The Carolina Chocolate Drops and the Black Experience in Country Music


March 1st, 2017 ~ This week, we talk to the founding members of the Grammy award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops. Justin Robinson, Rhiannon Giddens and Dom Flemons started playing music together under the tutelage of legendary black old-time fiddler, Joe Thompson in his backyard shed. The Chocolate Drops came together to carry on the old time and country traditions from the Piedmont region in the Carolinas, but they wanted to do more than just play. They wanted to show their audiences that African American music finds its roots in genres beyond blues and jazz. Then we delve into the archives for our classic conversation with the late, great Ray Charles - and pianist Johnnie Johnson tells us about the surprising origins of Chuck Berry's "Maybellene."

Listen To Hour 1 Listen To Hour 2

Hour One   Hour Two  
  • Open Bed: Peace Behind the Bridge Carolina Chocolate Drops
    Genuine Negro Jig, Nonesuch
  • Open Bed: Vine Street Drag Tennessee Chocolate Drops
    Violin Sing the Blues for Me: African American Fiddlers 1926-1949, OldHat
  • Blue Ridge Mountain Blues Martin, Bogan and Armstrong
    Martin, Bogan and Armstrong/That Old Gang of Mine, Flying Fish
  • John Henry Cephas and Wiggins
    Richmond Blues, Smithsonian Folkways
  • Freight Train Elizabeth Cotten
    Freight Train and Other North Carolina Folk Songs and Tunes, Smithsonian Folkways
  • SEGMENT: Rhiannon Giddens Pt. 1
  • Instrumental: Sitting on Top of the World Jelly Roll Kings
    Off Yonder Wall, Fat Possum
  • Sitting on Top of the World Mississippi Sheiks
    Honey Babe Let the Deal Go Down, Columbia/Legacy
  • Violin Blues Johnson Mountain Boys
    Violin Sing the Blues for Me, Yazoo
  • The Fiddler Claude Williams
    Claude Williams Live at J's Part 1, Arhoolie
  • SEGMENT: Justin Robinson
  • Instrumental: Guitar Rag John Jackson
    Country Blues and Ditties, Arhoolie
  • Blue Yodel #9 Jimmie Rodgers
    The Singing Brakeman, Bear Family
  • Down Yonder Snooks Eaglin
    Snooks Eaglin and Friends, Sonet
  • SEGMENT: Dom Flemons
  • End Bed: Dixie Carolina Chocolate Drops
    Dona Got a Ramblin' Mind, Music Maker
  • Open Bed: Sunshine Twist (You Are My Sunshine) Jelly Roll Kings
    Jelly Roll Kings: Rockin' the Juke Joint Down , Earwig
  • You Are My Sunshine Ray Charles
    The Complete Country & Western Recordings 1959-1986, Rhino
  • I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry Al Green
    Country Meets Soul, Hi Records
  • SEGMENT: Rhiannon Giddens Pt. 2
  • Instrumental: Last Date Willie Mitchell
    Robbin's Nest, Hi Records
  • CLIP: Ray Charles
  • Makes No Difference Now Ray Charles
    The Complete Country & Western Recordings 1959-1986, Rhino
  • Whiskey Heaven Fats Domino
    From Where I Stand: The Black Experience in Country Music, Warner Brothers
  • Grand Tour Aaron Neville
    The Very Best of Aaron Neville, A&M
  • That How I Got to Memphis Solomon Burke
    Nashville, Shout
  • Detroit City Arthur Alexander
    The Ultimate Arthur Alexander, Razor and Tie
  • Almost Persuaded Etta James
    Etta James, MCA
  • Instrumental: Last Date Willie Mitchell
    Sunrise Serenade/Hold It, Hi Records
  • CLIP: Johnnie Johnson
  • Down on the Farm Big Al Downing
    From Where I Stand: The Black Experience in Country Music, Warner Brothers
  • Cotton Fields Charley Pride
    Charley Pride in Person, BMG
  • Cotton Eyed Joe Nina Simone
    Nina Simone Anthology -- The Colpix Years, Rhino
  • The Weight The Staple Singers and Marty Stewart
    Rhythm, Country and Blues, MCA
  • End Bed: Last Date Little Willie John
    Yellow Boogie and Blues, Oldie Blues