I love the old Motown style of music. When I am in need of musical revival, I will almost always reach way back into my music collection for a little Stevie Wonder or The Jackson 5 or Sam & Dave or Aretha Franklin or Al Green...etc. So, I was incredibly happy a year or so ago to hear about Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings.
In a music industry over-saturated with American Idol winners and runners-up and compressed recordings, you might not expect Sharon Jones and company to make a blip on the radar. First of all, she is 53 years old, which is not a common age for a musical star to arise. Before being a recording artist, Jones worked as an armored car driver for a bank as well as a prison guard at Riker's Island. Without getting into the whole story (which you could probably get either from reading back-issues of Paste Magazine or by visiting her Wikipedia page), suffice to say that she has been able to quit her day job and make amazing music.
As her influences, she cites James Brown, Otis Redding, Tina Turner, and Marva Whitney. Her (and the band's) recording style seeks to bring revival to the funk/soul movement of the late 60's and early 70's. In doing so, they have opted against any modern digital recording methods in the studio. So, their albums have not been digitally compressed or altered. Also, no instrument can be played that was not available into the mid-70's.
I had already owned Jones' previous album, 100 Days, 100 Nights, and it was good. However, I think they are just hitting their stride with the newest album, I Learned the Hard Way, which just released a few weeks ago. Currently, my two favorite songs on the album are, "The Game Gets Old" and "She Ain't a Child No More." While these are my personal favorite tracks, the whole album is well worth a listen.
Here is a video of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings performing "She Ain't a Child No More" on the Colbert Report last week:
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings - She Ain't a Child No More|