Wine manufacturers have learned that an attractive label can often lead to an impulse buy. I have to admit that I am guilty of buying a bottle of wine because I liked the label. Oh! and it was a Shiraz or Cabernet or Old Vine Zin or something I like to drink. But let’s be honest, the label gets me once in a while.
Case in point, Big House Red, which features art that appeals to my kitschy side. You see, it’s supposed to be a jail (Big House). Yeah I know–stale humor, what can you do? I am corny like that. Anyway, for some reason I was drawn to the label, and the fact that it had a cap instead of a cork. Caps maybe nontraditional, but the wine lasts a bit longer before turning to vinegar.
So… I bought it. Not bad and probably worth what I paid ($7.99).
However, they got me. With a silly label, they got me. I still buy Big House Red on occasion, and the marketing folks at that Central California Coast winery can thank their kitschy label and my nerdy tastes.
I was explaining to a friend that album covers can have the same effect. Take for instance, the new Carolina Chocolate Drops album, Genuine Negro Jig.
P-R-E-T-T-Y! right? I mean don’t you want to listen to this album? Now pair this cover with this single:
BAM! You are hooked, right? That’s if you’re doing this honestly, which a good number of folks still do. Well, I am here to tell you that it’s a façade. It’s all fake… they are misrepresenting themselves!
The album is better than the cover and better than Hit’ em Up Style. In fact, it’s fantastic. If you buy the album thinking you’re getting a Hip-Hop/Old-Time fusion mix, you’ll be surprised because it is actually a great little slice of Americana more faithful to Old-Time music and Tin Pan Alley style jazz. It’s a lot of fun, and something I plan to play a lot in the coming weeks–because my kids love it too.
The highlight of the album for me is Reynadine, which is soulfully delivered a cappella by Rhiannon Giddens. There are many covers (like Hit ‘em Up Style – Blu Cantrell) on the album that range from old-time jazz and blues (Your Baby Aint Sweet Like Mine) to modern tracks penned by the likes of Tom Waits (Trampled Rose) and Justin Robinson (Kissin’ and Cussin’). A true test of an album is when you can listen to it while cleaning the kitchen, and the next day listen to it on a long drive. Let’s just say the Drops passed that test.
THE VERDICT: Carolina Chocolate Drops – Genuine Negro Jig (4/5)