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Health & Happiness Hour (Andy Gunn & Vikki Kitson in session) 20 Jan 2016

This week’s on the Medicine Show Radio Health & Happiness Hour - a session from Andy Gunn, Vikki Kitson & Fraser McLean  ft. tour Cam Penner, ft House Concert Hub artist David Starr ft. album Jurra from The Mekons & Robbie Fulks, with classic music from Eddie…

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CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROPS —LEAVING EDEN (Nonesuch Records)

 

www.carolinachocolatedrops.com 

www.nonesuchrecords.com 

North Carolina-based act, the Carolina Chocolate Drops have since their last record had a change of personnel. In that founder member Justin Robinson has left for pasture new and in his place comes multi-instrumentalist, Hubby Jenkins. A fine vocalist he has the fun of founder members Dom Flemons and Rhiannon Giddens alongside new addition cellist, Leyla McCalla join him for the album and tour dates. 

 

Following in the steps of their last album, Grammy Award winning ‘Genuine Negro Jig’ the Carolina’s have this tine brought in acclaimed Americana musician, singer-songwriter Buddy Miller to produce the first record. It is a knock out too. From beginning to end they probe for new slices of work to accompany their take on traditional African American string band music. For we have lots of banjo, ragtime and hillbilly fare cooked in a skillet over an old belly pot stove. Their music pays homage to the old and at the same time sifts in eclectic strains of hip-hop (hard to believe but it is true) as Giddens sings of being a Country Girl and who, despite living ‘round the world she boasts there is nothing like living in the South. It is this through their affinity to traditional southern ways that the joy is transferred to the listener. The unit are also superb entertainers. Hot as a poker live they are likewise thoroughly entertaining on record and with the likes of ‘Boodle-De-Bum-Bum’ the fact is underlined ten-fold as ragtime and hokum blues meet.   

 

Among the treasures offered we have the sombre, reflective ‘Leaving Eden’ that speaks of meeting your maker and to leave all behind. It also features alongside Giddens’ gentle tones cello and, as a contrast ‘Read ‘Em John’ is an old as dirt African – American piece that is performed a cappella style with only the sound of hand clapping accompanying their fast and furious vocals. Mahalla is a warm, charming instrumental that shuffles along as a beautiful rhythm aids the banjo. Of a sharper feel altogether ‘West End Blues’ is a folklore type affair that speaks of how daddy was a dancing, while the title-track speaks of him going down to Georgia to find work and a whole more as a melancholy feel takes over. Beautiful it is too, and with Giddens sympathetic voice warmed by mandolin and cello etc it is a cornerstone piece. It is on of those songs you grow into the more your hear it.

             

‘Po’ Black Sheep’ pounds out a tune familiar with the south, and of a time 150 years ago. Hand clapping, knee slapping buck dancing fare where you have fiddle and banjo race head to head (aided by bones). Great stuff. Saturday night barn dance music as performed by those who once lived there. While of a cut and thrust feel there is ‘I Truly Understand’ and ‘Run Mountain’ that features pipes. Plus there is the banjo powered ‘Ruby, Are You Mad At Your Man?’ that has Giddens’ to the fore, singing with gusto as the band provided some hot footed picking. Isn’t it great old bluegrass standards gains a new lease of life like this. I can imagine many becoming mesmerised on hearing it when performed live! As for being mesmerised, ‘Pretty Bird’ (traditional) that closes the album is sung, a cappella style by Giddens and there can be few better at doing it in such fashion.

 

                                                Maurice Hope   

Views: 181

Tags: CAROLINA, CHOCOLATE, DROPS

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February 2016

1
Lucinda Williams
104 pts.
The Ghosts Of Highway 20
Highway 20 Records
PV,MOV,PKO,MDW
2
Dylan LeBlanc
82 pts.
Cautionary Tales
Single Lock Records
LK,HB
3
Dori Freeman
71 pts.
Dori Freeman
Free Dirt Records
BH,JAB,SP,DH,ML
4
Buddy Miller & Friends
52 pts.
Cayamo Sessions at Sea
New West Records
JB,AR
5
Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes
42 pts.
Soultime!
Leroy Records
PJ
6
Amelia White
39 pts.
Home Sweet Hotel
White Wolf Records
MF,DHO
7
Sam Outlaw
38 pts.
Angeleno
Six Shooter Records
BR
8
Gunther Brown
36 pts.
North Wind
Continental
CRS
9
Matty Charles & Katie Rose
35 pts.
Catching Arrows
1906 Records
SZ,BM,FB
10
Kreg Viesselman
34 pts.
To The Mountain
Continental Song City
KG,JF
11
Eric Brace & Peter Cooper
32 pts.
C&O Canal
Red Beet Records
 
12
Anna Laube
28 pts.
Anna Laube
Ahhh… Pockets!
EM
 
Buford Pope
28 pts.
The Poem & The Rose
Unchained Records
MP,PH,BK
 
David Ramirez
28 pts.
Fables
Thirty Tigers
JD
 
Kate Campbell
28 pts.
The K.O.A.Tapes (Vol. 1)
Large River Records
TJ
16
Cam Penner
22 pts.
Sex & Politics
Independent
LM
17
Donnie Fritts
21 pts.
Oh My Goodness
Single Lock Records
JBO,TK
18
Eleanor Friedberger
19 pts.
New View
French Kiss Records
 
 
John Moreland
19 pts.
High on Tulsa Heat
Thirty Tigers
JDO
 
Peter Cooper
19 pts.
Depot Lights: The Songs Of Eric Taylor
Red Beet
NC
21
Marlon Williams
18 pts.
Marlon Williams
Dead Oceans
FCE
 
Nathan Bell
18 pts.
I Don't Do This For Love, I Do This For Love
Stone Barn Records
 
23
Pilgrim
17 pts.
Easy People
Horton Records
 
24
Bob Margolin
16 pts.
My Road
VizzTone
RK
 
David Berkeley
16 pts.
Cardboard Boat
Straw Man Music

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