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Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings: New and Classic Soul from Brooklyn

Posted by on January 3, 2014

Sharon Jones from the front row at Sodo in Seattle.

Sharon Jones is one of the great soul performers of our time.

Backed by fellow Brooklynites The Dap Kings, Sharon is a vocal force of nature and one of the most impressive dancers you’ll ever see.

The band’s new record Give The People What They Want is just out. It’s maybe their best album to date. Check out the animated video for the single “Retreat.”

[youtube=http://youtu.be/PrOYkHjdpdM]

So far my favorite song from the new record is “Stranger to My Happiness.”

Oh those horns!

[youtube=http://youtu.be/No6vqOj_LhQ]

Sharon Jones was born in 1956 in James Brown’s hometown of Augusta, Georgia.

Her first performances as a child singer were in her local church, where she was trained in gospel.

At home in her room growing up, Sharon was attracted to talent on the radio and TV.

She sang along with vocalists Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin. Mirrored the dance moves of James Brown, and rocked out with the cast of Soul Train.

Her family moved to Brooklyn when she was a teenager, where she fell for disco and funk in the 1970s.

In the 80s some of her music managers told Sharon Jones she was “too dark-skinned and short” to front a band.

Her impeccable pipes and wide range got her work as an uncredited studio back-up vocalist. She became frustrated with the industry finally and went back to singing in the church.

Sharon took a job as a prison guard and wouldn’t return to the music biz until 1996.

In her late 40s – it was 2002 – Sharon Jones recorded with The Dap-Kings and released her first full-length record Dap-Dipping….

A formidable rhythm machine, Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings started to pack crowds into clubs.

The first really great song they dropped was on the next record Naturally. “How Long Do I Have To Wait for You”.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bcycn7fZuBs]

Sharon and me, at the KEXP Triple Door show, 2007.

Sharon and me, at the KEXP Triple Door show, 2007.

When I interviewed Sharon Jones for this KEXP Documentary (part of the series The Heart of Soul) she said she tries to stay humble.

Sharon said that when she’s onstage she leaves her mind behind and steps into the song.

In 2007 this was most evident on the title track to their new record 100 Days 100 Nights.

The song had not only the best groove, but also great advice.

“One hundred days, one hundred nights to know a man’s heart.

And a little more before he knows his own.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ouI5KcyHfE]

2010’s I Learned The Hard Way sported a few amazing tracks, including the title song. The best track by far is “Better Things”. The perfect groove.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/DBzB8TvxplM]

Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings play The Seattle Showbox on April 2nd. See you there!

The new release just dropped. Pick it up and find the full concert schedule at Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings’ official site.

Tune in to DJ Michele Myers Friday nights at 9pm on KEXP 90.3FM Seattle, kexp.org. Music historian & producer, Michele’s made over 200 radio stories for KEXP Documentaries. She’s written scripts, lesson plans & features for the Smithsonian, Experience Music Project, the University of Washington & NPR.

One Response to Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings: New and Classic Soul from Brooklyn

  1. Noelle

    Ahhh. I love sharon Jones so much. She is such an inspiration. Her voice cuts through, has so much depth, the way it growls at times, it sounds worn out but in the most beautiful way. God bless her SOUL. such a refreshing voice and story, esp this day in age. Sharon Jones is my inspiration and thank you for writing this article about her 🙂

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