SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS
Dap Dippin' With...
Record label: Daptone
Release date: early June 2002
I sure hope all the soul and funk pioneers of old appreciate what their offspring are doing for them. If they think they've been forgotten about, they're seriously mistaken. There is a section of our generation that is quite adamant about preserving the legacy of the rare groove, so much so that they've picked up their instruments and went retro on production. Apparently, your funk ain't authentic if it doesn't sound like was recorded at least 30 years ago. And therein lies the problem: funk preservation is such a priority for some of my peers that the idea of funk innovation isn't even an afterthought. So here comes the bandwagon of many flexing their retro production muscles and pressing funk 45s. More of these seven-inches have popped up in the past two years than I can keep track of. And on top of that, the elitist attitudes of live instrumentation over sampling and electronics, as well as professing that the era of funky soul that they cherish is the only music that ever had…well…soul. Let me save you all some frustration and needless arguments: never trust anyone who says they don't listen to anything recorded after 1975.
Like any other genre, you have to sift through the trash to find the treasures. And despite my diatribe, none of those sentiments refer to the unbelievably tight and authentic sounds of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. In fact, this release has me wondering what else the Daptone label has in store. The Dap-Kings released a number of excellent 45s, all of which show up on this full-length. I have to keep reminding myself that this album was recently recorded - it could easily have been a late '60s-early '70s release. However, the inclusion of Janet Jackson's "What Have You Done For Me Lately" brings to light its place in recorded history. But Sharon and Company even manage to transform the cover into some obscure Lyn Collins B-side. (Perhaps this was the funk innovation that has eluded me all this time.)
Jones's vocal chops are reminiscent of Lyn Collins in a way - sister can really belt out the notes. She's strong when she needs to be, as proven on songs like "Got A Thing On My Mind" and "Got To Be The Way It Is," but displays a tender side also (see "Make It Good To Me"). And that band is tighter than panty hose two sizes too small. They're in the pocket on every track, but pay particular attention to "The Dap Dip" and "Casella Walk." File Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings away with great funk preservationists like Breakestra, Sugarman Three, and Antibalas. This one's definitely a keeper.