Friday, 23 November 2012

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - Soul Time!

Taut funk grooves, and soulful social commentary from the world's greatest contemporary soul band.

The soul powerhouse that is Daptone Records is the closest thing we have to a modern day Motown or Stax Records. Continuously putting out great singles and albums that hark back to the classic soul and funk era of the 60's and 70's while satisfying a thoroughly modern desire for something authentic, human and emotional. They stand as a beacon of hope in the avalanche of plasticity that is modern day conveyor belt pop. Soul time indeed.

The Dap-Kings of course are well known for having been Amy Winehouse's backing band of choice. So if you're not familiar with the records they've made with Sharon Jones, chances are you'll have heard them on Back To Black or Rehab. It's backing Sharon Jones however where it all slots into place. Like Aretha Franklin she possesses a voice that commands and demands respect, along with the ability and emotional range to sing dance-floor shakers, vulnerable ballads, and social protest anthems. All of which take their place on their latest platter.

Click over the jump for more on Soul Time!
Comprising of long time stage favourites and singles not before available on LP, SOUL TIME! Is a generally more uptempo affair than their previous albums, and acts as something of a tribute to the mighty James Brown. His spirit is all over this record, right down to the cover art, a painting of Ms. Jones in a similar style to that of the Godfather's Live At The Apollo album.

Kicking off with the double whammy of Genuine Pt. 1 & 2 (very James Brown titles!), super tight but still funky bass lines with meticulous horn blasts, not a note out of place but still with a spontaneous intensity. Longer And Stronger follows with more of a laid back Stax-vibe, Jones reflecting on the passing years over Steve Cropper style guitar licks and mellow rolling beats.

It's the early 70's protest era that gets evoked on the music for What If We All Stopped Paying Taxes? Though this is no retro trip, its message and sentiments making it a timely protest in an age of war, national debt, social decay, inflation and banker's bonuses. Similarly, Ain't No Projects In The Chimneys, though on the surface a light-hearted look at Christmas through a child's eyes highlights the ever growing gap between the haves and the have-nots.

Though it not all politics and protest, with the complexities of adult love getting their representation on the likes of Motown-style stomper New Shoes, and the groovily seductive When I Come Home. There's even room to round things off with a soothing cover of Shuggie Otis' Inspiration Information, so you can rest your feet after all the dancing.

Click here for Sharon Jones And The Dap-Kings' official website.