Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings: Give The People What They Want (My record of the week)
A bit of soul and R&B revival continues to happen. Along with the return of the likes of Mavis Staples and Bettye Lavette along with new acts like Alabama Shakes, there is proof that soul and R&B is healthy and alive. Since 2005, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings have been releasing records that not only give a healthy nod to the past, but also bring the sound of classic soul up to the present.
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings release their fifth record consisting of new material. This release continues to find them in top form. The opening track “Retreat” gets the show going. The horn blasts, the groove, the voice (this song could be a huge hit if radio was bold enough to play it), sets the tone for rest of the album. The rest of the songs continue with the solid Motown-sounding “Stranger To My Happiness” and finish with the heart-tugging ballad “Slow Down, Love”.
While the 11-piece Dap-Kings are supremely tight and set the groove perfectly, the real star here is Sharon Jones’ voice. Her voice is full of character and soars when it needs to and shows restraint at the appropriate times. It would not be out of line to compare her voice to some of the great soul singers from the ‘60s like Aretha Franklin, Etta James, and Irma Thomas.
Even though the album is brief (the ten songs clock in at 34 minutes), there is not a wasted note or moment to be found. The songs sound effortless and flow extremely well. This album has been on constant play since I broke the cellophane off and put it on the turntable.
On a side note, this is a beautiful comeback album of sorts. With Jones being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2013, it is great to hear her voice as strong as it is, and that she plans on touring again as soon as she is finished with her treatments. Hopefully, her health will continue to improve and we can continue to hear Jones and her Dap-Kings make wonderfully amazing records.
A second side note…. Upon buying this at one of my local independent record stores, I was given a bonus 45 of two unreleased songs not on the full length. The songs “Calamity” and “Ain’t Nobody” are so good; I wonder how they decided to leave those off the album. Definitely worth hunting those songs down.