Album Watch: What You Should Learn About 'The Hard Way'

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings are an act that I should be keeping close tabs on since I'm a Soul music enthusiast and all, yet I don't. It's possibly because the revival of the 60's/70's sound was so (and still is so) prominent, that I couldn't squeeze them at the table where Amy Winehouse, Raphael Saddiq, Alice Russell and many many others were serving up their slice of vintage pie. And it is strange, as they were one of the first bands to dust off the dancing shoes of the Motown era with everyone following suit remaining the sort of indie darlings of that movement. Yet, they got ignored by me. So I'm mending wounds. True, you can pick up any old vinyl from days gone by and hear the same exact thing this group puts out...but it's something about hearing that sound in the present that has everyone giddy because it feels like seeing an old friend again, yet they are more polished than prior.

 That's what Sharon and The Dap-Kings are. They've smoothed out some rough patches, and slicked it down for the next generation to enjoy, and enjoy we shall. The band and their front woman released their fourth record, I Learned The Hard Way, earlier this week and I didn't want to ignore it's presence, since the group looks oh so serious on the front cover of this album. They are basically saying: "Yeah, this is some good funk-ta-fied soul right here, press play and maybe you could be cooler than us." And cooler they are. 

The Hard Way displays how two singular forces come together to recreate a rousing and punchy sound, plus it sticks to it's guns as a tried-and-true revival piece. There is a lushness about it, and influences you can hear. Then there is Sharon Jones, whose vocals rattle the senses with jubilant phrasing and with a slight Gospel tone. Her voice is worth admission alone. Not only is Ms. Jones a on point in song, she's one feisty person in thought as she's got a quick wit. Listen to what is cooking in the kitchen with two tracks that struck my fancy and if you like what you hear be sure to check out the remainder of the record, or learn the hard way.


Window Shopping

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