolate Drops illustrate their own adaptability to grow and change. Following the amicable departure of founding member Justin Robinson, band mates Rhiannon Giddens and Dom Flemons recruited three exceptional new players for the recording and expanded their repertoire to incorporate more overt blues and jazz elements and straight-up folk balladry alongside brilliantly rendered string-band tunes. Robinson's replacement is Hubby Jenkins, a Brooklyn-bred guitarist, banjo player, and singer who had previously busked his way around the country. Joining the revamped trio in Miller's studio were beat-boxer Adam Matta, introduced to them by the NYC gypsy punk band Luminescent Orchestrii, with whom CCD released a live EP on Nonesuch, and New Orleans-based cellist Leyla McCalla.
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Digital Booklet: Leaving Eden
Digital Booklet: Leaving Eden
Album Only

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 28, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: February 28, 2012
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B006X08FDA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,928 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Rhiannon Giddens' voice in the title track, with Dom Flemon's chops.... And I am home!

Delivering a wonderful sonic mixture of Mid-to-late 19th Century Black American Music and reels, jigs, hoe-downs, near-folk-rock, a killer ring-shout, and even Caribbean-influenced tunes--put this album on a par with the Grammy-winning Genuine Negro Jig from a couple of years back.

This outstanding recording is clearly live in studio (as I hear everything while these amazing musicians go all out, full-tilt, and cakewalk to town and back and then do it again!) and being live on recording was a great call. It gives the Carolina Chocolate Drops a touch of their on-stage feel in your house, car, living-room, headphones, and on--and that makes it all the better. This recording is a blast to listen to, no-matter where you are while enjoying this outstanding album or what your audio player of choice happens to be, in the moment.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops are wonderfully all over the map with their instrumentation and the sheer virtuoso performances by each and every musician (including the outstanding new multi-instrumental member Hubby Jenkins--who replaced Justin Robinson,) this album surpasses the last (major album--as they have lots of little EP's and co-operative efforts) in sheer exuberance. It is impossible to ignore (nor would one want to!,) Adam Matta as the Chocolate Drop's mouth-music-making beat-boxer extraordinaire. Listen to Country Girl, and you'll think he is the drummer--until he plays around a bit to prove that it is all his fantastic face (um, sound-wise;-) making those noises.
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Format: Audio CD
I've loved the Carolina Chocolate Drops ever since their first release on the Music Maker label and I've had the pleasure of seeing them perform, both together and individually, at a few folk festivals as well as the International Folk Alliance. They continue to astound me with both their knowledge of a wide range of music styles and their talent at performing on an amazing variety of instruments - all acoustic.

The group consists of multiinstrumentalist Dom Flemmons, vocalist and fiddle player Rhiannon Giddens and guitarist/mandolin player Hubby Jenkins About half of the 15 tracks here are "traditional" while others come from early music pioneers like J.E. Mainer, Cousin Emmy and Hazel Dickens. But they really mix it up by including the Tin Pan Alley song "No Man's Mama" composed by Lew Pollack and Jack Yellen and originally recorded by Ethel Waters. "West End Blues" is not to be confused with the classic Louis Armstrong instrumental but is the song that banjoist Etta Baker wrote to which Giddens added lyrics. Speaking of Giddens, if you liked her take on the pop hit "Hit `em up style" on the last CCD album, you'll love "I'm A Country Girl" on this one.

I could go on and on about how great this album is but listen to some samples and I think the Drops will convince you (that is, if you aren't already a fan).

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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Format: Audio CD
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Carolina Chocolate Drops
"Leaving Eden"
(Nonesuch, 2012)
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A richly diverse, challenging record from a vigorous, intelligent band... another wily mix of old-timey music and backwoods blues from a contemporary band that mines the more obscure corners of the African-American musical heritage. The Chocolate Drops hearken back to the 19th century minstrel show days and the bluesy jug bands of yesteryear. Their fourth album pushes the group into more self-consciously modern territory, with songs such as "Country Girl" and "Leaving Eden" that stray from their more traditional roots, and bring them closer to the style of Americana groups such as the Be-Good Tanyas, Uncle Earl, et.al.. You gotta love their unruly sound, though, with the squeaky fiddle and super-plunky, thrashed-out banjo, particularly when paired up with now-arcane, old-school instruments such as the hambones, as heard on their version of "Ruby, Are You Mad At Your Man." Highlights include "Boodle-De-Bum-Bum," a great jugband tune that's one of many styles in an eclectic mix that adventurous Americana fans will want to check out. Fun stuff! (DJ Joe Sixpack, Slipcue Guide To Country Music)
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There are some really great tracks on this CD and a few that just don't do anything for me. I had two very different reactions -- wonderful, and disappointing. I bought the album mainly for the song "Leaving Eden". It is a beautiful and touching song and performed so well by Rhiannon Giddens on vocals when I saw them live. The YouTube video of CCD perfoming "Leaving Eden" at the Grand Ole Opry is also brilliant, and well worth taking the trouble to listen. However, I thought that the track of this song on the CD lacked power and did not move me nearly as much as their Grand Ole Opry performance. Still these guys are great musicians and so fun to watch performing.
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