Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – “Give The People What They Want”
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings are a band who have not only played at major festivals and on some of the world’s best stages, but have also attracted the respect of legends like Beck and Prince, no small feat. The anticipation for this latest release, has been given a somewhat different feel with the news that Sharon had been diagnosed with cancer. However, symbolically of this album, she has come out of that difficult period with a continued sense of strength and determination.
The first track, and I believe single, is the brilliant “Retreat!”. As Sharon herself has stated, the lyrics on this track take on even more poignancy when you know about her own fight with illness, even though the intended subject matter is very different. The song itself is a great soulful number, which immediately highlights her wonderful, powerful voice. The feisty feeling is kept up with “Stranger To My Happiness”. The sound is just awesome, with its great classic soul appeal. It has all the right ingredients, with the powerful voice, beautiful backing vocals and some great horns.
There are, of course, also some slower and more emotional songs, including “We Get Along” and “Making Up And Breaking Up”. The second of these is the real ‘heartbreaker’ song on the album, despite it’s references to Humpty Dumpty! There is no doubt, that many a post break up tear will be shed, whilst drinking wine and listening to this song.
Many of the other songs, such as “Get Up And Get Out” are fantastic, funky, soul numbers. “You’ll Be Lonely” must be a contender for one of the future singles. These songs, have a brash and funky sound and are just crying out to be played on Craig Charles’ soul show on BBC 6 Music. “Long Time, Wrong Time” is another similar song and this is up there with the Motown greats and has an Aretha Franklin level of quality. Then on “People Don’t Get What They Deserve” and the title track “Give The People What They Want” they move a bit further forward in time, to deliver more of a Northern Soul type vibe.
“Take Time, Make Time” sadly brings the album to a close, and it is a surprisingly slow and laid back track. It can only be presumed that this is to allow the listener time to calm down and catch their breath after all the dancing they would have done to the previous songs.
“Give The People What They Want” is a very appropriate title for this album, as it’s a classic soul album rooted right back in the golden age of Motown. Does this mean it sounds old fashioned? Hell no! There are some types of music which just have a timeless appeal, and old school soul is one of those. This album should appeal to all fans of the genre, from those who love the original sixties sound, right through to those who have been introduced to it by more modern artists such as Amy Winehouse and Adele. It’s an absolutely top album and highly recommended.