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The Bible's right, somebody's wrong. Ah mean, you are wrong - Sister O.M. Terrell, The Bible's Right

Author Topic: Carolina Chocolate Drops  (Read 1040 times)

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Offline lindy

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Carolina Chocolate Drops
« on: August 18, 2011, 08:25:11 AM »
Once again I braved the 10 blocks of sidewalk from my apartment to the Seattle Zoo for an outdoor concert, this time for the Carolina Chocolate Drops. What a show!

The thing that impressed me most was that it was a sold-out event, at least [ ** 2,000 ** just found out, it's 3,800! ** ] people showed up to hear a set list that included:

A tune from Joe Thompson, a black Carolina fiddler who I think is still alive and playing at age 92 (,

?Don?t Get Trouble in Your Mind,? which I?ve heard done by the New Lost City Ramblers,

Papa Charlie Jackson?s ?Your Baby Ain?t Sweet Like Mine,?

J. E. Mainer?s ?Run Mountain, Chug a Little Hill,? with Dom Flemons playing banjo and quills on a rack,

?Camptown Hornpipe? in a medley with another tune from Brigg?s mid-19th century banjo instruction book,

Ethel Waters? ?Anticipation,?

?I Truly Understand, You Love Another Man,? originally recorded by Shortbuckle Roark during the same Bristol recording sessions that gave the world Jimmy Rodgers,

?Poor Black Sheep,? from a field recording of black folk music made by John Work III,

?Polly Put Your Kettle On,?

?Old Cat Died / Brown?s Dream,?

?Sourwood Mountain?

?Read ?Em John,? from the Georgia Sea Islands.

They played some other tunes, including three from an EP they recently made with two members of the Luminescent Orchestrii from Brooklyn, who just happened to be in Seattle this week and added another fiddle and a National guitar to the stage.

Look at that set list! To think, 3,800 people paid a double-sawbuck each to sit on the grass, eat a picnic dinner, and listen to a bunch of old black string band songs and fiddle tunes and breakdowns from three young black performers (plus a fourth Drop who calls himself a ?beatboxer and vocal performance artist?). Reports of this kind of music dying are truly premature.

If Centrum can find the funds, I think it would be great to have Dom Flemons return as an insructor, and to bring the rest of the band with him this time.


« Last Edit: August 18, 2011, 12:12:58 PM by lindy »

Offline Lyle Lofgren

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Re: Carolina Chocolate Drops
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2011, 09:12:15 AM »
I regard the CCDs as the most interesting band to come along in a long time. Purists would say that they're straying too far from the canon, but I regard their explorations as being solidly inside the tradition. Look, for example, at the variety of material that was recorded in the first (1920s) folk boom. We regard many of those tin-pan-alley pieces as traditional, solely because some stringband recorded them.

In order to survive, traditional music has to change by just the right amount to appeal to a new generation without losing the characteristics that made us fall in love with it.

So, I wish them the best of success, and I think they're doing traditional music a world of good without debasing it (as the collegiate trios of the 1960s did).

That's my story, and I'm standing by it.


Offline RobBob

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Re: Carolina Chocolate Drops
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2011, 10:36:59 AM »
They are maturing nicely into a band to be reckoned with.  They play a music from a time forgotten and are making folks aware of a shared heritage that was almost lost.

Offline Stuart

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Offline RobBob

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Re: Carolina Chocolate Drops
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2016, 06:10:46 AM »
I am not so sure Rhiannon has been part of the band lately.  She is the daughter of a Jewish dentist and a Black mother trained in opera and a more than qualified musician.  She sang opera pieces in an Italian restaurant to earn her first banjo, a Deering Goodtime.  She has released an album on her own.  Are the Drops still gigging?

Offline Lastfirstface

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Re: Carolina Chocolate Drops
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2016, 08:49:14 AM »
Isn't Rhiannon the only original member still in the group?

Offline Suzy T

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Re: Carolina Chocolate Drops
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2016, 11:55:47 PM »
Rhiannon is the only original member of the group (the first version I heard was her, Dom Flemons and Justin - I can't remember his last name now, great singer and fiddler, super funky, and amazingly, like Rhiannon, I believe he was trained as an opera singer!).  They've gone through quite a few different configurations in the past few years, incorporating more percussion, beat boxing, etc.  I sure wish I could get to see Shuffle Along with her in it, that is going to be fantastic! I've always loved her pop singing the best of everything that she does.


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