Carolina Chocolate Drops, 'Genuine Negro Jig' (Nonesuch)

Critical Mass
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by Jon Young

Erasing the gap between the 1930s and today, this striking North Carolina trio brings a modern sizzle to the legacy of classic African American string bands like the Mississippi Sheiks, with fiddles, banjos, and even kazoos sparking an electrifying ruckus. A raw take on Blu Cantrell's "Hit 'Em Up Style (Oops!)" unleashes scorched-earth sexual warfare, while toe-tapping versions of traditional tunes like "Cindy Gal" peel away nostalgia to reveal a bracing vitality. And the hints of violence in the sleepy original "Kissin' and Cussin'?" will give any sensible person the willies.

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