Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings I Learned The Hard Way 2010

I can't believe I haven't mentioned Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings before this! Sharon is the closest thing you're going to find to a living and breathing James Brown. This is her fourth record (all are available on vinyl), and it is the work of a mature artist, band , and label all coming together at once.

Some backstory. Sharon was the first artist released on DapTone Records from Brooklyn, NY. Daptone is a small label that releases Sharon's records as well as ten or so other bands, several including Dap Kings band members. Neal Sugerman, the Dap Kings sax player, is half-owner of the label, and the whole outfit is a tight knit family-style operation. Check it out at Daptone.

This is the new one, and definitely her best. 2005's Naturally comes very close, though, and they are all good. But the songwriting, almost all done in-house at Daptone, plus the recording, the singing, the performance of a smokin' hot band on a mission, it all adds up to a monster soul record. The modern day Otis Blue. These guys are old school, and nobody can do it better, at least not today.

If you like Amy Winehouse (and why wouldn't you like Back To Black- it was killer, and oh, the Dap Kings backed her up on most of it), or James Brown, or Irma Thomas, or funky soul in general, you need this record. The vinyl sounds great, very much like the best of the Stax and Atlantic sides of the sixties out of Memphis.

I could try to describe the songs, and tell you about the hooks, and the great lyrics, and Sharon Jones' amazingly soulful voice. Otis Redding. Sly and the Family Stone. Aretha Franklin. This is not an imitation of authentic soul music. It's the real deal.

Last month Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings played a concert at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame here in C town, and I got to be there. It was incendiary. They are touring the southwest this month, and then they are off to Europe and Australia through early December. Heads up there across the pond, this is a must see band, completely on fire.

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