Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings
are extremely proficient at their craft. A blind listen of I Learned The Hard Way
would leave many casual listeners believing they were listening to some lost 1970s era soul. Even the recording values are more shag-carpet vintage than clean, crisp CD quality. The whole package is aesthetically accurate, and really plays into the charm of Jones and her band. But the truth is, I Learned The Hard Way
is part of a modern revitalization of classic R&B, which hit the mainstream with the rise of artists like Amy Winehouse. Ironically, the movement was started by Winehouse's backing band, a group of incredibly talented instrumentalists who went relatively unknown during her reign of the charts. That group is known as the Dap Kings, and playing behind Jones, they find a more natural, organic sound (with a significantly diminished drug consumption).