Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings Give The People What They Want
    • FRIDAY, JANUARY 03, 2014

    • Posted by: David Pitz

    The pride of Daptone Records, the fantastic force that is Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings, returns with the kind of savory set of swinging soul we've all gotten very used to over the last decade or so. The story behind Jones' fifth studio slinger, Give The People What They Want, however, offers a valuable reminder to never just expect certain things out of life. Unforeseen complications and personal challenges sometimes have the habit of rearing their ugly head when you least expect them.

    Give The People What They Want was originally slated for an August quick listen and it's easy to picture these songs wafting over late summer BBQs and/or pouring from the speakers on last minute treks out of the town. However, Jones, a vivacious 57-year-old singer, was diagnosed with cancer, spending the better part of the fall seeking treatment for the disease. In October, Jones began to test her voice in church, determined she was feeling better - stronger - and slowly cranked the band's gears back into motion. Perhaps you saw them on TV riding a float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade? Next month theyll even get back to touring, kicking things off with a comeback bonanza of a show at The Beacon Theater.

    All of this is in support of an album that plays like the best kind of time capsule, gratifying the senses with the thrilling rush of late 60s/early 70s soul that Jones and The Daps never fail to deliver. Masterfully produced, Give The People What They Want is analogue warm, impeccably crafted, and jumps with serious life as it cycles through. Give the Detroit flavored number "Stranger To My Happiness" a whirl and you'll be kicking that little pebble down the street all day. Not feeling at your best? Let saccharine horns and Jones' unflappable optimism sooth you over with the testifying spirit of "We Get Along". Or just boogie a bit to the ferocious rhythms that power "People Don't Get What They Deserve". Put simply: These guys couldn't dole out a flop even if their lives depended on it.

    Most impressively though is the way Jones and her cohorts once again deliver an album that vividly stokes the imagination. I for one was not around when songs like "Try A Little Tenderness", "Let's Stay Together", and "A Change Is Gonna Come" really meant something. I never knew what they sounded like crackling through the radio dial, how folks reacted when the juke box dropped its needle on them, or hell, what the world even really looked or felt like back then. But, an album like Give The People What They Want —a modern collection I can hear, feel, and plunk good dollars down to see these amazing artists hustling it on stage—provides an imaginative link to that particular past. I can press my eyes tight, take a stab at painting the picture, place myself within it, and begin to understand where Jones is coming from. It's very much a gift, but I suppose Ms. Jones and her bad-ass band thought we deserved it.

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