Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Carolina Chocolate Drops

What's going on here? When we arrived at Hugh's Room at 7:00, the place was already full of people. By the time the Chocolate Drops took the stage, it was packed with people standing along the walls. Apparently, as many people were turned away as were in the club. These are regional revivalists of a very old musical tradition, not pop-stars. It seems, though, that they have developed quite a following.

That following is well-deserved. They are splendid and versatile musicians, and very entertaining as well. They play what I guess you can lump together as pre-war African-American string-band music, much of which comes from a North Carolina tradition, and taught to them by an 89 year old Carolina fiddler. We heard early blues and jazz influences, medicine show influences, jug band music (Will Shade and the Memphis Jug Band were mentioned)...really quite a variety of things going on musically. They played banjos, fiddles, guitars, kazoos, bones, snare and bass drums, and all three seemed to be able to effortlessly switch between the various instruments.

I love this kind of folk music, but usually, I'm one of the few in the crowd who gets excited about it. What a treat to see such a big and enthusiastic crowd following this stuff. While we were at the show, Tuffy P made the comment that revivalist music is so easily accepted, but in the art world, we rarely see it. How often do you see a painter who is reviving the cubist tradition, for instance? In the art community, we seem to be driven to the new, and by new we mean new every minute every day every year. Food for thought.

If Carolina Chocolate Drops come to your town, I highly recommend you get your tickets early and go see the show. We had a fantastic time.


Candy Minx said...

Great post, I love the photos and see...the DANCING...what I said about Michele Shocked...Hugh's needs dancing room! Bless the band dancing!

I feel there is a whole set of art that you could be blindfolded and dropped off into any local gallery anywhere in North America...and the art is all the same. Revisionist abstract, revisionist landscape, revisionist cubist, revisionist impressionism etc etc.

I wonder my god...where am I every town every city from San Fran to NY to Van to Red Deer has the same stuff being made it's amazing! I don't claim to know what or if anything it means...it just seems kind of remarkable.

As for folk music...and who is enthusiastic...well heh heh you know how I feel about this.

All music is pop music and folk music...but technically all music from the last 100 years is the same music.

I've never understood why people segregate music into genres or get a hate on for some music...when all music...from Radiohead to Carolina Chocolate Drops to Joni Mitchell to Robert Johnson to to Marilyn Manson to AC/DC to Led Zeplin to Madonna to Bob Dylan is BLUES!

It's an illusion of the ego that is consumed with division that separates all this wonderful sound into statures and a compulsion to see separation.

If an alien came to earth...I suspect they would see all the music from the last 100 yrs or a little more as what it is...the blues baby! (corporate record labels feed off this idea of segregation and "hate on" encouraging it)

mister anchovy said...

I appreciate where you're coming from Candy, but I think the statement that "technically all music from the last 100 years is the same music" is a very, very broad generalization. The obvious reason some people prefer some music over other music is that it is simply not all the same, not in structure, attitude, attack,sophistication, melody, harmony or rhythm. People identify for all kinds of reasons with different sorts of music. It represents attitudes and traditions and tribes and so on. I can see your arguement with blues and rock and roll and the common three chord structure we see in a lot of pop music. For some people, though, even different nuances between musics that share a fundamental structure are important because it helps them sort themselves out, and take points of view. An obvious example is hip hop...old school, new school, gangsta and so on.

Carolina Chocolate drops apparently did a square dance at the Old Town School of Folk Music the other day...that would have been a real treat.


music is music is music. As an aficionado of 70's Glam and punk people are surprised that I have taken a shine to this stuff.

I have. If music is good it's good. End of.

Bridget Jones said...

Agree with CM, great post and it sounds like a fantastic time.

Candy Minx said...

Well, I am the queen of over generalization ha ha thats my schtick!

I do agree with the idea that people identify with music for various reasons. I think music sometimes...well often is something chemical...for example I almost crawl out of my skin when it comes to a lot of classical music.

Hip hop is almost an exception to the idea that all the pop music (and it's ALL POP MUSIC) it seems like it when first introduced. it is also extremely challenging to dance to for those hooked on rock and roll...but with a little listening it's recognizable as the blues.

Tribal differences, cliques usages of music do tend to be like the "ego"...and want to separate and divide music into "power" and stature.

I always find this sad...it is again...the corporate record companies that segregate msuic so it can marketed to "age" or "income" or "race" or "society" with the sole purpose of profit.

Music has no colour or age and is the uniter...fortunately artists are always hanging out with each other and collaborating between so-called genres and styles. Music kills hate dead!

Yes, it would have been a riot to be able to participate ina square dance...i am not that well versed in the moves but the workshop seems to feel we will be able to square dance by May...and they are an encouraging lot. Last class...I danced every dance and that was quite a workout...another one today. Hopefully by spring I would be able to get into a real dance and not kill anybody.