Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings "Give The People What They Want"

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings return with a triumphant new release that highlights the best of old school soul.

Sharon Jones’story has been one of fighting against the odd, dating back to the 1970s when as a  session singer she faced an uphill battle for recognition. Unable to land a contract as a solo artist she worked as a correction officer at Riker’s prison. In 1996 she began working with Gabriel Roth and Philip Lehman, the founders of Daptone Records. In 2002 Jones released her first recording with The Dap-Kings, the label’s session band, thus beginning a successful pairing and long awaited prestige for the middle- aged singer. As her star was rising Jones was diagnosed in 2013 with stage two pancreatic cancer for which she underwent chemotherapy.

2014 marks Jones’ triumphant return with a new album and tour. You might be tempted to believe the songs on Give the People What They Want are infused with a resiliency that comes from Jones’ recent health battle, but in fact, the songs were largely recorded before her diagnosis. Still there is both a fighting spirit and a sense of defiance that underscores this woman’s personality. Opening with “Retreat” Jones dismisses an undeserving beau, ordering the offending man to retreat. It’s a more aggressive “I Will Survive.” Most songs deal with personal relationships and Ms. Jones is not in a passive mood. “Get Up and Get Out”  and “Making Up and Breaking Up (and Making Up and Breaking Up Over Again)” attest to that.  “People Don’t Get What They Deserve” is the exception to the rule as it examines, with high passion, the unfairness of economic inequality and the betrayal of the American dream.

Once again the songwriting of Gabriel Roth, aka, Bosco Mann, Homer Steinweiss, Cochemea Gastelum, and Joseph Crispiano – all members of The Dap-Kings – is exceptional. These guys capture the essence of old school soul and funk. They roll effortlessly and expertly between early Motown, late ‘60s funk, and the sounds of 1970s Philly soul. Brass blares and puffs, depending on tempo. Organ lines, nearly undiscernible, accentuate arrangements. Bosco Mann’s bass work is impossible to ignore as it highlights nearly every track. Timpani, Vibes, and glockenspiel add new dimension to the percussion. The band has also added the Dapettes – backing singers Saundra Williams, Starr Duncan, and Sheron Lafaye. They make a good thing even better.

Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings bring their tour to the Byham Theater on Sunday, April 13th as part of WYEP’s 40th Anniversary celebration. Tickets are on sale on. Check details at WYEP.ORG.

Rosemary Welsch (Afternoon Host)