on January 14, 2014
After years of growing in popularity, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings have relatively cemented their stronghold on Soul music. Sharon's powerful vocals backed by one of the best bands in the world simply moves you. Fresh off a recent cancer battle, the album opens with the anthem "Retreat!" which took on new meaning to be sure after her diagnosis; Sharon belting "I'll chew you up and then I'll spit you out, so if you know what's good for you...Retreat!" Take that cancer! Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings are a rare find these days - a singer and a band for the music's sake and nothing else. Turn on "Making Up and Breaking Up" and drift away...pure excellence.
on January 14, 2014
"Give the People What They Want," is, in a word, marvelous. Sharon Jones has an incredibly rich and noteworthy voice. She lays down tracks that sound like a cross between one of the best jazz bands you have ever heard, a soul group and a 1960's-style Motown group. There isn't a sour note to be found on this album, and every song on this album is strong.
"Retreat" -As she belts out the lyrics to "Retreat," Ms. Jones' voice is tinged with the enjoyment and satisfaction she would feel putting the man in his place. As incredible as her voice is, when she hits the high notes, she does so with class, her powerful voice fully supported by every musician's best friend, a strong diaphragm. (If you're not familiar with the reference, the diaphragm is the muscle below your lungs that allows you to project your voice) The saxophone countermelody and the echoing refrains of "Retreat" from the group add to the fun, giving the song a party atmosphere. The lyrics and the music make this a song of retribution "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." You have, indeed, been warned!
"Stranger to My Happiness" starts out with sound effects that resemble the sounds you'd hear from an alien spaceship. A strong bass sax line starts up, and the song takes off. The "alien" sound effects and the frequent repetition of "mystery" create the illusion that the singer doesn't know or understand how this man has such strong power over her, making her do things that are against her better judgment.
The song, "We Get Along" is a soft song with a strong message on the importance of trying to get along with other people. The message starts on a personal level, and is expanded out to the world at large with a touching verse about war.
The rest of the album lives up to the high standards set by the first three songs on the album. Each song is interesting in its own right, and for different reasons. Don't hesitate. Just treat yourself buy this album. I did, and it's incredible!
on February 2, 2014
When Give the People What They Want (2014) opens with dramatic timpani hits and Morse Code guitar licks, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d accidentally queued up Motown’s Hitsville U.S.A. box. Sharon Jones & her expert backing band, the Dap-Kings, perfectly capture the sound, the spirit, and most importantly the SOUL of late-60s-early-70s Motown and especially Stax/Volt.
From the classic analog production to the bracing horn charts to the sassy backing vocals to Sharon Jones’s singular delivery, this is music that could could’ve been made in 1969 just as easily as 2014. “Retreat!” lets you know what happens when a woman doesn’t get another 7-letter “r” word (hint: think Aretha); “Now I See” uses unexpected meter shifts to communicate the disorientation that accompanies the discovery that “once a friend [is] now an enemy;” the economic inequality attacked by the hard-driving “People Don’t Get What They Deserve” is as characteristic of the Great Recession as it was of the Great Society.
This is all pretty standard territory for classic R&B. But it’s exceptionally well-executed; and anyway, innovation isn’t precisely the point. The point is to get funky. And mercy, mercy me do Sharon & the Dap-Kings succeed. This isn’t slavish imitation either: slot these originals into a playlist with Otis Redding and Mavis Staples and they’ll fit right in, in terms of sound and in terms of quality both.
Give the People What They Want was originally slated for release in August 2013, but had to be delayed due to Jones being diagnosed with bile duct cancer. She’s shown the same grit and determination in her fight with cancer that she brings to her performances, here and throughout her career – “Retreat!” applies equally to her ex-lover and to her disease. Both in her personal and professional lives, Sharon Jones is the real deal.
on February 15, 2014
Sharon Jones is back (a blessing!) with a program of ten original songs all composed by the Dap-Kings (various members) and produced by Dap-Kings bassist Bosco Mann, the composer of half these gems. This is like a trip back to soul radio circa 1965-1970.
