Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings - Give The People What They Want

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings
Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings Give the People What they Want.jpg
Click on CD cover
to listen or purchase

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.

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. Wisely recommended.

By J Matthew Cobb

 
Listening Room - Lizz Wright - Grace
Choice Cut - Toni Redd - "Take Me To Paradise"
Song of the Month - Phillip Brandon - "Come On"
CD of the Month - Najee - Poetry In Motion

Leave a comment!