"Greetings, soul fans!" Within the opening seconds of Daptone Records's first retrospective, Daptone Gold
, one knows this will be a unique listening experience, especially coming at the end of the decade in which MP3s and iTunes were created. Daptone Gold
is a 23-track compilation of classics, rarities, and previously unreleased tracks from some of the soul revivalist label's acts, such as Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, The Budos Band, and Lee Fields, among other soul, funk, gospel and afrobeat musicians.
The velveteen-voiced Binky Griptite welcomes all listeners to the record in a spoken-word introduction. What follows, he says, are "four solid sides of soul," including, "sounds that will make you get down." Though it may seem anachronistic to speak of the sides of a record, the infectious music produced by Daptone is all recorded on analog tapes and released on vinyl from its studios in a row house in Brooklyn's Bushwick neighborhood. The method is wholly successfuleach track sounds straight from the 60s, but doesn't suffer from seeming like a paltry attempt at a passing retro fad. These are serious musicians, and their passion can be heard in each note.
After the soul-review style introduction, the album quickly launches into Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings' upbeat groove "I'm Not Gonna Cry". Jones, who shares the same hometown of Augusta, GA with the godfather of soul, James Brown, contributed other classics like "How Long Do I Have to Wait For You?" off her 2006 album Naturally
. Though Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings' original material is some of the best on the album, their cover of Gladys Knights's "Giving Up" isn't much more than a straightforward rendition of the 1964 hit.
While most of the compilation's tracks come from veterans of the label, there are also several songs from Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens Daptone debut, which was released earlier in 2009. True gospel tunes such as "What Have You Done?" and "I Need You To Hold My Hand" round out the record's sound. This music seems like something one would hear in a church in Alabama, rather than a funk club in New York, which is how the rest of the album plays.
Lee Fields relaxes the upbeat groove of the compilation with "Could Have Been", a slow jam in which he channels the crooning vocals of Sam Cooke. This deep cut, as well as Charles Bradley's "The World (Is Going Up In Flames)", is a highlight of the album. Both songs previously have only been released as seven-inch singles. At about halfway through the record Bradley's song is the brightest point on Daptone Gold
It is a delight to remember this came out in 2009, not 1969, and that people still make music as pure as this.-lyndsey matthews
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MP3: Sharon Jones And The Dap-Kings - "How Long Do I Have to Wait For You?" (Daptone Gold)
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