Sharon Jones is a lead singer equal to just about any of the female soul legends, and her backing vocalists, the Dapettes, take a backseat to no one either. Add to that the fabulous Dap-Kings' musicianship and Bosco Mann's wall-of-sound production (I count 15 instruments on the rousing opening track, "Retreat!"), and we are in classic late-sixties soul-and-funk heaven.
Track 2, "Stranger to My Happiness," would have given Motown a run for its money back in the day, but my favorite is "Making Up and Breaking Up (And Making Up and Breaking Up Again)" [I just had to include the complete title!], which would have been a perfect follow-up record to Barbara Mason's 1965 soul [#2] and pop [#5] smash "Yes, I'm Ready" on the Arctic label. It has that same cool Philly-soul sound that set the table for the Stylistics six years later. I also dig the insistent groove and the message of "People Don't Get What They Deserve." The fifth superb Bosco Mann-penned song is the slow-cooking, sizzling and sexy closer "Slow Down, Love."
Of the non-Bosco Mann-limned five, I most favor baritone saxophonist Cochemea Gastelum's funk-groover "Long Time, Wrong Time." Okay, this is becoming a problem now: I can't stop naming favorites! How about "We Get Along," "You'll Be Lonely," "Now I See" and "Get Up and Get Out"? I need to stop writing and resume listening!
on April 1, 2014
After I saw them performing Making Up and Breaking Up on Jimmy Kimmel Live I came here to search for their CD with that song.
This also has another song they did live on JKL that wasn't broadcast...go to ABC's site to find his show and performance clips.
The song that didn't make it to air on JKL, People Don't Get What They Deserve, is now my new theme song!
If you like funk/soul music, for example Tower of Power, Jack Mack & The Heart Attack, Sly Stone, Average White Band...you'll LOVE this!
My only issue is that I wish some of the mixes were crisper. The bass sounds "muffled" on the first track and a couple others.
They've been around for a long time and I hope they'll finally get the recognition and financial rewards they deserve.
IMHO Sharon and the fellas are a hard working talented group of people who should be WAY more famous by now given all the years they've poured their souls into their music.
on August 14, 2014
Sharon Jones knows a thing or two about hard times. Last year, she dealt with a health scare that ultimately pulled her off the road and away from the studio when doctors discovered she had stage two pancreatic cancer. After rigorous chemotherapy and now with a testimony of longer life, Jones is thankful to be alive. She is cancer-free and more than eager to return to work, such is her legendary work ethic. Already, she and her brass-carrying Dap Kings are back on the road with their sixth album, Give the People What They Want. Technically speaking, it might be their finest collection assembled to date.
The large incorporation of analog-sounding Motown, unbridled energy and classic soul heard on their previous outings continues on this trek, but the songs on this round are catchier and more accessible. Like a beasty version of Carla Thomas served on a righteous platter of Otis Redding exercises, Jones sounds abundantly impassioned, even when she’s presented with flaky B-side filler (“Get Up, Get Out,” “Now I See”). Luckily for Jones (and Bosco Mann, Dap King bassist and prominent songwriter), there’s very little filler to tinker with. “Retreat” plays like the Funk Brothers culling out a dark sequel to “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” while the charbroiled sounds of “We Get Along” plays with old school Stax and Betty Wright motifs. Studying the art of Jack Ashford’s tambourine punctuation and H-D-H’s psychedelic probes on those classic Motown records pays off for the retro band on “Stranger to My Happiness,” where Jones fearlessly belts across the Dap-Kings’ swaggering funk like a first-rate soul diva.
