Tripod. November 6 2010. Soul-funk singer Sharon Jones tells us it’s the last night of a European tour she and the Dap-Kings started on April 6. From the power in her voice and the way she’s shaking her moneymaker on-stage, it’s not obvious.
Last here two years ago, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings are back in town with a new album, I Learned The Hard Way. All kinds of soul and blues legends – Charlie Musselwhite, for one – tour the US of course, and if they get as far as London, they don’t always make it to Dublin. Little wonder a few hundred 20 to 70-somethings are dancing and swaying for all we’re worth.
Ms Jones is 110 pounds (we know this thanks to bandleader Binky Griptite!) of energy, fun, guts and likeability. Born in Augusta, Georgia, hometown of James Brown, 50-something years ago, she has all the soul, the storytelling craft of someone who grew up singing in church.
100 Days, 100 Nights
Whether she’s talking present-day hard times, setting up the mini-narrative in each song or re-enacting why she loves to dance – it’s in her blood literally, a combination of West African and Native American ancestry – Jones can weave a story, all the while working her way through a stunning setlist from Mama Don’t Like My Man to Window Shopping.
How Do I Let A Good Man Down?
And then there’s the legendary Dap-Kings, aforementioned Griptite, Dave Guy, Thomas Brenneck, Neal Sugarman, et al, houseband for Brooklyn-based, indie label, Daptone Records, whose funky tones you’ve heard on Amy Winehouse’s album Back to Black in 2008.
Welcome to the Saturday Afternoon Dance Party here on WDAP… Tell Me
Jones’ route to success was anything but overnight. Advised to lose weight, even bleach her skin, she got her break when recording backing vocals for funk maestro Lee Fields and The Soul Providers, the first incarnation of the Dap-Kings. She was 40 years old. She’s certainly made up for lost time since. The European tour may be over but the indefatigable Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings are back on the road in December to New Zealand and Australia.