Carolina Chocolate Drops – A Whole Lotta Sweet (and Hell Yeahs!)

A whole episode of National Public Radio’s show Fresh Air was dedicated to the Carolina Chocolate Drops, undoubtedly because they are so fascinating. The group is an all-black string band, embracing components of old-timey style and instrumentation with banjo, fiddle, jug, bones, and even kazoo, while fusing it with newer elements of  pop and hip-hop. The mix doesn’t just work, it transcends.

During the episode,Terry Gross not only speaks to musicians Rhiannon Giddens, Dom Flemons, and Justin Robinson about their influences and backstory, but also persuades them to play around with their instruments and break down exactly what’s happening in their songs – a musical show and tell.

Yes, you’ll hear songs that sound like they nestle in well with the classic string-band style, often because they are in fact older songs with strong tradition tied into their histories. Songs like “Your Baby Ain’t Sweet Like Mine”,a song attributed to Papa Charlie Jackson, a New Orlean’s banjo player from the early 1900’s:

They are equally able to rock the modern tunes as well as evidenced by their version of Blue Cantrall’s Hit Em Up Style:

Check out the band’s official website for tour dates, more videos, and pictures.


One thought on “Carolina Chocolate Drops – A Whole Lotta Sweet (and Hell Yeahs!)

  1. Robie says:

    Nice post – very informative. I heard that story on Fresh Air too. I wanted to look them up to find out more about them, but I probably would have forgotten all about it if I did not see your FaceBook comment. They have quite a few songs on iTunes, including the new album they were talking about on the show.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s