Even when the back of the disc is exhibited, it shows no problem in giving Jones’ longtime fans what they demand. And although the ten-track set once again seems prematurely cooked due to the brevity of the songs’ radio-restricted time capsules, Jones and crew are giving a palette of sweet heartbreak (“Making Up and Breaking Up”), King Curtis jams (“Long Time, Wrong Time”) and R&B throwbacks (“Slow Down Love”) to play with. Far superior to 2007’s 100 Days, 100 Nights and a modest step up from 2012’s Soul Time!, Give The People What They Want does just that.
on April 19, 2014
Oh My Gosh! I love Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. If I could give this CD ten stars I would. She is a delightful throwback to a time when soul was real soul and the Philly and Motown sounds ruled radio. If you want fresh but retro, new with a dab of the old and a voice that will take you back home again, invest in this CD. You will not be disappointed!
on November 4, 2014
I was torn between giving this CD 4 or 5 stars, but in the end I realized that there simply were no weaknesses to be found on this album; no weak songs and certainly no lack of effort from the dynamic Sharon Jones. Simply put: this is sheer soul pleasure.
If you've been a fan of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings' other fine albums --- and they are all worthwhile --- I think that getting this one qualifies as a no-brainer. You know what to expect and the songs don't disappoint. Songs with deep hooks, punctuated by the vibrant horn section, and Sharon's emotional vocals stirring the pot. Really, soul fans are lucky to have someone who shows their retro soul roots so proudly, and does it all so well.
Sharon Jones and her band are first class all the way. If you are fan of the golden era of 1970s soul, or just like dynamic R&B music, don't miss this one.
For the sake of its relative importance to this review,I do have a personal experience with Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings this year. I was watching 2013's annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade-enjoying the usual parade of happy balloons and the floats,which often contained a musical act of course. Most of them were of course second tier teenpop acts of today. Some of then such as Ariana Grande were not actually half bad. But much to my surprise this band appeared performing "Ain't No Chimney's In The Projects"-an extremely atypical type of Christmas song to be appearing at such an event. Shortly after that I learned about the release of this particular album this year. No needless to say I was extraordinarily excited seeing as their last album,while excellent,was basically a collection of outtakes. Whatever the situation,this album is certainly not disappointing to me.
"Retreat" starts out the album with a hugely percussive stop-start rhythm with some lightening fast blues/funk chord changes. "Stranger To Happiness", and "Get Up And Get Out" both deal with a strongly polished Motown styled uptempo sound while "You'll Be Lonely",with its stuttering guitar riffing and slow crawl,represents fine hard Crescent City style funk at some of its finest. "Now I See" goes into the horn heavy soul shuffle with a very strong roadhouse blues style melody-showing how strongly those musical ideas mingled together so well to begin with. "Making Up And Breaking Up" is a grandly performed balled with a beautifully reverbed multi-tracked vocal chorus for that otherworldly flavor. "Long Time,Wrong Time" has this strong electric piano Memphis gospel/soul-funk attitude with it's stripped down atmosphere. "People Don't Get What They Deserve" is fast paced Windy City style funk/soul "people music" frankly addressing the inequities between the econimic classes which,sadly,still continues the world over. "Slow Down Love" is a dynamic,horn break oriented ballad to close out this album.
Yes its short but,of course in the Daptone tradition the analog era minded flavor is maintained throughout. Of course two things album this album that I appreciate is the Dap Kings total devotion to their instrumental sound and songwriting. They always realize that its not only important to play "real instruments",but also to have the creative vision to produce with with strong recording values and substantive lyrical content. Not only that but this is also a band that never ceases to emphasize uptempo funk and soul with prominent melodic content as well. As long as Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings are around,there'll be very little chance that people will think of retro soul as some type of generational trend. This band is always emphasizing the instrumental and melodic importance/vitality that the mid/late 60's style soul/funk process era which they've embraced had to offer. They've done that progressively more so with each of their progressive albums. Somehow or other,each and every time there is just a little more growth and a little more power to their approach. So I can only hope they'll keep bringing the positive end of the soul and funk spirit out in their music for a long time to come!
on April 17, 2015
I love her, I love the band, I love their sound, I love their attitude, they are great live and I have seem them three times. If you dig 1960s soul before disco, schmaltz and rap killed it forever and then buried it under ten feet of concrete is this for you: a NEW band operating in the 21st century with the sound and feel of classic soul when that meant grits & gravy and chicken n' honey. Beautiful and yet not a nostalgia act or an imitation for Ms. Jones has lived the tough life of which she sings herein. Free Huey!