Carolina Chocolate Drops | FitzGerald's | Folk & Country | Chicago Reader
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Carolina Chocolate Drops 

When: Sat., Feb. 27, 9 p.m. 2010
Price: $15
With their third album, the brand-new Genuine Negro Jig (Nonesuch), the Carolina Chocolate Drops continue to shine a light on the traditional rural black music that's all but disappeared from popular memory. People today, if they think about prewar American music at all, tend to assume that black folks played the blues and white folks played country, but such a stark racial divide didn't exist at the time—that simplifying fiction only came to be imagined in retrospect. Rhiannon Giddens, Justin Robinson, and Dom Flemons trade lead vocals and swap instruments—banjo, jug, fiddle, bones, kazoo, Autoharp, sometimes guitar—and they've improved greatly as players since starting the band five years ago. Genuine Negro Jig, produced by Joe Henry, augments their customary repertoire of traditional string-band tunes with a couple of originals and versions of some modern songs, including Blu Cantrell's grinding, beat-heavy R & B smash "Hit 'Em Up Style"—not as unlikely a choice as it seems, since its tale of a scorned woman spending all her lover's money fits just fine next to the lyrics of tunes eight or nine decades old. The Chocolate Drops have a fondness for period clothing, but don't expect revivalist rigidity from their performances—they're all about recapturing the anything-goes vitality this music had when it was new. See also Sunday. —Peter Margasak
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