Artist of the Week: Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings is a soul and funk American outfit and popular backing band that was formed in 2000 from the ashes of The Soul Providers and The Mighty Imperials. The band and their label Daptone Records have been at the forefront of a revivalist movement that aims to recapture the feeling of soul and funk music at his golden age (mid-sixties to mid-seventies). They notably refuse to use modern digital instruments and recording gear and use exclusively traditional analog recording equipment.
Despite trying to forge a career as a professional singer since an early age, it was only in her middle age and late nineties that Sharon Jones started to experienced some breakthrough success with a string of singles on Desco Records, which led to being given top-billing in the release, in 2002, of the band’s first record Dap Dippin’ with Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings. The following records, 2005’s Naturally, 2007’s 100 Days, 100 Nights and 2010’s I Learned the Hard Way, stayed true to the formula of presenting their audience inspired sessions of full-force funk, poignant R&B and heartfelt soul that never fail to pay homage to the genres’ glory years (think of James Brown, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield) without coming off as contrived.
The band’s profile expanded considerably in the mid-00s, when they started to feature as a backing band in some of the projects led by DJ/producer Mark Ronson, the most notable of which was Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black.
The new Give People What They Want is another poignant proof that Jones and her band are one of the best acts in the retrofitted classic soul scene when it comes to infuse character, nuance and fun into their music.
João Pedro da Costa is a web studies scholar and a music fan.