The previous post on two soulful big bands from the 1970s was intended as an introduction to one of my favorite new singers and bands. I first heard Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings by reviewing music playlists from the hit show “Entourage” and finding “Pick It Up, Lay It In The Cut”. Then I saw the Dap-Kings perform on Austin City Limits last November, sitting with my friend Ryan B. in his home in Palm Springs. Sharon is sensational in that performance, a performance style similar to the great James Brown. In fact, she is originally from Augusta, Georgia, James Brown’s home town. If you ever see Sharon Jones listed as the artist on Austin City Limits, TiVo the program and watch her work. It’s so good.
Sharon moved to Brooklyn, NY, where she teamed up with the Dap-Kings, who gained notoriety by doing an album with British singer Amy Winehouse, including her hit song “Rehab”. Their performances with Sharon Jones are more compelling. We’ll start with good ones and move to great:
I must thank Daptone Records for making these fine videos available. It’s a good time to introduce Sharon Jones. Here is her interview after the Austin performance, which gives an indication of her warmth and humor, with a healthy dose of wisdom and perseverance:
This is a type of music that I am very comfortable with. Sharon sings with power and finesse. The Dap-Kings make a sound reminiscent of the Muscle Shoals rhythm section (think “I’d Rather Go Blind” by Etta James), with two drums and two guitars, bass and three horns. Lots of room for each voice in the band to be heard. Sharon is the consummate frontman, getting the crowd involved. When I saw her in concert earlier this year in a small venue, she invited at least 15 different people up on stage to dance and sing with her. Boy it was exciting.
All that’s left is a larger repertoire of songs. Adding “I’m Not Gonna Cry” to the Wish List. A fairly conservative rating is given to the studio recordings on the collection, subject to upgrade if they stand the test of time. I am confident they will add more good songs; it’s less clear whether they will diversify. The greatest bands change over time, and create music significantly different than when they started.
What a band! Why aren’t these people famous? Too fat, too dark, too old? The “problem” of what marketing geniuses decide to sell to the public, though always a factor, now completely prevents some talent from rising to the top. In order to find great new music, I never look to modern pop radio or video stations, where music is pushed from the top down. You find it elsewhere.
The beauty of this, for the true music aficianado, is that most if the great bands play smaller concert venues, with quieter, more respectable crowds, and we can hear and see these wonderful musicians up close. I just wish they could receive the wealth they richly deserve.
Pick It Up, Lay It In The Cut, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings ✭✭✭
Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In), Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings ✭✭
How Do I Let A Good Man Down?, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings ✭✭✭
How Long Do I Have To Wait For You?, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings ✭✭✭
How Long Do I Have To Wait For You? (Ticklah remix), Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings ✭✭
Nobody’s Baby, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings ✭✭
Tell Me, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings ✭✭✭
Let Them Knock, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings ✭✭
Be Easy, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings ✭
Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In), Kenny Rogers & The First Edition ✭✭✭
If This Ain’t Love (Don’t Know What Is), Nicole Willis and the Soul Investigators ✭✭