Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, 100 Days, 100 Nights

When Amy Winehouse’s producers wanted to get a ’60s soul and R&B sound for some of the songs on her much lauded “Back to Black” CD they hired The Dap-Kings to back her up.  It was an sj and dap kingsastute choice and it worked brilliantly.  The Dap Kings are an eight-man band (on “100 Days, 100 Nights”; their personnel changes) that are devoted to the sounds, instruments, and recording techniques that characterized ’60s soul music.  In Sharon Jones they have the ideal singer to front the band.

As a singer, Jones is everything Winehouse is not.  Winehouse struck me as a budding talent with solid potential who has traveled only a short distance down the road of learning how to use her voice to its full capacity and who has very little idea about what kind of singer she wants to be.  Jones, on the other hand, is a fully developed gospel-influenced soul singer who knows her voice intimately and uses her very great talents to maximum effect.  She could sing the anger from a hard man’s heart.  Her voice is rich and expressive and she inhabits these songs of heartbreak and love like she’s lived them all her life.

When bands try and reproduce the sound of an earlier era they can easily fall into the trap of sounding like imitators; strangers who are playing the music from the outside.  Jones and the Dap-Kings are so steeped in this music and dedicated to playing it that they have made it wholly their own.  They play it from the inside.  The result is music of an older style that is fresher and newer than most of the mass-produced record company product that is machine tooled for one or another precisely targeted demographic niche. 

The copy of “100 days 100 Nights” I have includes a second CD that features the Dap-Kings in a program that is supposed to mimic a radio show of the ’60s complete with a strident DJ who frequently interrupts and talks over the music trying to be hip.  This thing is so annoying I was only able to get through about 10 minutes before I yanked it out of the CD player. 

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings are the real deal.  If you want an imitation, check out Winehouse.  If you want the real thing, say “No, no no” and give Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings a listen.  If you like ’60s soul, R&B and gospel you’ll be delighted.


01/28/2008 - Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews

1 Comment »

  1. […] in agreement with mine, especially with regard to female vocalists like Annie Lennox, Alice Smith, Sharon Jones, or Amy Winehouse, avoid “The Real Thing”. Possibly related posts: (automatically […]

    Pingback by Review: Jill Scott, The Real Thing Words and Sounds Vol. 3 « Tuned In To Music | 05/05/2008 | Reply

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