#Sassafras: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings | Give The People What They Want
Record Label: Daptone (Released January 14, 2014)
The word artisan may bring to mind a baker, a brewer, furniture maker or some other craftsman. With the new album from Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, it’s apparent that it also applies to soul music. Sharon Jones and her band-rebound are truly artisan soul musicians and they remind us why they are the ones to beat track-by-track on Give The People What They Want.
Jones spent most of 2013 in a battle with bile-duct cancer, with her Daptone family supporting her while the album was indefinitely postponed. Now she is cancer-free and is ready (following her doctors’ approval) to get back out on the road with the Dap-Kings and return to what she loves. The album stomps off with “Retreat!”, which begins and ends with a reverb-laden footsteps. Sharon unleashes the warning throughout (“play with me and you play with fire”, “Raise your white flag high, ’cause I’m coming in blazing). It’s an unbridled introduction to their latest offering and it doesn’t stop there.
The first single off the album, “Stranger To My Happiness”, is chock-full of the Dap-Kings signature horn section and vocal backups by Saundra Williams, Sheron Lafaye and Starr Duncan (the wonderful Dapettes who contribute so much to the album). “…Happiness” is a danceable strutter of love found only to lost again”. “We Get Along” could very well be a lesson to the listener from Jones. In her words she reminds us all that sun will rise and we will overcome the suffer and strife of our challenges”. Each word rings with truth knowing what Jones has gone through over the past year.
With a late-60′s soul flavor, “Making Up And Breaking Up (And Making Up And Breaking Up Over Again) drifts around like a soul-breeze. Guitar, hand drums, tambourine and everything else that makes up the Dap-Kings is crystal clear and wonderfully dynamic, a trait not found in the din of modern pop and rock radio hits. Following that cut, tremolo’d guitar and a beat reminiscent of Sam Cooke makes “Get Up And Get Out” a treat.
They pick it up on “People Don’t Get What They Deserve”, a quick paced number driven by Homer Steinweiss on drums and Bosco Mann on bass. The band is super-tight with flourishes or timpani and vibraphone. Stretching and cooling own following the work out of “…Deserve”, the band breathes on the album’s closer, “Slow Down, Love”. Take the time to enjoy the last fleeting moments of the album as Jones savors every moment with her love. It’s a fitting closer. An album that brings Jones back to the stage following struggle, closes with encouragement to appreciate each minute and not rush it.