Sharon Jones has more soul than you and me and everyone we know

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings

And it’s not just because I happen to live in one of the lily-whitest metropolitan areas in the country. There’s a lot you could say about Sharon Jones. But here are five quick things that you should NOT say about Sharon Jones, at least not around me. I’ll school you if you do. I’m from Portland – I can barista your ass all over the place.

Although she comes from the same town as James Brown, the Godfather of Soul himself, you should not say that Sharon Jones is a mere imitator. The power of her pipes and her commanding onstage charisma are unique experiences all their own. Plus, Jones used to work as a prison guard. She probably showed guys like James Brown what was what all the time.

You should not say that Sharon Jones’ sound is gimmicky. Its roots definitely come from 60’s soul, and she’s very practiced in the art of performing it. She can gyrate her whole body and demand that her audience moves with her, all as she belts into the microphone and blasts those high notes as if she’s in a recording studio. That’s more than derivative. That’s pure talent.

You should not say that Sharon Jones sounds like Amy Winehouse. Even though Winehouse employed Jones’ marvelous Dap-Kings to help achieve the retro touches that made Back to Black more than a flash-in-the-pan pop album, Jones has been instrumental in the neo-soul movement long before Winehouse’s beehive could stand up by itself.

You should not say the Dap-Kings could be any ragtag bunch of guys. Although Jones’ voice and presence certainly take the spotlight during any performance, they benefit handsomely from a band with chops. The Dap-Kings’ adherence to soul and funk standards – let each member break it down during the longer songs, bob in time to the shorter ones – as well as the fact that they are adorable, talented musicians make them a pleasure to watch and hear. Their exchanges with Jones during their shows exhibit total joy at what they’re doing.

If you are a major record label producer, you should not tell Sharon Jones that she is too dark-skinned to make it as a mainstream musician. Once she inevitably proves you to be wrong and an ignorant jackass, everyone will laugh at you.

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings will play a concert at the Crystal Ballroom on Friday, January 30. Special guests, the Ivan Milev Band, also play.

  • Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings ~ 100 Days, 100 Nights ~ Daptone

Nobody’s Baby

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